Relief From Forfeiture Under the Courts of Justice Act in Auto Insurance Cases: A Review of Kozel v. The Personal Insurance Company

The Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in Kozel v. The Personal Insurance Company, 2014 ONCA 130 has expanded the availability of relief from forfeiture under section 98 of the Courts of Justice Act. The court’s decision confirms that relief from forfeiture under this section is available for violations of statutory condition 4(1) of Ontario’s standard automobile insurance policy (OAP1), even where section 129 of the Insurance Act does not apply.

Kozel has altered the landscape for statutory condition 4(1) denials. The Court of Appeal held that driving with an expired licence is not non-compliance with a condition precedent in an insurance contract, but imperfect compliance. Kozel expands access to relief from forfeiture, concluding that only in rare cases will a finding of non-compliance be made. In most cases, the breach will be deemed imperfect compliance, and relief from forfeiture may be available.

Novice and Young Drivers: Beware of Voiding Your Insurance Coverage

Most novice and young drivers know the graduated licensing rules. Most of their parents do not. And very few people, young or old, appreciate the insurance implications that arise from violations of the graduated licensing rules, or the devastating personal consequences that can flow when coverage is not available because these rules are not followed. These results come from judicial interpretation of the graduated licensing regulations in several little-known court decisions.

Conditions for Novice, Young & Other Drivers in Ontario

Violation of any of the conditions of your driver’s licence may void your liability and collision insurance coverage, because under statutory condition 4 (1) of the standard Ontario auto policy (OAP1), “the insured shall not drive or operate or permit any other person to drive or operate the automobile unless the insured or other person is authorized by law to drive or operate it.” For the same reason, if the owner of a vehicle permits the driver to use the vehicle while any of the driver’s conditions are being violated, the owner risks voiding his or her insurance coverage. To avoid coverage issues, make sure you understand and follow all of the conditions applicable to your driver’s licence, as well as those of anyone you allow to drive your vehicle.