One of our brokers was recently in a serious car accident. Someone cut her off on Guelph's Hanlon Expressway causing her to roll the vehicle. The vehicle was a write-off. Incredibly she managed to escape without serious injuries but she was pretty banged up and needed to access various healthcare providers to help her with her recovery. She has been kind enough to provide me with the following list of things she learned, experienced, and believes could be helpful information to others.
There is never a good time to have an accident! It’s an inconvenience and is a process involving many different people. There will be several appointments and paperwork to be filled out if injuries have been sustained.
Benefits to using preferred vendors (rental car agency and repair shops) it is a faster process and work is guaranteed.
Accident Benefits Coverage – Priority of payment; Ontario Heath Insurance Plan pays out first, Employer or private Extended Heath benefits second and lastly is the auto insurance policy. It’s important to know what coverage you have through your private or employer’s extended health benefits, whether or not it applies to motor vehicle accidents (coverages can be excluded in some circumstances), what coverage you have under your auto policy and if higher limits should be purchased.
Upfront costs – not all places do direct billing to the insurance company e.g. doctor fees to fill out paperwork for the insurance, physiotherapy, massage, chiropractor, ambulance bill, etc. Be organized, keep all receipts and discuss these costs with the adjuster.
Many insurance companies adhere to fee guidelines issued by Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO). They will only payout up to the amounts stated in these guidelines e.g. massage, physio, etc. will have a maximum per hour limit. You could be responsible to pay out-of-pocket any amounts over these limits.
In the event of a total loss situation, once a settlement is reached not much time is given before the rental car needs to be returned. The insurance company isn’t going to pay for you to be in a rental car until you buy a new vehicle. If you have a feeling the vehicle may be written off it would be helpful to have done some shopping ahead of time.
Unless you have OPCF 43 on your policy, you will only get what your vehicle is worth just prior to the loss. They’ll be looking at things, such as the vehicle year, make, model, mileage, condition, etc. If, for example, you’re driving an older vehicle worth $2,000, that’s all they’re going to give you. It’s not going to buy you a brand new vehicle worth $20,000 if yours was only worth $2,000.
Best to have approval from insurance company first, know if there are limits, what you are covered for in advance so you’re not on the hook when it’s all said and done. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get clarification on things you don’t understand.
If you have any questions about what the appropriate coverage is for your insurance needs or if you are a client who has had a claim and need help making sure the claims process stays on track please contact us. We’re here to help.