Accident Benefits as of June 1, 2016

Auto Insurance is CHANGING

Effective June 1st of this year (2016) the Ontario Government is rolling out some new changes to automobile insurance within the province. The majority of these changes will have an effect on the accident/injury benefits that drivers receive from their auto policies.

Medical, Rehabilitation & Attendant Care: For Non-Catastrophic Injuries

NEW effective June 1, 2016 - These benefits have been combined and reduced to $65,000 total

You can choose to Increase the benefit to $130,000 total

Medical, Rehabilitation & Attendant Care: For Catastrophic* Injuries

NEW effective June 1, 2016 - These benefits have been combined and reduced to $1,000,000 total

You can choose an additional $1,000,000 for a total of $2,000,000 for catastrophic injuries

Medical, Rehabilitation & Attendant Care, all injuries

You can choose to increase the combined non-catastrophic benefit to $1,000,000 and the combined catastrophic benefit to $2,000,000

What you should be considering?

Are you aware that OHIP won't cover all of your expenses, such as:

  • physiotherapy;
  • mobility devices, such as crutches or wheelchairs;
  • doctor's fees for completing paperwork related to an injury;
  • medical assessments;
  • prescription drugs

Does your employer provide a Group Insurance Plan?

Know what you are covered for. Most employer benefit packages have an annual limit for each year and each visit per practitioner.

*Examples of catastrophic injuries include paraplegia, quadriplegia, permanent loss (of loss of use) of an arm or leg, and total vision loss in both eyes.

Income Replacement Benefit

All income replacement benefits are based on 70% of your gross weekly income up to $400 per week. If you cannot work as the result of an auto accident, you may be eligible for basic weekly income replacement benefits of up to $400. This benefit commences after one week.

You can choose to increase the weekly limit to $600, $800 or $1,000 per week

What should you be considering?

If you are off work for a period of time, will the base coverage on your car insurance be an effective supplement to your current income to pay for monthly expenses? DO YOU EARN OVER $30,000 PER YEAR?

Caregiver Benefit

If you provide full-time care to dependents, and are disabled as the result of a car accident, the caregiver benefits portion of your policy provides $250 per week for one dependent, plus $50 per week for each additional dependent. This is available to those with catastrophic injuries.

You can choose the above amounts available for all injuries, not just catastrophic injuries

  • Do you have children or elderly parents that are dependent on you for care?
  • Who would care for them if you were injured in a car accident?
  • Are you a single parent?

How will you make sure that your expenses are not drained to subsidize care for these individuals in the case of an unexpected car accident?

Housekeeping & Home Maintenance

If, as a result of a car accident, you need to hire someone to help you clean and otherwise upkeep your home, the housekeeping and home maintenance benefits portion of your policy provides up to $100 per week. This is available to only those with catastrophic injuries.

You can choose the above amounts available for all injuries, not just catastrophic injuries

What should you be considering?

  • Do you live in a house or condo or an apartment?
  • Who normally does the housekeeping and maintenance in your household?
  • Are there people in your life who could help you care for your home if you were injured in an accident?

If you had to hire someone to help you care for your home, how would you cover the expenses?

Death & Funeral

No one likes to think of the worst, but if you die as a result of an automobile accident, the standard amount paid is $25,000 to your eligible spouse, $10,000 for each dependent, and a maximum of $6,000 for funeral expenses.

You can choose $50,000 lump sum to an eligible spouse; $20,000 lump sum to each dependent; maximum $8,000 funeral benefits

What you should be considering?

  • Do you have life insurance or prepaid "final expenses" arrangements?
  • Do you know how much your other coverage would pay?

Dependent Care Benefits

This is an optional benefit that, will help to offset the cost of childcare expenses in the event you are in an accident.

You can choose to purchase this benefit and add up to $75 per week for the first dependent and $25 per week for each additional dependent to a maximum of $150 per week

What should you be considering?

  • Do you have children or elderly parents that are dependent on you for care?
  • If you were working with an injury (example, broken leg?, would you need extra support to care for your dependents?
  • Who would care for them if you were injured in a car accident?
  • Are you a single parent?

Indexation 

You can choose to add an annual adjustment for inflation for many benefits according to the Consumer Price Index for Canada to your policy

What you should be considering?

If you were receiving benefits for an extended period of time would you want the amount you receive to keep up with inflation?

Third Party Liability

Review your insurance policy for your current limit

You can choose to increase the minimum amount

What you should be considering?

We are seeing lawsuits exceed policy limits

Tort Deductible

A Tort Deductible is the amount that is deducted from a settlement or court award for pain and suffering. Under the Family Law Act, relatives of an accident victim may sue an at-fault driver for loss of care, guidance and companionship.

You can choose to reduce the deductible by $10,000 regardless of annual indexation percentage increases

Wondering how or if this will affect you?

Here are a few things to do to make sure you know what you are getting and that you get what you need:

  • Read the "Important Changes to your Policy!" document that came in your renewal package. See if the changes reduce or eliminate something that was important to you, and if so, what you can do about it.
  • Compare the new policy to your current policy to see what changes have been made. Give us a call or email us, we can help you with this. Remember, if you have benefits from your employer or another policy, you may already have some level of coverage for some or all of the changes made. You should consider these benefits as you review your coverage options.
  • Understand your policy. Call us and ask questions, or do some additional reading, to make sure you understand auto insurance or what a coverage means. Make sure you know what options are available to increase or purchase other benefits, or to reduce premiums by increasing deductibles or taking advantage of discounts.

Not yet a part of the Colley pack? Visit us here for a free quote on your car insurance.

Stay informed and stay safe.

What else is new?

Other key changes include:

  • the standard deductible for Comprehensive coverage has been increased from $300 to $500
  • Reductions in the maximum interest rates for monthly payment plans
  • Winter tire discounts required to be offered by all insurers for policies effective on or after January 1, 2016
  • for all claimants except children, the amount of time that you can receive this standard benefit is now five years for non-catastrophic injuries, and it will be paid only as long as you remain medically eligible
  • the six-month waiting period for people who are not working to receive benefits has been reduced to four weeks. Conversely, benefits can now only be received for up to two years after the accident
  • Insurer may no longer take into consideration a minor accident that occurs on or after June 1, 2016 in deciding whether to issue, renew or cancel a policy or in determining the premium, if all of the following criteria are met:
  1. Cost of damage to each vehicle involved in the accident, including PD does not exceed $2,000 and the cost of all damages is paid by the at-fault party.
  2. No personal injuries are sustained.
  3. No payment is made by any insurer for any damages to the vehicles or property resulting from the accident.

Exception: An insurer may consider a minor accident that occurs on or after June 1, 2016 if the vehicle was involved in a total of more than one minor accident in the previous three years, and in each accident the driver of that vehicle was at fault.

Types of Injury

There are three categories of injury: minor, serious and catastrophic. Categories determine the level of benefits the injured party receives.

Minor Injury

Examples: sprains, whiplash. When injuries are deemed minor, medical and rehabilitation benefits are limited to $3,500 regardless of the level of coverage. Claimant's doctor can present "compelling evidence" if higher limits needed.

Serious Injury

Examples: broken bones, severe strains. Serious injuries typically disrupt quality of life for a prolonged period of time.

Catastrophic Injury

Examples: loss of a limb, paraplegia. Catastrophic injuries result in increased benefits.