Changes to the Ontario Insurance Act that will directly impact on your Auto Insurance Benefits – Consumers Beware
Effective June 1, 2016, the Ontario Government has introduced changes to the automobile insurance system which will greatly affect the coverage consumers select and the price they will pay for auto insurance. Many of these changes affect the statutory accident benefits that a person will receive if they have been injured in an automobile accident regardless of who is at fault. Some of these benefits have been reduced and some options for increased coverage have been eliminated or changed.
Accordingly, it is absolutely vital for an individual to speak with their auto insurance broker to determine what the best coverage is for them and in many cases the increased coverage can often be provided at a minimal cost.
These changes will apply only to auto insurance policies issued or renewed after June 1, 2016.
Previously, medical and rehabilitation benefits for non-catastrophic injuries (less serious) provided a maximum of $50,000.00 in benefits with an additional $36,000.00 available for attendant care if deemed necessary. Under the June 1, 2016 changes these benefits have been combined and reduced to $65,000.00 total. A party can now choose to increase the benefits to a total of $136,000.00.
The 2016 changes also effectively cut in half coverage available to those with catastrophic injuries (serious brain injuries/spinal cord injuries). Prior to June 1, 2016, the limit for medical care and rehabilitation and attendant care was 1 million dollars each. Under the new policy these benefits have been combined and reduced to 1 million dollars in total. An insured can now choose to add on an additional 1 million dollars for a total of 2 million dollars available for catastrophic injuries.
Prior to June 1, 2016, if an individual is unable to work they can receive income replacement benefits reflecting 70% of one’s gross income up to a maximum of $400.00 per week. The new policy does not cause any changes. However, an individual can now choose to increase their weekly limit of income replacement benefits (if eligible) to $600.00; $800.00; or $1,000.00 per week.
Other benefits/coverage including housekeeping and home maintenance expenses, death and funeral benefits and dependent care benefits can all be increased or modified for additional premiums.
It is important to speak to your auto insurance broker to determine what the best option for you is and how much any additional premiums will be.
It may very well be that a very minor increase in premium can afford you significant increased benefits. If no changes are made one’s insurance, coverage will automatically default to the current new low standard benefits.