As RRSP season wraps up, tax season is upon us and spring cleaning is around the corner, it is time to take a close look at your car insurance policy and make sure it is has appropriate coverage for your current requirements!
Car insurance is mandatory in Ontario. While basic auto insurance policies are standardized to some extent, additional coverage options exist to allow motorists to personalize their policies to meet their individual needs.
If you are injured in a car accident and require treatment or care, you will apply to your own insurance company for ‘accident benefits’, regardless of who is at fault for the accident. Benefits that you may receive if injured in a car accident may include income replacement, medical, rehabilitation and attendant care, funeral and death expenses. Optional accident benefits are available above the standard accident benefit amounts in your auto policy. You can visit Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) for an explanation of each available benefit.
On June 1, 2016 the availability of basic benefits available to those injured in motor vehicle accidents was significantly reduced. Although motorists were informed of these changes it is unlikely that many paid attention to them, and even fewer did anything about the reduction.
Despite this decrease in basic benefits, motorists had the ability to ‘buy back’ the benefits they lost, and upgrade them according to their individual needs.
It is important that everyone review their car insurance policy periodically to ensure that they, and their families, are adequately protected in the event of a car accident. Not every option will be appropriate for everyone, but understanding what the available enhanced benefits are, and why you might consider buying them, is important.
The purpose of this blog is to illustrate that opting for an increase in benefits may not necessarily mean having to break the bank, and may mean a significant savings down the road, in the event of an accident.
Disclaimer: The below chart is for illustration purposes only and uses quotes from one insurance company. Other insurance companies may have different premiums for the different optional benefits which can depend on a variety of factors which cannot properly be accounted for in this blog.
|Benefit||Standard Amount||Optional Amount||Optional Amount||Optional Amount|
|Income Replacement||Up to $400/week||Up to $600/week (+$0.75)||Up to $800/week
|Up to $1,000/week (+$2.09)|
|Caregiver And Housekeeping||Only available for catastrophic injuries||All injuries
|Childcare||Not covered||All injuries (+$0.25)|
|Death Benefit||$25,000 to spouse, $10,000 to each dependant and $6,000 for funeral expenses||$50,000 to spouse $20,000 to each dependant and $8,000 for funeral expenses (+$0.17)|
|Inflation Protection||Not included||Included
|Medical Care For Catastrophic Injuries||$1,000,000||$2,000,000 (+$0.59)|
|Medical Care For Other Injuries||$65,000||$130,000
|COST Per Month||$125.33|
To upgrade from basic benefits to all available benefits with this insurance company the cost would be $134.95 per month, a difference of 9.62/month, which equals about $115.44/year. Given the cost of services such as massage therapy, physiotherapy, and attendant care, as well as your potential loss of income, etc. keep in mind that the amount of basic benefits may not be enough for you to be rehabilitated after an accident without supplementing the cost of treatment by dipping into your savings.
This is also not to suggest that everyone requires all of the extra benefits available. But knowing what is available and how little additional cost may be involved in increasing your benefits it may be worth a call to your broker or agent to determine what benefits are right for you.
If you have been in a car accident and need assistance navigating the accident benefits scheme our personal injury lawyers at Mann Lawyers would be happy to assist you.