If you own a vehicle in the province of Ontario you are required by law to purchase insurance coverage in case an accident occurs. Consumers have the option to increase coverage limits and purchase additional “accident benefit” coverage to protect their family and lifestyle.

In an attempt to stabilize rates, the Ontario government has implemented changes to auto insurance effective June 1, 2016. We recognize that this can be confusing to customers. Several measures are aimed at reducing fraud and the abuse of the system, which inevitably increases all of our premiums.

It is important to us as your insurance broker to make sure that you are as informed as possible as to the coverage available to you. The purpose of this blog is to attempt to simplify the changes in the accident benefit coverage provided in your auto insurance policy. A SCIB insurance broker can explain the important details, review standard limits as well as costs of increasing coverage to help you to make informed decisions. In an effort to keep things as simple as possible, coverage limits and options have not been included in all cases. As always, contact your broker for further information.

The following is a simple, understandable summary of the accident benefits coverage provided by your auto insurance policy in the unfortunate even of being injured in an auto accident as of June 1, 2016.

1. Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care Benefit

Medical Rehabilitation – provides coverage for reasonable and necessary medical and rehab expenses not covered under OHIP or Group Plans.

Attendant Care – pays costs associated with an attendant looking after you either at home or in a facility.

There are standard coverage limits provided for both catastrophic and non-catastrophic injuries with options to buy up coverage limits for additional premium. SCIB broker can provide limits and options.

Non-Catastrophic Injury – minor injuries such as sprains, whiplash as well as serious injuries such as broken bones.

Catastrophic Injury – major injuries such as loss of limbs, para/quadriplegia.

2. Caregiver Benefit

Provides coverage to hire someone to care for your dependents (Up to $250/week for first dependent and $50/week for additional dependents). Previously this coverage was only available for catastrophic injuries. There is now an option to buy the coverage up to include non-catastrophic injuries.

3. Housekeeping & Home Maintenance Expenses

Provides coverage for someone to carry out your household responsibilities up to $100/week, (cutting grass, cleaning etc..). Previously this coverage was only available for catastrophic injuries but there is now an option to buy the coverage up to include non-catastrophic injuries.

4. Income Replacement Benefit

Provides a weekly income of $400/week that begins one week after the accident occurs. This is generally not enough coverage for people who ear more than $30,000/year. There is an option to buy coverage up to $600, $800 or $1000 per week depending on need.

5. Dependent Care Benefit

Provides coverage for additional expenses to care for your dependents if you are employed and injured in a car accident. There is no standard benefit for people who are employed and care for dependents. You have the option to purchase up to $150/week for this need.

6. Death & Funeral Benefit

Provides a lump sum payout to your spouse and dependent(s) and a second lump sum payout to cover the cost of funeral expenses. The standard limits of coverage can be doubled by purchasing the coverage buy-up.

7. Indexation Benefit

Adjusts benefits to account for changes in inflation. This adjustment can be included for a small additional premium.

8. Tort Deductible

The tort deductible is the amount that is deducted from a settlement or court award for pain and suffering. The current deductible is $36,500 but can be reduced to $20,000 for a small additional premium.

**IMPORTANT questions to ask yourself and your broker when considering this important coverage are:

  • Do you make more than $30,000 a year? If so you may want to increase the income replacement benefit. The standard benefit is only $400/week but can be increased to $600, $800 or $1000 depending on needs.
  • Are there people in your life who depend on you financially or for care? (children, elderly or disabled?) If so, you may want to consider extending the caregiver benefit and/or adding the Dependent Care Benefit.
  • Does your employer provide a Group Insurance Plan? If so, you may want to talk with you plan administrator and find out what you are covered for and consider increasing the Medical Rehabilitation Benefit. Most benefit packages limit this to $500 a year per practitioner and many things are not covered under OHIP.

Please contact your broker with any questions or concerns.