The good news regarding the latest reform of Ontario car insurance is the provincial government's attempt to honour its promise of lower premiums.
While this is a relief for drivers only concerned about carrying the bare minimum, the changes don't just reduce premiums, they reduce your coverage.
In our Spring newsletter, I outlined a summary of the major changes to auto policies renewed on or after June 1, but this topic deserves further discussion.
In addition to property damage, there are two types of scenarios your auto insurance policy comes into play. "Liability" coverage pays for legal responsibility for bodily injury to others. "Accident Benefits" are provided to cover related costs of injuries sustained in a car accident.
THE MAJOR CHANGES TO AUTO POLICIES IN 2016 LIMIT THE BENEFITS YOU RECEIVE AFTER AN ACCIDENT
Of all the "Accident Benefits", Medical Rehabilitation is arguable the most significant. Medical rehabilitation benefits include necessary costs like physiotherapy, ambulance fees, medical assessments, prescriptions, wheelchairs, and attendant care.
These fees can add up quickly and will likely reach the limit of $65,000 after only 6 months of rehab!
Putting this into perspective here are some costs you may face as a result of an injury sustained in a car accident:
Rehab Team Service:
Prosthetic Limb: $10,000 - 20,000 per 3-5 years
Manual Wheelchair: $5,000 - 10,000 per 5 years
Power Wheelchair: $15,000 - 25,000 per 5 years
Accessible Vehicle: $100,000+
Professional Attendant Care: $7,000 per month (8hrs/day)
Home Renovations: $100,000 - 400,000
Standard coverage limits may not satisfy a full recovery from injury. Without supplemental insurance from other sources (ex. group medical benefits), you will be left paying all costs exceeding these limits.
Standard Accident Benefits
The duration of medical, rehabilitation and attendant care benefits for non-catastrophic injuries has also been reduced from ten years to five.
Attendant Care refers to a professional whom takes care of your, either in a healthcare facility or in your home, after you have been injured in an accident. Previous auto policies had standard limits of $36,000 for non-catastrophic and $1,000,000 for catastrophic injuries.
Under the new changes, Attendant Care benefits have been lumped with Medical and Rehabilitation for combined limits shown here.