Ontario Changes Definition of Catastrophic: What it means to you

June 1, 2016 was an important date for auto insurance policyholders. Even if your policy hasn’t renewed since, there have been changes that are very important to understand.

When it comes to injuries resulting from car insurance claims, there are two types: catastrophic and non-catastrophic. Injuries that do not qualify as catastrophic are deemed non-catastrophic.

The definition of a “catastrophic impairment” in the eyes of the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) no longer uses the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). The GCS is widely used by trauma teams and was in place since 1996.

Rather than relying on this method for assessing brain trauma, often at the scene of the accident, traumatic brain injury victims are now assessed by specialists months after the incident to determine if brain injury has caused enough disability to be eligible for catastrophic “benefits”.

In the case of a real incident occurring the same day these regulations became effective, one insured’s injuries were determined non-catastrophic months after his motorcycle was struck by another motor vehicle.

The insured received a total of $86,000 in benefits. 12 hours prior, he would have been eligible for $2 million!

The bad news is, in an attempt to lower auto insurance premiums across the province, the Ontario government has radically decreased standard benefits.

At Scrivens, we know how important it is to have the coverage that will best protect you in the unfortunate event you are severely injured in a car accident.

The “good” news is that there are steps you can take to ensure you have the most complete coverage to match your needs.

While, we cannot change the definition of catastrophic in the eyes of FSCO, we do encourage you to consider increasing your limits from the standard non-catastrophic limit of $65,000 to $1 million and from the catastrophic limit of $1 million to $2 million.

These policy limits include medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care coverages. Prior to June 1, standard limits for catastrophic impairments were $1 million for medical and rehab plus another $1 million for attendant care. There are other options available to you, including additional benefits.

To discuss these options in further detail, please contact me.

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Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions
270 MacLaren Street
Ottawa, ON K2P 0M3
www.scrivens.ca | 613-236-9101