Recent Changes to Auto Insurance Legislation in Ontario
The Ontario Liberal party passed legislation in 2014 to honour their commitment to the NDP to reduce automobile insurance premiums. All automobile policies effective June 1, 2016 and those renewing after that date will have insurance coverages that will be reduced and some options for increased coverage have been eliminated or changed. Key changes and other changes are outlined briefly here below. You can expect to see your premiums and coverages change at your automobile insurance renewal and may want to consult in advance with Bertie & Clinton in Welland. Auto insurance policies are our business so we can answer any auto insurance questions you may have.
Non-catastrophic Injuries - New Option for Increased Limits
For non-catastrophic injuries the medical and rehabilitation care and attendant care benefit will be combined and claimable up to $65,000 for five years following the accident (except for children) if you remain medically eligible. Previously these coverages were $50,000 and $36,000 respectively.
An option continues to exist to increase medical, rehabilitation and attendant care from the statutory minimum (of $65,000) for non-catastrophic injuries. These provisions were previously covered separately for the option of $100,000 medical and rehabilitation expenses and $72,000 attendant care benefits and are now offered for a combined total benefit of $130,000.
If you are injured in an automobile accident, greater coverage for rehabilitation or specialized treatments can benefit you substantially, especially if you had pre-existing medical conditions and if you do not have a short term or a long term disability plan (e.g., you are self-employed).
Catastrophic Injuries - New Definition and Option for Increased Limits
Medical and rehabilitation care benefits for catastrophic injuries and attendant care are now combined to a limit of $1 million. In the past, these amounts were covered for $1 million each. Now, there is an option to increase your coverage to $2 million. In the event that you become catastrophically impaired from a car accident, it would be highly beneficial to have the higher insurance protection. Even minor accidents can result in catastrophic impairment.
In Ontario, awards over $1 million have been awarded in the past, even where the policy limit was $1 million. For example, in the case of Marcoccia v. Ford Credit Canada Limited $16.8 million in damages and future care costs was awarded for Robert Marcoccia who sustained a brain injury in a collision with a 2000 furniture truck accident. Future care costs were assessed at $14 million for Marcoccia.
Lost Income - Increase Your Protection Limit
Income replacement is critical for most people. Yet, the statutory benefit entitlement continues to be based on a $30,000 salary and is a maximum of $400 per week based on 70 percent of your gross annual income. The majority of households in 2016 rely on two incomes and additional coverage cannot be underestimated. If you have no additional income replacement benefits (e.g., you are self-employed), rely on two incomes to make ends meet or earn above $30,000 annually, additional income replacement coverage protection will be important to you. The optional coverage is for $600, $800 or $1,000 per week. Your Welland insurance Agent can arrange additional income replacement coverage for you.
If you are a full-time caregiver and therefore not employed, the same amounts for caregivers available in the new policy for catastrophic injuries can be made available for all injuries. In the past caregiver benefits were available only for catastrophic injuries up to $250 per week for the first dependant plus $50 for each additional dependant.
If you have a minor at-fault accident on or after June 1, 2016 which meets the eligible criteria (e.g., the damages to each vehicle is less than $2,000, no one is injured, and you pay as the at-fault driver for the collision damages out-of-pocket), then the insurer cannot increase your premiums. This provision is limited to one minor accident every three years.
In response to the changing economy where individuals are more often on contract or in between jobs the waiting period for people who are not working to receive benefits has been reduced to four weeks from six months. Benefits can only be received for up to two years after the accident.
Your standard deductible for comprehensive coverage has been increased from $300 to $500 effective June 1, 2016.
Monthly Payment Plans
The maximum interest rate that insurers can charge if you make monthly premium payments has been lowered from 3% to 1.3% for one year policies, with corresponding reductions for shorter terms.
Your Welland Car Insurance Agent Can Advise You
Your Welland automobile insurance coverages can be now be customized to your personal situation. An experienced insurance broker at Bertie & Clinton Mutual Insurance Company can advise you of your options and the benefits for auto insurance in Welland, Ontario that best suits your needs. Contact us at 905-735-1234.