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Accident benefits slashed - Six months later, are you protected?

Last year, you probably got a letter from your insurer outlining major, province-wide changes to your auto insurance policy. Maybe your eyes glazed over as you struggled to make sense of the changes to your benefits. Did you tuck the letter away or throw it out?

It's crucial that you know how the changes may impact you if you are ever injured in a car accident. Don't wait. Here are the nuts and bolts of the changes you face- simplified and in plain English. Once you understand the changes, you can finally make an informed decision on how to protect you and your loved ones.

What Benefits Were Reduced?

The changes took effect starting on June 1, 2016. The most significant of them touch on two main categories of claimable benefits after a car accident. They are:

  • Medical benefits, which include such things as the cost for hospital care, surgery, physiotherapy, chiropractic care and other forms of therapy.
  • Rehabilitation benefits, which help you reintegrate into your family, job or community after an accident. They can include things like modifications to your home or car, training for life skills or employment, and family counselling.
  • Attendant care benefits, which can include in-home help for such personal tasks as bathing, dressing and meal preparation. They can also include assistance in a chronic care facility.

How Your Benefits Shrunk

Auto insurance policies now provide less standard protection for your premiums. The reductions depend on the type of injury:

  • For non-catastrophic injuries, medical and rehabilitation and attendant care benefits used to be capped at $50,000 and $36,000 respectively. Now, both have been lumped together to a total of $65,000 -that's $21,000 less than before.
  • For catastrophic injuries (which are extremely serious, life-altering injuries as paralysis, brain injury and amputation), medical and rehabilitation and attendant care benefits have been slashed in half, by a whopping $1 million. They used to be capped at $1 million dollars each, but are now at $1 million for both combined.

Protections And Options Exist

What this means is that if you are involved in a car accident, you stand to receive far less in benefits than last year. But, you can choose to buy more coverage, and the increased protection may be well worth the slight increase in premiums.

If you've been injured in a car accident, you should consult with a lawyer because it gives you the best chance at getting fair compensation. It's critical that you know:

  • How to navigate the insurance claim process
  • What to say and what not to say to an insurance adjuster
  • How much you claim is worth
  • What you can sue for- not just now, but for long-term impacts on your life

So, make sure you have the best level of insurance coverage and reach out immediately for legal help if you're ever in an accident.

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Burlington, ON L7T 1N4

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