Ontario's Auto Insurance Act Changed
The Ontario Minister of Finance announced changes to the Ontario automobile legislation on November 2, 2009. In the summer of 2010, drivers will be able to purchase a basic auto insurance package with reduced statutory accident benefits. Unfortunately, drivers who will be most affected will probably opt for basic coverage.
Who will be most affected?
Gluckstein Personal Injury Lawyers reviews how reductions in accident benefits most negatively affects the non-catastrophically injured. Insured drivers who sustain non-catastrophic injuries are the ones most negatively affected. The government is creating a basic package of statutory accident benefits that lowers compulsory Medical and Rehabilitation benefits coverage to $50,000 from the previous amount of $100,000. Attendant Care benefit coverage will be reduced in half to $36,000 (with other restrictions) from its previous level of $72,000. Although drivers can purchase an optional increase in Medical and Rehabilitation benefits up to $1 million (which would include $72,000 for Attendant Care), most drivers would probably opt for the basic coverage.
There are major reductions in accident benefits for the non-catastrophically injured claimant. The Medical and Rehabilitation and Attendant Care benefits have been reduced and there have been an elimination of housekeeping and caregiver benefits (unless you are catastrophically injured). In most cases the at-fault insurer will bear the costs of the reduction in the accident benefit claim. There were also reductions in the accident benefits available to the person who meets the definition(s) of catastrophic impairment. Assessment costs will be deducted from the medical and rehabilitation benefit and that change will reduce the benefits available considerably. On a positive note, definitions of catastrophic impairment are to be expanded to include single limb amputees and the evaluation of catastrophic impairment will be restricted to those practitioners who have both training and experience in these cases.
What does this mean for you
It is our opinion that most people who are in the lower to middle income brackets will purchase the basic package in order to save on the expenses associated with driving. The basic coverage does not adequately protect accident victims and their families with the expenses that are necessary in most instances of trauma. It is our hope with education that many drivers will purchase the extended coverage which will likely be available at a minimum cost increase. Drivers who have private health and disability plans will also be tempted to purchase the minimum packages. However, they should examine these plans carefully, as most do not cover very much in the event of a serious injury.
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