The independent study conducted by Metroline Research Group and commissioned by personal injury law firm Deutschmann Law, reveals that up to one quarter of Ontario drivers have no knowledge of changes to Ontario insurance regulations -- instituted seven years ago -- which cap claims for medical and rehabilitation coverage related to motor vehicle accidents. As a result, only 10% of individuals surveyed have moved forward with the purchase of additional insurance coverage to increase their liability and cover medical expenses and lost income. This is despite the fact the costs of additional coverage add up to less than $100 in most cases.
“Most drivers have no idea how drastically the coverage has been reduced. Many saw their premiums go down and were happy to finally have some relief from the high premiums Ontarians pay; not realizing it should have been a red flag to increased risk,” says personal injury lawyer Rob Deutschmann.
Prior to the 2010 changes to legislation, a person with non-catastrophic injuries was entitled to receive up to $100,000 of medical and rehabilitation benefits for expenses incurred up to 10 years after the accident. If the injured person’s injury was deemed catastrophic as defined by the Statutory Accident Benefit Schedule, the catastrophically impaired accident victim was entitled to receive $1,000,000 of medical and rehabilitation benefits for expenses occurred over the injured person’s entire lifetime.
After 2010, people suffering from “minor injuries” as a result of a car accident are only entitled to $3,500 in medical and rehabilitation benefits, and persons with injuries deemed non-catastrophic are entitled to receive up to $50,000 in medical and rehabilitation benefits for expenses incurred up to 10 years after the accident. For coverage expenses ranging from $100,000 to $1,000,000 an individual would be required to purchase optional coverage. With changes in June 2016, medical coverage has been further eroded for accident victims.
At least 70% of drivers have not had a conversation with their insurance provider about the additional coverage options available to them. This lack of information is putting people at grave risk. Unfortunately, in our daily practice, we encounter people all the time who have been seriously injured in a vehicle accident and who find -- much too late -- that they don’t have sufficient insurance to cover their medical expenses and weekly income needs. We commissioned this survey to put a spotlight on the issue and drive the necessary changes
Additional coverage is not only affordable in most cases but should be considered a requirement for anyone who is behind the wheel. Our survey showed that 84% of people who asked for a quote on the additional coverage went ahead and purchased it. It most cases drivers were quoted an amount that was less than $100 a year, and almost 25% paid less than $50 a year. Given that the average premium for drivers in Ontario is almost $1400, this is a small fraction of an increase.