The Ontario government made significant changes to Ontario auto insurance coverage limits in 2010 and in in 2016 and it appears that many drivers aren't aware of the changes. All drivers in Ontario are required to buy insurance and we pay the most for insurance in all of Canada. In fact, we pay 50% more in premiums than the average in Canada, and 100% more than in Quebec. This is despite the facts we have the lowest injury rates in the country, and the second lowest mortality rates in all of North America.
Ontario has a ridiculously slow insurance settlement process, which according to Former Workplace Safety and Insurance Board CEO David Marshall's report on the matter this year, there is a significant amount of leakage of funds from the system from claims totaling about $1.4 billion a year, with much of those insurance benefits not going directly to those involved in accidents. Insurers told Mr. Marshall that it is taking them over a year to close even the simplest claims [and] accident victims are having a difficult time getting what they perceive to be fair benefits. He also reported that one out of three accident-benefits claims goes into a dispute resolution system.
Marshall recommends that, "Insurers should make sure that seriously injured persons are given top priority and do not need to hire lawyers or other professionals to get their entitlement."
In an attempt to drop rates, the government made a deal with insurance companies that saw our coverages drop significantly. 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. Many people who are injured in car accidents don't have enough coverage to see them through recovery, or to last their lifetime in the case of catastrophic injuries. With changes in June 2016, medical coverage has been further eroded for accident victims.
As a solution, the government is now allowing people to purchase additional coverage, at a cost, to top up their coverage. In June 2016, this change went into effect. Insurance companies and brokers sent out a slip in insurance renewals but according to the report that I commissioned most people didn’t buy it. In fact, a large proportion of people polled said they didn’t even know things had changed, nor that they could buy more coverage.
After 2010 the maximum a person can receive in benefits for a ‘minor’ injury is $3,500 in rehab and medical costs. If you have a non-catastrophic, more serious injury the maximum benefit is $50,000 in medical and rehab benefits for 10 years after the accident. When you consider the significant costs of physio, chiropractic, prosthetic, rehab, and other medication expenses, these amounts don’t go far at all.
Based on the findings of the survey commissioned, 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
Please read the survey, share this news with your friends and family, and read this chart of coverage from FSCO. Call your broker or insurer and make sure you have the coverage you need in an accident.
From FSCO https://www.fsco.gov.on.ca/en/auto/brochures/pages/brochure_changes10.aspx