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Proposed New Options for Drivers Buying Auto Insurance

Archived Backgrounder

Proposed New Options for Drivers Buying Auto Insurance

Ministry of Finance

The McGuinty government's proposed package of automobile insurance reforms would help keep insurance premiums affordable for Ontario drivers. The changes would provide consumers with more choice and flexibility to purchase coverage that best meets their protection needs and budgets.

Drivers would continue to have access to existing choices. They would also benefit from a wider range of options on medical and rehabilitation benefits, attendant care, housekeeping expenses, home maintenance expenses, caregiver expenses, death and funeral expenses, court compensation, and compensation for property damage.

Drivers would be able to better integrate their automobile insurance with private disability insurance coverage, or individual or group health insurance coverage.

The government will work with the insurance industry, health care providers and consumer groups to make drivers aware of, and help them understand, the new choices available to them when purchasing auto insurance.

STATUTORY ACCIDENT BENEFITS

Consumers would be able to work with their insurance agent/broker to choose adequate accident benefit coverage. These benefits are provided by insurers to those injured in automobile accidents. They include payments to recover expenses for medical and rehabilitation, attendant care, housekeeping and home maintenance, funerals, as well income replacement and payment following the death of an insured person.

The government would create a basic package of statutory accident benefits that lowers compulsory medical and rehabilitation benefits coverage to $50,000 and attendant care benefits coverage to $36,000 for non-catastrophic injuries.

Drivers could purchase $50,000, $100,000 or $1 million of medical and rehabilitation benefits coverage. They would also have the choice to purchase $36,000 or $72,000 in attendant care benefits coverage.

Ontario's basic medical and rehabilitation benefits would remain the most generous in Canada, when compared to other provinces with similar auto insurance marketplaces.

Statutory Accident Benefits: Coverage Comparison

The following table compares current statutory accident benefit coverage with the government's proposed basic package, and illustrates choices that consumers would have when buying or renewing their policies.

Coverage Current Coverage Proposed Basic Coverage Proposed Consumer Choices

Medical and Rehabilitation (non-catastrophic)

  • $100,000 (non-catastrophic)
  • $1 million (catastrophic)
  • $50,000
  • $1 million (catastrophic)
  • Coverage includes assessments
  • $100,000; $1 million ($1 million option includes attendant care)
  • Coverage includes assessments
Medical and Rehabilitation (catastrophic)
  • $1 million
  • $1 million
  • Coverage includes assessments
  • $1 million
  • Coverage includes assessments
Attendant Care
  • $72,000 (non-catastrophic)
  • $1 million (catastrophic)
  • $36,000 (non-catastrophic)
  • $1,000,000 (catastrophic)
  • $72,000 ($1 million medical and rehabilitation option includes attendant care)
Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Expenses and Caregiver Expenses
  • Caregiver benefit: up to $250 per week plus $50 per dependant; housekeeping and home maintenance up to $100 per week
  • Benefits available for catastrophic injuries
  • Caregiver benefit: up to $250 per week plus $50 per dependant; housekeeping and home maintenance up to $100 per week (non-catastrophic)
Income Replacement
  • Maximum $400 per week; 80 per cent of net income
  • Maximum $400 per week; 70 per cent of gross income
  • Maximum $1,000 per week; 70 per cent of gross income
Death and Funeral
  • $25,000 (eligible spouse); $10,000 (each dependant), maximum $6,000 funeral expenses
  • $25,000 (eligible spouse); $10,000 (each dependant), maximum $6,000 funeral expenses
  • $50,000 (eligible spouse); $20,000 (each dependant), maximum $8,000 funeral expenses [Same as current options]

COMPARING ONTARIO TO OTHER PROVINCES

The following table compares statutory accident benefit coverage in provinces with similar auto insurance marketplaces.

Province / Territory Medical and Rehabilitation Benefit Limits
Alberta

$50,000

Newfoundland and Labrador

$25,000 (optional)

New Brunswick

$50,000

Northwest Territories and Nunavut

$25,000

Nova Scotia

$25,000

Prince Edward Island

$25,000

Yukon

$10,000

Ontario (Proposed Basic Package)
  • $50,000 (non-catastrophic)
  • $1 million (catastrophic)
Ontario (Proposed Consumer Choices)
  • $100,000; $1 million (non-catastrophic)
    ($1 million option includes attendant care)

Drivers with either level of coverage would be eligible for $1 million in the event of a catastrophic injury.

Ontario's basic medical and rehabilitation benefits would remain the most generous in Canada, when compared to other provinces with similar auto insurance marketplaces. Ontario would be the only province with privately delivered insurance to provide additional coverage for people who suffer more serious injuries.

THIRD-PARTY LIABILITY

The proposed basic automobile insurance policy would include $200,000 in third-party liability coverage. Drivers would continue to have the option to buy $500,000, $1 million, $2 million or another amount in third-party liability.

Third-party liability provides compensation on behalf of an at-fault driver in an accident, to cover injuries to any other person or their property. According to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, approximately 99 per cent of drivers currently purchase more than the mandatory minimum $200,000 in coverage.

If you are injured in an accident, your injuries are serious enough and you are not at-fault, you can sue the at-fault driver for pain and suffering. The current deductible that applies to court awards for pain and suffering is $30,000 ($15,000 for family members).

The government is proposing to give vehicle owners, on purchase of their insurance policy, the option to buy additional coverage that would have the effect of reducing the deductible to $20,000 ($10,000 for family members). The coverage would apply to the owner as well as the owner's spouse and dependants when they are injured in an accident. This would give innocent people injured in an auto accident greater access to additional financial compensation through the court system. The proposed basic automobile insurance policy would continue to include a $30,000 deductible ($15,000 for family members).

Third-Party Liability: Coverage Comparison

The following table compares current third-party liability coverage with the government's proposed basic package, and illustrates choices that would be available to consumers purchasing or renewing auto insurance policies.


Coverage Current Coverage Proposed Basic Coverage Proposed Consumer Choices
Third-Party Liability
  • $200,000 (Mandatory Minimum)
  • $1 million (market practice coverage)
  • $200,000
  • $500,000, $1 million, $2 million, (other) [ Same as current options]
Compensation through the Court System
  • $30,000 deductible (not-at-fault accident victims); $15,000 deductible (family members under the Family Law Act)
  • $30,000 deductible (not-at-fault accident victims); $15,000 deductible (family members under the Family Law Act)
  • Reduce to: $20,000 deductible (not-at-fault accident victims); $10,000 deductible (family members under the Family Law Act)

DIRECT COMPENSATION - PROPERTY DAMAGE

This coverage provides compensation for damage to an insured driver's car or property inside the car, as a result of a car accident where the driver is not at-fault.

The Ontario government's basic auto insurance coverage would provide drivers with a $500 deductible. This could reduce the cost of insurance, because drivers who choose this level of coverage would have to pay the first $500 in repair costs, with the insurer covering the remaining balance.

Currently, drivers can choose a $300 or a $0 deductible as part of their auto insurance package. These options would remain available to consumers.

CONSUMER EDUCATION

The government is committed to working with the insurance industry, health care providers and consumer groups to educate drivers about new options that would be available to them when purchasing or renewing auto insurance policies.

See a complete list of the Ontario government's proposed auto insurance reforms.

Media Contacts

  • Alicia Johnston

    Minister's Office

    alicia.johnston@ontario.ca

    416 325-3645

  • Scott Blodgett

    Ministry of Finance

    scott.blodgett@ontario.ca

    416-325-0324

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