If you are injured in an auto accident in Ontario, your auto insurance is what will pay for your medical care and rehabilitation, not your health insurance. Depending on the type of injury, you may need medical care for a long time after the accident. It is helpful to know what kinds of expenses your auto insurance policy will pay for.
All motorists in Ontario are required to purchase auto insurance. Fines for not having it range from $5,000 to $50,000, plus you could have your licence suspended and/or your vehicle impounded. If you are convicted, any insurance company you approach may charge you higher premiums or refuse to sell you insurance at all.
A standard auto insurance policy covers:
- Third party liability coverage, which pays for claims from the other driver’s insurance company for injury, death or property damage when you are in an accident.
- Statutory accident benefits coverage, which gives you benefits if you are injured in an accident, regardless of which driver was at fault. The benefits include paying for supplementary medical and rehabilitation costs, a personal attendant for yourself or a caregiver for your dependents whom you are not able to care for, and non-earner or income replacement.
- Direct compensation for property damage, which covers damage to or loss of the vehicle and its contents, as well as loss of use of the vehicle and its contents, when another person was at fault.
- Uninsured automobile coverage, which covers you and your family if you are injured or killed by an uninsured driver.
The standard policy has minimum coverage of:
- $200,000 liability. The cost to increase that liability to $1M or $2M is usually small.
- 70% replacement of your income, up to $400 per week. You can purchase higher income replacement coverage up to $1,000 per week.
- $50,000 maximum for medical and rehabilitation expenses, including physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment, dental, and vision expenses, for non-catastrophic injury. For catastrophic injury the maximum is $1,000,000. You can buy higher benefits up to $1,100,000.
- $36,000 for attendant care for non-catastrophic, $1,000,000 for catastrophic injury. Optional benefits increase the limit to $1,072,000, or up to $3,000,000 in combined medical, rehabilitation and attendant care.
- $250 per week, plus $50 for each additional dependent, to hire a caregiver if you are a full-time caregiver and are not able to care for your dependents yourself, and only if you have a catastrophic injury. You can purchase optional coverage to include all injuries.
- $100 per week for housekeeping and home maintenance if you are injured catastrophically, with the option to purchase coverage for all injuries.
- $75 per week for the first dependent and $25 for each additional dependent if you were employed when you had the accident and must pay for additional childcare as a result of the accident.
- $25,000 to your eligible spouse and $10,000 to each dependant for death benefits, as well as up to $6,000 for funeral expenses. You can buy higher optional benefits.
Some employers provide coverage for some or all of the optional benefits available, so check with your employer before you pay for higher limits.
The determination of “catastrophic injury” is set individually in each case, and includes, but isn’t limited to:
- Spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia
- Amputation of a limb
- Blindness in both eyes
- Traumatic brain injury
- Severe impairment of the whole person
- Severe mental or behavioural impairment
The minimum standard auto insurance coverage is set by law in Ontario, but cost and service vary widely between insurance companies. It pays to compare, not just for cost but also for coverage and service, including the company’s reputation for settlement of claims.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision and you need help at home, Qualicare Toronto has PSWs and nurses who have specialized training and certification in traumatic brain injury, spinal column injury and other injuries that are common in auto accidents. Call us for a consultation.