The Ontario government is proposing changes that will drastically reduce the benefits that you are entitled to claim from your insurance company if you are in a car accident.
They plan on reducing the time most people have to claim medical and rehabilitation expenses after an accident from the current 10 years down to 5 years (10 years was already far too short for many people with permanent medical and rehabilitation needs after a crash); cutting over $20,000 from the maximum amounts most people can claim for medical and attendant care expenses (which had already been slashed in half in 2010); cutting in half the maximum amounts that the most seriously injured people can claim (we’re talking people with serious brain injuries and severe, permanent physical injuries); restricting to two years the benefit claimed by people who weren’t working at the time of the accident but are so seriously injured in a crash that they are deemed to have suffered a “complete inability to carry on a normal life” (the “non-earner” benefit); and limiting the sorts of expenses your insurance company has to reimburse you for to those that are, in your insurance company’s opinion, ‘essential’ instead of those that are ‘reasonable and necessary.’
They are also making it even harder to recover the compensation you need if you’re involved in a car accident from the insurance company of the driver who hit you. The law already effectively prevents you from recovering any compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance company unless you have an exceptionally serious injury. It also prevents you from recovering your full income losses caused by the crash, regardless of the severity of your injuries. And to top it off, the insurance company of the person who hit you is even allowed to keep the first $30,000 of your compensation for pain and suffering if the amount you’re entitled to doesn’t surpass a certain amount – yes, you read that right: the insurance company of the person who caused your injuries gets to keep amounts you are found to be legally entitled to for your pain and suffering.
All of this is to try to attain a less than 15% reduction in the average premiums people pay for their car insurance. That’s right: the government wants to essentially slice in half the already very restricted benefits your premiums pay for, but they are only aiming to reduce premiums by an average of 15% (and that’s an average – you may not see any reduction in your own premiums).
These cutbacks are happening in the context of a recently released study that showed that car insurance companies in Ontario are already making huge profits. If the industry is that profitable now, just imagine what will happen when the amount they have to pay out to injured people after an accident gets sliced in half. Why should Ontarians keep paying almost the same amount to get half the protection, all so the insurance industry can grow their already significant profit margins? Something is very wrong with this picture.
It’s so easy to look at all this and say, “wow, sounds like it sucks for car accident victims. Good thing that’s not me. Hey, sweet, I got a 5% discount on my car insurance rates!” No one expects that they or their friends and family are going to be the ones involved in an accident. But if or when it does happen to you or someone you know, trust me – you will be infuriated by the system you have to contend with.
Get infuriated now instead.
Visit TruthAboutInsurance.ca to find out more and to send an email to your MPP telling them you care about more than populist rhetoric about insurance rates, and want them to stop catering to the insurance industry and taking away the benefits you are paying for. While you’re at it, sign the petition calling for the Ontario government to stop these changes.