Accident benefits awards to be cut in Ontario starting June 1

In a nutshell, there is a reduction of benefits to insured drivers who get into car accidents.
In a nutshell, there is a reduction of benefits to insured drivers who get into car accidents.(Photo: iStock.)

Ontario drivers take note: starting tomorrow there are important changes taking effect for car insurance coverage.

In a nutshell, there is a reduction of benefits to insured drivers who get into car accidents. How much of a reduction? Toronto injury lawyer Brian Goldfinger points to some of the most important changes affecting consumers:

  • Non-catastrophic benefits (for people with less severe injuries) are cut by $21,000. Before June 1, 2016 non-catastrophic benefits were a total of $86,000 and as of June 1, will be $65,000 only. This equals a reduction of benefits of approximately 24 per cent.
  • Non-earner benefits (for people not earning regular income and who can’t carry on with their normal life) are severely cut down to only up to two years. Before the new changes, non-earner benefits were paid for a lifetime. This means “huge” savings to the insurer.
  • Catastrophic benefits (for people with severe injuries) have been cut by 50 per cent from $2,000,000 to $1,000,000.

Not only have the benefits been reduced but also the definition of catastrophic injuries.

Under the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, which is the act that spells out what entitlements people involved in car accidents have, there are certain tests that determine catastrophic injuries such as Glasgow Coma Scale. The test has been used to test for brain injuries but will no longer be relevant. This means it will be harder to determine if there has been brain injury and likely more delays to get benefits.

How do these changes work for drivers who have to purchase or renew auto insurance after tomorrow?

The auto insurance policy that drivers will be purchasing from their broker will carry lower benefits, though they have the option of purchasing optional coverage.

Does this mean that car insurance premiums are going to be reduced? Drivers will have to see for themselves when they go to purchase or renew their car insurance after tomorrow.

Find a Lawyer