Your Auto Insurance Explained: An Introduction to Accident Benefits
In an earlier post, we discussed how liability insurance works on most auto insurance policies should you cause property damage or injure a third party as a result of a car accident. But, what if you, or the passengers in your car, are injured? Here, we’ll tackle the complex topic of Accident Benefits and its various components in a three-part post and discuss how your auto insurance may respond should you get hurt in a collision.
- Part One: Income Replacement, Caregiver Benefits, and Housekeeping & Home Maintenance
- Part Two: Dependant Care as well as Medical & Rehabilitation Benefits
- Part Three: Attendant Care, Death and Funeral Benefits, and Indexation
Ontario Accident Benefits Coverage
In Ontario, Accident Benefits are carried on any auto insurance policy that also has liability coverage. It is made up of several components that are standardized, but can also be customized giving you higher limits or coverage that are not already part of the standard package. Even so, the majority of the driving population elects for the standard coverages to keep car insurance premiums lower.
This is understandable; car insurance in Ontario is the costliest in the country and any way to ease the financial burden can be seen as a plus for many drivers. That said, many people may be doing themselves a disservice by not purchasing appropriate coverage to protect them and their loved ones in the event of injury or death resulting from an automobile accident.
- Income Replacement
Should you be injured in an auto accident, you may find that you’re unable to work. Standard coverage under Accident Benefits is for 70% of gross earnings to a maximum of $400 per week. But what if you make substantially more than that and do not have any other source of disability insurance? This is commonly true of people who are self-employed or who work on a contract-basis only. Talk to your insurance broker about buying up on coverage. Options exist to increase this limit to $600, $800, or $1000 per week.
- Caregiver Benefits
If you are responsible for the care of children or others, an accident-related injury could prevent you from providing that care and cause a financial burden on your family. Hiring a nanny, enrolling in day care services or even hiring a personal support worker can be a large cost that many households can’t bear or sustain. Under the standard car insurance policy, there is no coverage for caregiver benefits unless a catastrophic impairment, like paralysis, occurs. However, buy-up coverage exists so that an injury that isn’t considered catastrophic will qualify for caregiver benefits. Call your auto insurance broker to discuss what coverage you and your family may need.
- Housekeeping and Home Maintenance
Two things I really hate: emptying the dishwasher and vacuuming. Regardless of your own feelings about household chores, an injury from a car crash could prevent you from performing these tasks. Hiring a home cleaning service or landscaper to maintain your lawn is an extra cost many would not consider when planning for the possibility of disability. Under the standard auto policy in Ontario, such costs are not covered under the basic plan except in certain cases of extreme impairment. A buy-up extension is not available under your auto policy, but should you believe you would require coverage for such circumstances, you may find options from other insurance products such as life and critical illness insurance.
To Be Continued
Stay tuned for our next installment on Accident Benefits, where we’ll dive into some other auto coverages for injury such as:
- Dependent Care
- Medical and Rehabilitation Benefit
- Attendant Care
- Indexation Benefit