If you are hurt in a car accident, you may be entitled to benefits under your own automobile policy. This does not depend on another driver being at fault for the accident. These benefits are commonly referred to as “no-fault” benefits.
The possible benefits available to you include:
- a weekly income replacement benefit, if you miss time from work;
- a weekly caregiver benefit, to provide assistance with caring for dependent family members;
- a weekly housekeeping benefit, to provide assistance with the cleaning and maintenance of your home;
- medical and rehabilitation benefits, to provide treatment and counseling for your recovery;
- attendant care benefits, to provide assistance with your personal care; and
- other expenses for items such as lost or damaged clothing, lost educational expenses, and the travel expenses of family members who visit you during your recovery.
Your motor vehicle insurance policy comes with certain standard amounts of benefits which are mandated under the Ontario Insurance Act. The availability of the benefits set out above is largely dependent on the severity of your injuries. The amount of each type of benefit that is available to you is determined by the Insurance Act.
Unfortunately, many people do not find out that the standard amounts of benefits are inadequate for the needs of themselves and their families until after a motor vehicle accident occurs.
It is possible for you to purchase additional optional coverage to increase the availability and amounts of certain benefits. For example, the weekly amount of income replacement benefit is capped at $400 per week under the standard coverage. However, it is possible to increase the maximum weekly amount to $600, $800, or $1000 with the purchase of optional coverage. Similarly, for accidents that occur after September 1, 2010, the housekeeping and caregiver benefits are only available under the standard coverage if your injuries are classified as “catastrophic” in nature, which is not the case for the majority of injured persons. Again, it is possible to purchase optional coverage that will make the housekeeping and caregiver benefits available regardless of the severity of your injuries.
We strongly recommend that everyone who drives a car meets with their insurance broker to review their personal and family situation and ensure that they have the correct amount of coverage to meet their needs in the event that a motor vehicle accident occurs.