Your Auto Insurance – It’s Not Protecting You the Way You Think

Have you ever noticed how advertisers for auto insurance focus on promoting the “cheapest rate” for your policy?  Understandably, this is what the general public believes to be the most important component when buying auto insurance as they mistakenly think that the coverage provided is all the same and hasn’t changed.  It absolutely isn’t the same for us all and it has changed dramatically over the last 8 years.
Since 2010, the Canadian government has been drastically reducing the number of dollars available to you to use for medical rehabilitation in the event that you are seriously injured in a car accident – all under the guise of “saving you money” by reducing your policy fees.  The bottom line is that fees did not reduce – but your coverage did.  And more importantly, it is of no benefit to anyone to have reduced insurance fees if it means that you will be unable to finance your rehabilitation as an injured member of the community. 
First, let me explain that the government views injuries in the following categories:

  • Minor

  • Non-Catastrophic

  • Catastrophic 

It will interest you to know that a close friend of mine who broke her neck in a highway traffic accident, was deemed “Non-Catastrophically” injured.  While she is miraculously still able to walk, she will never be able to return to work, is in constant pain, is unable to do much of what she used to and has been in rehab for 5 full years with no end in sight.  As you can see, how a person’s injuries are “deemed” is another enormous issue within the auto insurance industry and is something that most people have to secure lengthy, legal assistance to seek justice, which is by no means guaranteed. 
As a side-note, my friend did not have the full auto insurance coverage available to her as it was never a part of the discussion with her insurer when buying her auto insurance.  I recall when the buy-up options first came out, that I myself, had to educate my own insurance agent as to what was available to me - she had no idea what I was talking about!
Here’s how your benefits were slashed:

  • In 2010, the Canadian Government decided to cut the funds available to you by 50% should you be deemed as “Non-Catastrophically Injured”.  Prior to 2010, your insurance policy allowed for $100,000 of medical rehabilitation funding, which may sound like a lot, but it isn’t.  In 2010, that amount reduced to $50,000.  In the most recent budget announcement, an additional $21,000 was cut which could leave you and your loved ones with even further debilitating medical costs and untreated injuries for the rest of your/their life. 

  • If you are deemed “Catastrophically Injured”, the med-rehab funding of $1,000,000 will now include attendant care benefits which was previously a separate pool of $1,000,000 meaning your benefits were cut in half at a time 

  • The 10-year timeframe for funding rehabilitation will also be cut in half from 10 years to 5 years which would be devastating if you required any long-term rehabilitation.  Thankfully, the 10-year timeframe remains available to injured children. 

We have to ask ourselves how this will look years from now when thousands of injured people are unable to work or function as they used to, because of drastically inadequate rehabilitation dollars that should have been available to them through their auto insurance policy.    
Please consider sending an urgent message to your MPP, the Finance Minister & the Liberal government that you will not accept these changes to your auto insurance policy.
So, how can you best protect yourself?  Purchase the additional coverage available to you for medical rehabilitation for both Non-Catastrophic Injuries & Catastrophic Injuries.  It’s cheap!  I pay very little extra for the added coverage on my policy and others I’ve asked have found the same.  It won’t do anything to offset the budget cuts explained above, but it’s well worth the additional small fee and will increase the money available to you when you need it most.  Ask your insurer to show you all your options for “buying up” – it’s nothing short of crucial to know that you and your loved ones are covered in the horrible event of a serious auto accident.
For a detailed summary of auto insurance benefits options, please got to The Ontario Rehab Alliance.  Please visit our Brain Injury Services page for more information on how we can help if you've had an injury. If you would like to speak more with me directly, please call 905 637-5522 ext 236.