Car Accident Injury Benefits are changing again
While I have been knee-deep in the industry as a personal injury lawyer who frequently deals with car accident injury lawsuits for many years, it seems that the changes that are being made to car accident victims’ benefits are almost at a rapid fire pace over the last few years.
A new round of benefit changes, effective June 1, 2016 will make further changes to the Standard Auto Insurance policy and the benefits available should the person be injured. These changes only apply to auto insurance policies issued or renewed on or after June 1, 2016.
The changes will lower the standard benefits available to policyholders (lowering the already lowered benefit levels from the last round of changes). The changes will also significantly reduce the length of time that someone has to apply for medical benefits after a car accident injury. Policyholders will have the option to increase their benefit amounts if they pay an extra premium. To increase the limits the policyholder must purchase the increased insurance from their representative.
Some of the new benefit changes are summarized as follows:
|Benefit||Current Policy||New Policy||Optional|
|Medical and Rehabilitation for non-catastrophic injuries||$50,000||These benefits have been combined and reduced to $65,000 total||Increase the benefitto $130,000 total|
|Attendant Care for non-catastrophic injuries||$36,000|
|Medical and Rehabilitation for catastrophic injuries||$1,000,000||These benefits have been combined and reduced to $1,000,000 total||An additional $1,000,000for a total of $2,000,0002 for catastrophic injuries|
|Attendant Care for catastrophic injuries||$1,000,000|
|Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care, all injuries||Not applicable||Not applicable||Increase the combined non-catastrophic benefit to $1,000,000 and the combined catastrophic benefit total to $2,000,0002,|
Some of the other important changes are as follows:
|Minor Accident||Insurer can no longer use a minor at-fault accident meeting certain criteria to increase your premiums. This applies to accidents occurring on or after June 1, 2016.|
|Interest Rate for Monthly Payment Plans||Maximum that can be charged for monthly premium payments has been lowered from 3% to 1.3% for one year policies, with corresponding reductions for shorter terms.|
|Comprehensive Deductible||The standard deductible for Comprehensive coverage has been increased from $300 to $500.|
|Non-Earner benefit||The six-month waiting period for people who are not working has been reduced to four weeks. Benefits can only be received for up to two years after the accident.|
|Duration of Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care benefits||For all claimants except children, duration of this standard benefit is now five years for non-catastrophic injuries, and will be paid only as long as you remain medically eligible.|
Some of the other available options are as follows:
|Benefit/Coverage||Current Policy||New Policy||You can choose|
|Income Replacement benefit||70 per cent of gross income up to $400 per week.||No change||To increase the weekly limit to $600, $800 or $1,000 per week.|
|Caregiver benefit||Available only for catastrophic injuries: Up to $250 per week for the first dependant plus $50 for each additional dependant.||No change||To make the same amounts available in current policy for catastrophic injuries available for all injuries.|
|Housekeeping and Home Maintenance expenses||Available only for catastrophic injuries: Up to $100 per week.||No change||To make the same amounts available in current policy for catastrophic injuries available for all injuries.|
|Death and Funeral benefits||$25,000 lump sum to an eligible spouse; $10,000 lump sum to each dependant; maximum $6,000 funeral benefits.||No change||$50,000 lump sum to an eligible spouse; $20,000 lump sum to each dependant; maximum $8,000 funeral benefits.|
|Dependant Care benefit||Not provided||Not provided||Up to $75 per week for the first dependant and $25 per week for each additional dependant to a maximum of $150 per week.|
|Indexation benefit||Not provided||Not provided||Annual adjustment for inflation for many benefits according to the Consumer Price Index for Canada.|
|Third Party Liability||$200,000 minimum for claims as a result of lawsuits against you.||No change||Options exist to increase the minimum amount.|
|Tort Deductible||$36,905.40 deductible for court awarded compensation for pain and suffering (Jan 1-Dec 31, 2016).||No change||Reduce deductible by $10,000 regardless of annual indexation percentage increases.|
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