Changes to accident benefits
I received my letter today. “Changes to Ontario Auto Insurance Give You More Choice” Ha ! It seems like every so often there are new cuts and changes to accident benefits in Ontario and this year is no different. While it is mandatory to purchase auto insurance in Ontario, the mandatory coverage seems to be eroding. Sadly, these changes are leaving many vulnerable accident victims with little resources or compensation to rely on. Not to mention, these are much needed resources.
As of June 1, 2016 there are more drastic cuts coming to Ontario’s accident benefits system. You may recall that Ontario residents also saw very drastic cuts to their accident benefits on Sept. 1, 2010. Those initial cuts stripped many accident victims of services and compensation they needed for recovery and now even more accident victims will find themselves with no income, less compensation and fewer accident benefits.
The insurance company’s response to changes to accident benefits ? Buy more insurance…
Sadly , the Ontario insurance regime has been so eroded that for some, there simply isn’t enough benefit coverage for people who are injured in a car accident and need to access these benefits. The government and the insurance industry’s response to this has been to tell Ontario drivers to purchase optional benefits. In other words, give more money to the insurance companies, while the government mandates fewer and fewer benefits. The upcoming changes have also made it next to impossible and extremely difficult for Ontario accident victims to access help in a timely manner. Now, anyone who may be deemed to have a catastrophic impairment, must wait and be tested several months, or even years after they have suffered their injury. In the meantime, they aren’t able to work and their bills are piling up. We don’t need to elaborate on how difficult a situation this is on a family or an injured individual.
Insurance companies can pay low wages
Insurance companies also have stipulated limits as to what they are willing to pay. Even if an accident victim is eligible for certain benefits such as having someone come into their home to help, the insurance companies often set a dollar amount as to what they will pay for these services. Often times the dollar amount is too low, making it difficult to find help and people who are willing to work for low wages.
Perhaps one of the most disturbing new regulations being introduced is a new law that strips away the rights of Ontario drivers. Now, there is no real recourse against the insurance companies if they are being unfair and mishandling a claim. Before this new law, drivers in Ontario were permitted to sue the insurance company if the insurance company was being unfair and mistreating an individual. Now, the government has removed the right to sue. Sadly, this may give the insurance companies a lot of room for misconduct.
Insurance companies can hire their own
Another huge inequity is that insurance companies are able to hire their own professionals to assess accident victims . The cost of these assessments is very expensive. Ultimately these are dollars that could be given to accident victims for rehabilitation, home modifications etc…
“Stay tune for more changes to accident benefits…”
It really seems like it can’t get worse for Ontario drivers. Ontario drivers are paying a lot of money for mandatory insurance that will likely not cover the cost of their injuries and they will likely not have access to the much needed funds they will need in time. One has to ask oneself…..When is enough, enough ?
written by Rebecca