No fault accident benefits were supposed to compensate Ontario drivers for the significant reduction in their right to sue. 20 years ago when the right to sue for car accidents was restricted to serious and permanent injuries, the quid pro quo was a generous amount of benefits to cover lost income, caregiver and housekeeping help and medical care.
Now in 2015 the Liberal government continues to cut, cut and cut the benefits that Ontario drivers receive when injured. Then they claim that auto insurance costs less. Well, yes, it costs less, but you are also getting less in terms of protection in the event of serious injury.
You can always get more extensive, and better car insurance coverage by paying for these so-called “optional” benefits. Higher income earners know they cannot live on the $400.00 a week you get with the basic coverage and they will purchase the optional increase. They can also afford to purchase coverage for the stay at home caregiver and to cover housekeeping costs.
But lower income Ontarians won’t be able to afford the so called “optional” coverage. This is also the demographic that is most at risk when in an accident. They can’t afford to pay housekeepers to clean their home when injured, and typically don’t have medical benefits at work to pay for physiotherapy.
If you are a stay at home parent with no options on your policy you get a whole lot of zero help for your work in the home. If you are self-employed, chances are your weekly benefits (based on net income before tax, a number the self-employed keep low with deductions) will likely be close to $6.00/week.
A typical Ottawa resident with a public service job has generous disability and medical coverage and won’t be left on the street when they cannot work after a car accident. They are the lucky ones who can afford to pay lower auto premiums.
Insurance companies like to complain to the government about high payout costs when a recent study by OTLA showed they are in fact making huge profits on auto insurance.
The ridiculous part of all of this is that, while insurance companies will pay out less for accident benefits claim, they end up paying out more on the tort side as injured car accident victims turn to the court system to claim their lost medical, caregiving and housekeeping expenses.