Ontario law requires all drivers to carry automotive insurance. Failure to do so can mean hefty fines or the loss of a driver’s license and vehicle in the event of a traffic stop or collision. Further, an uninsured driver may be held financially liable in the event of a car accident.
Purchasing car insurance entitles you to statutory Accident Benefits in case of an accident and injury. Benefits include medical and rehabilitation benefits, income replacement benefits, attendant care benefits and even a non-earner benefit for those who were not employed at the time of the accident. Car insurance also covers you for liability coverage in the event that you are at fault for the accident. The type of insurance you purchase can impact the compensation available to you to address accident injuries and other losses. Below are three tips to help you choose the right car insurance for you and your family.
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Tip 1: Start By Covering the Basics
Ontario car insurance laws require you carry an established minimum of financial protections.
The standard car insurance policy must include:
- $200,000 in third-party liability coverage (provides you with protection in case someone is injured or killed in a crash or there is property damage);
- statutory accident benefits coverage (no-fault benefits provided to help you address your own losses);
- direct compensation – property damage/DC-PD coverage (financial protection for property damage to your own vehicle); and
- uninsured automobile coverage (offers protection in the event of a hit-and-run accident or a crash involving an uninsured driver).
Comply with provincial law by ensuring your policy includes these four components.
Tip 2: Increase Your Policy Limits as Your Budget Allows
Increase your financial protection by purchasing additional car insurance coverage or increasing your policy limits. Many car insurance carriers will allow you to customize your policy to better suit your budget and needs.
Voluntary additional protections include:
- increased third-party liability coverage (you may bump up your policy limits to $1 million or $2 million or more);
- additional statutory Accident Benefits (increase your available coverage on standard benefits such as Income Replacement, Medical and Rehabilitation, Attendant Care and Death and Funeral, or purchase optional benefits to cover expenses relating to a Caregiver, Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Expense, Dependent Care);
- indexation (this automatically adjusts your statutory benefits to correspond to the rate of inflation as determined by the Consumer Price Index of Canada);
- additional coverage for loss of or damage to your vehicle (additional options include Specified Perils Coverage, Comprehensive Coverage, Collision Coverage or All Perils Coverage); and
- special enhancements to coverage (additional policy endorsements include those that cover leased vehicles, car rental, offset of tort deductibles, family protection, and more).
Adding or increasing coverage will impact your monthly or annual premiums. A general rule of thumb is to purchase as much coverage as your budget will allow.
Tip 3: Understand Your Own Financial Responsibilities
Clarify what your deductibles will be in the event you must file a claim. This is the agreed-upon sum you first must pay before receiving compensation relating to property damage, such as $1,000 or $2,500. Ensure you can afford to pay this amount. If not, make necessary adjustments to your policy.
Visit our personal injury blog to learn more about car insurance and Accident Benefits. For help after an accident, call 1-800-JUSTICE®.