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Changes to Your Ontario Auto Insurance [Updated]

May 30, 2016

Ontario auto insurance reforms are here.

You may have heard rumblings about the changes to your auto insurance; in fact, you’ve probably received something in the mail to the effect. Some changes happened earlier in the year—the mandated winter tire discount, for example—but most are as of June 1, 2016.

A minor collision, that’s your fault, may not affect your rate

We all make mistakes. If you make one while behind the wheel that results in a minor collision, it will not be factored into your premiums if:

  • The collision happens on or after June 1, 2016
  • There are no injuries and damage is less than $2,000 per vehicle
  • None of the people involved submits an insurance claim for payment
  • As the driver who caused the collision, you pay for all of the damages

There’s one last caveat: you’re limited to one minor accident every three years.

Your monthly premium payment may decrease

If you pay your premiums monthly, there’s a chance you pay a little more than a driver who pays their premium in one lump sum. Many companies—but not all—charge a little extra to cover the cost of administering payments every month.

Previously, insurers were permitted to charge three per cent for an annual policy, but this has been lowered to 1.3 per cent, with similar reductions for shorter term policies.

Your comprehensive coverage is the same, but your deductible may change

If you have comprehensive coverage on your policy (it’s optional so you might not), the standard deductible has increased from $300 to $500.

  • What is comprehensive coverage? Comprehensive coverage is an optional add on to your policy. It protects you from the costs to repair damage to your vehicle from things like fire, theft, or vandalism.
  • What is a deductible? A deductible is the portion of an insurance claim you agree to pay on your own. Your insurance company picks up the rest. Generally speaking, the higher the deductible you choose, the lower your insurance rate.

Changes to Your Accident Benefits coverage

Accident Benefits are benefits you receive if you are injured in an auto accident, no matter who caused the collision or was found at fault. These benefits are made up of many components and, depending on the injury, can cover expenses from things like physiotherapy and chiropractic services to hiring someone to clean or upkeep your house.

If you buy a new policy, or renew, on or after June 1st you’ll need to review your coverage carefully as there are going to be some changes. If you’ve already renewed your policy (prior to June 1), the changes will not affect you until it’s time to renew or switch insurers.

What’s changed?

Some of the standard benefits have changed. In particular, the amount covered for Medical and Rehabilitation costs and Attendant Care. These benefits have been combined and the dollar value reduced.

  • What is the Medical and Rehabilitation benefit? The Medical and Rehabilitation benefit covers the cost of expenses like physiotherapy and prescriptions that are not covered by OHIP or your personal healthcare plan.
  • What is the Attendant Care benefit? The Attendant Care benefit pays for an aide or attendant to look after you until it’s no longer medically necessary.
Accident Benefit Policies renewed or purchased before June 1 Policies renewed or purchased on or after June 1 Your options
Medical and Rehabilitation for non-catastrophic injuries $50,000 These benefits have been combined and reduced to $65,000 total. Increase the benefit to $130,000 total
Attendant Care for non-catastrophic injuries $36,000
Medical and Rehabilitation for injuries $1,000,000 These benefits have been combined and reduced to $1,000,000 total Increase the benefit to a total of $2,000,000
Attendant Care for catastrophic injuries $1,000,000

(Financial Services Commission of Ontario)

There are also changes to the Caregiver and the Housekeeping and Home Maintenance benefits, in particular the options available to you.

  • What is the Caregiver benefit? The Caregiver benefit covers expenses you may incur if you are unable to continue in your role as a primary caregiver to dependents.
  • What is the Housekeeping and Home Maintenance benefit? This benefit covers expenses if you need to hire someone to help you clean or upkeep your home.
Accident Benefit Policies renewed or purchased before June 1 Policies renewed or purchased on or after June 1 Your options
Caregiver benefit Available only for catastrophic injuries: Up to $250 per week for the first dependant plus $50 for each additional dependant. No change You can choose to have this benefit extend to all injuries.
Housekeeping and home maintenance expenses Available only for catastrophic injuries: Up to $100 per week. No change You can choose to have this benefit extend to all injuries.

(Financial Services Commission of Ontario)

What’s next?

All of the changes are in effect as of June 1, 2016, but your policy won’t change until it’s time to renew or switch insurers. When it’s time to renew, your package will provide more information on the changes, but until then, you can learn more about what’s happening to your Ontario auto insurance at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Your policy is changing, and chances are your rates will too

During times like these, when there are changes afoot, auto insurance rates will probably change too. Make sure you not only understand how your auto insurance coverage is changing but also that you’re getting the best price for the coverage. Shop around and compare quotes to get the best deal for the coverage you want.

  • dogan altug

    insurance should be hand ling by goverment not those moulty bilyoners thats way l would no my extra insurance charge $50.00 or more every month becouse l”m old .let gowement have it.

  • lucky

    I was in winnipeg govt runs the auto insurance they charge me $90 monthly for a brand new tucson, when i moved in to toronto with same car private auto insurance charge me $520 mo. For the same car! Bunch of scammers!

  • Jack Barmanche

    How else do you think all the ceos get there million dollar pay outs

  • Fabian Boone

    If you drive like a responsible person and don’t get any tickets, your rates will change drastically after age 25. However, if you’re irresponsible and can’t pay your insurance premium and you miss a couple insurance payments, you risk going into a higher-rate bracket as you’re automatically considered high-risk. The point is…be responsible, don’t be a dumb-ass who drives like an idiot, and pay your bills. My insurance is dirt cheap and I have two new vehicles where I pay just slightly over $100/month in total. No tickets in the last 10 yrs and no accidents.

  • Brenda

    Who is your insurer? We are being asked to pay &128.00 a month for 1 eight year old car and 1 ten year old van in South West Ontario.

  • CaptainAwesomer

    You should shop around for a new insurer, and bundle home/renters insurance for a discount. They’re all priced differently based on your age and location. When I was under 25, RBC had the best rate ($250/month). When I moved to Toronto (Yonge and Davisville),Belair Direct had the best rate ($120/month). When I moved to Brampton, AllState had the best rate ($160/month).

    You would probably save a lot from the bundle discount. When I was under 25 I paid BelAir around $20 a month to insure the contents in my apartment, but the discount on my car insurance from bundling was much higher – like $80 or $100 a month. I don’t know if they’ve closed that loop hole though.