Ontario Changes Basic Auto Insurance Coverage and Mandates Savings For Winter Tires

Ontario drivers will soon see changes to their auto insurance coverage. In a budget announcement on Thursday, the Ontario Liberals introduced reduced coverage for basic auto insurance benefits and catastrophic accidents coverage, while also announcing measures to help some drivers save on their premiums.

Here's how the proposed changes will affect your coverage.

Basic Auto Insurance Benefits

Proposed: Medical and rehabilitation benefits combined as a single benefit with attendant care for a total of $65,000

Previous: $50,000 for medical and rehabilitation, and $36,000 for attendant care

Catastrophic Accidents Coverage

Proposed: Catastrophic accidents coverage for medical and rehabilitation now combined with attendant care to a limit of $1 million

Previous: $1 million for medical and rehabilitation, and $1 million for attendant care

Drivers can still purchase additional coverage up to $1 million for basic auto insurance benefits, and $2 million for catastrophic.

The definition of catastrophic impairment will also be updated to include contemporary medical and scientific information and knowledge. Specifics for this change are not yet available.

Some Drivers To See Savings

The budget breakdown also includes a few measures to reduce auto insurance premiums in Ontario for certain drivers. Again, specific details and criteria for the below measures are not yet available.

  • Insurance providers will be required to give a discount of at least 15 per cent to drivers with winter tires (check out our top 10 winter tires)
  • Insurance providers will no longer be permitted to automatically increase premiums for drivers involved in certain types of minor, at-fault accidents
  • Insurance providers must limit the maximum interest rate that some drivers pay on insurance premiums to 1.3 per cent, down from 3 per cent

What about that 15 per cent rate reduction plan?

There's only four months until the Liberals hit their August 15 deadline, of which they promised to reduce auto insurance premiums in Ontario by a total of 15 per cent.

Right now the difference is sitting at seven per cent. Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the Liberals are "halfway there," but admitted there's more work to be done.

Opposition parties are not confident the Liberals will deliver. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says Ontario has the lowest rate of accidents in the country, but pays the highest insurance premiums. She says savings "never trickles down to the drivers."

In the meantime, Sousa recommended drivers looking to supplement the rate reduction take advantage of telematics programs, which provide drivers with significant discounts (five per cent immediately, and up to 25 per cent overall) if they agree to install a device in their car that monitors their driving habits.

Additionally, drivers can typically see immediate savings by switching providers. Compare auto insurance quotes on InsuranceHotline.com today to see if you could be getting a better rate.