December 05, 2019, Kitchener, Ontario
Posted by: Robert Deutschmann, Personal Injury Lawyer
We conducted out third Annual Survey on Ontario Auto Insurance this fall. It reveals that Ontario drivers are becoming slightly more aware of optional coverage, but they continue to be insufficiently protected particularly when it comes to medical benefits and income replacement benefits.
The survey looked at optional coverages, the deductible for general damages and included questions regarding close calls, auto safety features and roundabouts.
The results reveal that 10 years after the introduction of optional benefit coverage, 30% of drivers are still don’t know that they can purchase optional coverage that protects them beyond the statutory minimums. This number has increased slightly from 2017.
Many people continue to be unaware that in 2010 accident victims had their medical and rehab benefits reduced from the basic coverage of $100,000.00 to $3,500.00 for almost 80% of accident victims. When you consider the cost of physiotherapy, chiropractic, medication, diagnostic testing, crutches, braces, equipment, and other treatment specialists the $3,500 limit is very quickly exceeded.
Only 8% of people surveyed have purchased additional coverage. Of those:
- 71% increased liability coverage
- 50% increased medical coverage
- 16% increased weekly income benefits
Even more telling is that although 75% of people know about their property insurance deductible that applies to every claim, only 52% were aware of a deductible for pain and suffering damages. The deductible is currently $38,818.97. Only 10% of those surveyed felt that the deductible would be $10,000.00.
What this all means is that if you are injured in a car accident and are awarded $50,000.00 for pain and suffering the at fault insurer will only have to pay you $11,181.03.
The deductible for pain and suffering damages increases by the CPI rate annually, further eroding damages payable to innocent victims. Contrast that to rate payable by the insurer for income benefits (maximum $400.00 weekly) which has stayed stable since 1990, unless optional coverage is purchased.
“Our third annual survey shows that consumers in Ontario are not sufficiently informed about auto insurance including the availability of enhanced medical and income benefits and the erosion of damages when they are involved in an accident. There needs to be better education so consumers can make more informed decisions about their insurance and avoid becoming a victim twice – at the time of the accident and then realizing how their benefits do not sufficiently deal with their needs,” says Rob Deutschmann.
For those respondents that have been involved in a “close call” while driving, 87% identified that there was another vehicle involved and 11% with a bicycle or pedestrian. 45% identified speed as the biggest cause while 38% identified distracted driving and 25% identified improper turns.
The independent survey, conducted in September 2019, was administered by Metroline Research Group on behalf of Deutschmann Law. Over 800 Ontario licensed drivers between the age of 18 -74 participated. All were identified as decision-makers regarding their auto insurance policy.
You can read the whole survey by clicking on the link on my website or here.
If you have been injured in an auto accident it is more important than ever to contact a lawyer immediately to make sure you get all the compensation you are entitled to. It's also crucial to consider purchasing the additional coverages which are relatively inexpensive. Call your agent today and ask them for a quote. You won't regret it in the event of an accident.