As of June 1, a new car insurance policy in Ontario will provide less coverage as a result of an accident. It you want more, you’ll have to pay.
Car insurance premiums have come down in Ontario this year, but less welcome is that you’re going to have less coverage in a standard policy if you get into an accident.
It’s the tradeoff of the Ontario Liberal’s have made as part of their unfulfilled promise to push auto insurance rates down. Yes, rates are slowly coming down, but to pay for it, insurers are being allowed to reduce the amount they pay you for accident benefits.
It’s another piece of the Liberal pledge made two years ago when they were a minority government and picked up as a campaign promise in the election that gave them a majority. They said they would reduce the cost of insuring a car in Ontario by 15 per cent by August, 2015.
We’re still waiting. Nine months after that deadline has passed we’re two-thirds of the way there at the 10 per cent mark.
The Liberals get credit for legislation in the past two years that may help eventually reach the goal. They’ve cracked down on insurance fraud and accelerated the process to settle disputed accident claims. There is more oversight of clinics that offer rehab services.
The latest push takes effect on June 1 and affects any policy renewed thereafter. It reduces the maximum benefit insurers must pay for accidents, including medical treatments, rehab services and attendant care. Insurers have long argued that Ontario’s payment schedule is the most generous in Canada and contributes to our higher insurance costs.
How high are our car insurance costs? The average GTA driver pays $2,203 a year to insure a car, according to the latest figures from the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The average in the Maritimes is $773 and in Quebec $693.
The June 1 changes mean your insurer is on the hook for less in accident benefits so policy costs can drop a bit. If you want to keep the current coverage, you can do so by paying for optional coverage.