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FAQ: What Are Accident Benefits?

Friday, 3 September 2021

Hopefully, the disruption of a car accident doesn’t last long, and your life can quickly return to normal. Occasionally, people are not so lucky and end up with injuries that require a longer road to recovery. A major injury could impact your lifestyle and finances as you rehabilitate and/or take time off work. Fortunately, automobile insurance in most Canadian provinces include a coverage called Accident Benefits for this type of situation. Let’s talk about Accident Benefits and how they can help you.

Before We Start

Even though we don’t love imagining accidents, it’s still important for you to be informed on what your car insurance policy covers. Your province and individual policy wording may vary slightly from what we explain. The purpose of this blog is to provide basic information. If you have any questions or want more details about Accident Benefits, contact a BIG broker in your province!

What Are Accident Benefits?

Accident Benefits are mandatory on auto insurance policies in Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. In a covered claim, Accident Benefits would provide medical and rehabilitation expenses, funeral benefits, death benefits, and loss of income benefits, which we will explain in more detail below. The coverage kicks in for any accident involving a vehicle where a legally licensed driver, a passenger, a bystander, or pedestrian is injured. Whether you’re at fault or not, Accident Benefits will protect you.

It’s important to understand a few things:

  • Accident Benefits will only cover expenses after all other government and/or private health care plans have been exhausted.
  • Accident Benefits have limits that are outlined in your policy.
  • Accident Benefits are specific to each province’s legislation.
  • Payouts are determined by the severity of your injury (catastrophic vs. non-catastrophic).
  • In Ontario only, you can purchase additional coverage to extend the limits.

Accident Benefits: Medical & Rehabilitation Benefit

Medical & Rehabilitation costs are included in your Accident Benefits and may include medical costs for hospital fees, surgery, physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment, dental work, occupational therapy, medications, hearing aids, and so on. This coverage could also cover counselling, re-training, and home adjustments to assist the recovery process. This is subject to your policy limit for things that are not covered by government or private health plans.

In Ontario, you have the option to increase the limit amounts for an additional premium for catastrophic and non-catastrophic injuries.

Accident Benefits: Attendant Care Benefit

Say you were unable to take care of yourself due to an injury resulting from a car accident. If simple tasks such as bathing, using the toilet, getting dressed, or feeding yourself are not possible, Attendant Care Benefits would pay the necessary expenses for an aide, attendant, or long-term care facility. This coverage is an extension of the Medical & Rehabilitation coverage explained above and is subject to policy limits.

Accident Benefits: Caregiver Benefit

If your family depends on you for regular care, the Caregiver Benefit would reimburse costs to hire someone to help if you were unable to continue in the role of primary caregiver. It’s especially beneficial for families with a single parent, a stay-at-home parent, or other dependents. This is typically only offered for the more severe, ‘catastrophic’ injuries, and is subject to policy limits calculated based on the number of dependents in your household.

In Ontario, additional coverage can be purchased to cover non-catastrophic events as well (e.g. back or neck pain). 

Accident Benefits: Income Replacement Benefit

Your road to recovery might take longer than expected, and you might not be able to return to work during the recovery process. If you are unable to work while you recover or adjust to a new disability, the Income Replacement Benefit helps to compensate for your loss of income and reduce financial stress. While it doesn’t cover your whole salary, it will help you stay afloat until you can return to work.

In Ontario, the Income Replacement Benefit will cover the lesser of 70% of your net income or $400 weekly. As with other coverages, this can be increased (up to $1,000 per week) for an additional premium.  

Accident Benefits: Death and Funeral Benefit

Unfortunately, sometimes death occurs at a car accident. If you were to pass away because of an accident, your spouse and dependents would receive a lump sum through the Death and Funeral Benefit to help cover expenses associated with a funeral, death, estate taxes, etc. up to a policy limit.

Again, these limits can be increased for an additional premium in Ontario only.

The Death and Funeral Benefits do help, but they are will not sustain your family long-term if you were to pass away. We always recommend life insurance to further help your family in an untimely death. 

Accident Benefits: Non-Earner Benefit

If you do not qualify for Income Replacement Benefit for specific reasons related to the timeframe after the accident, or employment status and education, you may qualify for Non-Earner Benefit. A BIG broker will be able to explain the details more fully.  

Other Expenses Benefit

Your insurer may also pay for miscellaneous expenses if the costs incurred are a result of accident injuries such as:

  • Lost educational expenses
  • Costs for bringing family members to visit you in rehabilitation facilities
  • Reasonable costs related to housekeeping or home maintenance
  • Clothing lost or damaged in the accident 

 

Accident Benefits cover many different situations related to injuries. If you had to cover these costs on your own in a serious accident, it would be financially challenging to say the least – and that’s why it’s mandatory! Here at BIG, we have your best interests at heart and want to you be protected as much as possible when the unexpected happens. Whether you’re shopping for a new policy, want to learn about your existing policy, or want to make changes on the one you have, BIG brokers can help! Contact us today, or start a no-obligation quote!