The release of the 2015 Ontario Budget by the Liberals seeks a dramatic and unprecedented cut in auto insurance coverage for Ontario drivers. Most of the media reporting and politicking on the past 18 months has focused on a 15% rate cut for drivers. The rate cuts are now being leveraged as a reason for cutting benefits by far more than that 15%. And worse, the benefits to be cut are those for the injured accident victims who need it most, those who are paralyzed or have traumatic brain injuries.
Under the proposed changes, a young man or woman with a spinal cord injury from a car accident will see their coverage cut in half, likely meaning that they will not get the care they need, the support they need and likely losing the opportunity to contribute to society rather becoming a burden to the government.
Consider a 20 year old university student, hit by a car while crossing at a cross walk and sustaining a spinal cord injury. She is now brain injured and wheel-chair bound for her life, needs accessible housing and assistance throughout the day as she cannot live independently and is not able to return to school or work. Under the current insurance regime she would have access to $1million of medical benefits and $1 million of attendant care assistance to last her lifetime. She will also get an income supplement called a non-earner benefit worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in her lifetime.
Under the new changes, her benefits will be cut in half and the income supplement will end after only two years. She will not get the care she needs and will almost certainly become a burden on the social safety net.
Coverage for most accident benefits claims for therapy and treatment was reduced in 2010 from $100,000 to $50,000. These changes further reduce this coverage which when combined with attendant care benefits totaled $86,000 and will now be only $65,000.
When you consider that the average savings targeted on a $1300 a year policy is less than $200, the drop in coverage is wholly disproportionate to the premium cost. These changes do nothing but further the slogan “money for nothing”.
It’s time for the government to stand up for Ontario motorist against big insurance companies and protect their benefits coverage, not focus on limited premium savings.