Your Auto Insurance Benefits are Changing – June 1, 2016

Due to recent changes to auto insurance in Ontario, it’s the right time to reassess the policy you haven’t thought about in years. Your insurance company will be sending you an update in the mail, and we’re here to follow up with a conversation about your needs.

Consumers should consider more than what’s offered in a standard insurance policy. There are favourable options depending on your lifestyle. Consider updating your policy if:

* You’re a primary caregiver of young children, elderly parents or disabled family members
* You earn more than $30,000 a year
* You’re a snowbird
* You’re responsible for housekeeping or home maintenance
* You have a pre-existing injury that requires regular treatments like physiotherapy or massage
* Your auto insurance policy is your only form of coverage (i.e. you don’t have a group plan through an employer or spouse)

If you suffer catastrophic injury from a car accident (loss of limb, para/quadriplegic), standard Accident Benefits provide $1,000,000 for medical, rehabilitation and attendant care expenses. If your injury is less severe (broken bones, strains), available coverage is $65,000. These standard benefits were reduced by the Ontario government to help stabilize rates and provide more choice to consumers, but it’s likely people will feel the impact of these reductions. In today’s society, what’s the value of a million dollars when the average price of detached homes in Toronto has risen 16 percent to $1.2 million? How far does a million dollars go, spread over a lifetime?

The good news is there are options. To become more financially prepared you can increase, extend and purchase additional Accident Benefit Coverage from your insurance broker depending on what you need – whether that’s increasing coverage, extending  it to cover minor injuries or adding benefits to cover unexpected cost. If you earn more than $30,000 a year, you can increase your income replacement coverage to $600, $800 or $1,000 (depending on your income).

While it’s convenient to obtain a quick quote online, that quote won’t provide the complete picture you need. Talk to your insurance broker about what’s changed in your life this past year. How has your family’s life changed? Instead of focusing on price, start with what your needs are, then weigh them from a price perspective together with other expenses to decide what’s most important.

Luckily, Miller Insurance is here to help you navigate all of these critical changes. The Insurance Brokers of Ontario Association has created a chart that details the type of accident benefits coverage available and how the new reforms will impact your policy.

OTHER IMPORTANT POLICY CHANGES OF NOTE:

Minor Accidents: An insurer is no longer allowed to use minor at-fault accidents (under $2,000 that are not claimed to any insurer) to increase your premiums for an accident occurring on or after the effective date.

Interest rates for monthly payment plans:  The maximum amount that can be charged for monthly premium payments has been lowered from 3 per cent to 1.3 per cent for one-year policies, with corresponding reductions for shorter terms. This applies to contracts issued or renewed on or after June 1, 2016.

Comprehensive deductibles:  For any contract issued or renewed on or after June 1, 2016, the standard deductible for comprehensive coverage will increase from $300 to $500.

Talk to your Miller Insurance Broker about customizing your auto insurance. It could be the best decision you’ve ever made.

For general information about auto insurance in Ontario, more about these changes, definitions of different types of coverages and a glossary of insurance terms, visit www.fsco.gov.on.ca or www.ibc.ca. Know your options!