Ontario's auto insurance laws and types of coverage on auto insurance policies can be very confusing for the insured drivers. There are mandatory coverages that drivers must get, such as liability coverage. There are also many types of optional coverage, such as the ability to increase the amount of liability coverage. Drivers may not even be aware of some of the kinds of optional coverage, such as the Ontario Policy Change Forms (OPCF) 44R Family Protection Coverage.
What is OPCF 44R Family Protection Coverage?
The OPCF 44R Family Protection Coverage is an optional auto insurance coverage Ontario drivers may purchase. It comes into play when the at-fault driver's liability coverage is not enough to compensate the injured victims. If an injured victim has OPCF 44R, he may then file a claim under this coverage to recover the rest of his damages.
For instance, consider the following scenario: Driver A is hit in an intersection in Kingston by Driver B who was driving at a high rate of speed. Driver A is catastrophically injured and requires extensive medical treatment and surgeries. Driver B has $200,000 in liability coverage, which is not enough to compensate Driver A for his injuries and damages, which are valued at $500,000. If Driver A has OPCF 44R coverage, he may file a claim with his own insurance company to recover the rest of his damages. However, OPCF 44R coverage is dependent on 2 factors:
1. the at-fault driver's liability coverage, and
2. the amount of your third-party liability coverage.
The amount of any OPCF 44R coverage is the same as an insured's third-party liability coverage. Therefore, if a driver has $200,000 in liability coverage, then his OPCF is also $200,000.
The OPCF 44R is considered excess to any other valid motor vehicle policies. That means in order to file an OPCF 44R claim, the insured driver's OPCF 44R coverage has to be greater than the at-fault driver's liability coverage.
Using the above example, if Driver A has $200,000 in OPCF 44R coverage, then he would not be able to make a claim. That's because Driver B has the same amount of coverage, or $200,000 of bodily injury coverage; there is no excess. On the other hand, if Driver A has $1,000,000 in OPCF 44R coverage, then he will be able to make a claim to recover damages in excess of the $200,000. Since Driver A's injuries are valued at $500,000, he can recover $200,000 from Driver B's liability coverage, and the remaining $300,000 from his OPCF 44R claim.
Ontario drivers should talk to their brokers and increase their OPCF 44R coverage to $2,000,000. Many insured drivers choose $1,000,000 in liability coverage. Therefore, if an injured driver has $1,000,000 in OPCF 44R coverage and the at-fault driver has $1,000,000 inliability coverage, then OPCF 44R coverage is worthless. Another reason to increase the OPCF44R coverage is due to the recent reductions in statutory accident benefits. The number of overlimit claims has risen dramatically, especially for those who are catastrophically injured. Therefore, by increasing the OPCF 44R coverage, an injured driver can make a claim with their own insurance company if the at-fault driver's liability coverage is not enough to compensate for their injuries. See A Closer Look at the Changes to Ontario's Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS) - How are Catastrophically Injured Motorists Affected?
Help with Statutory Accident Benefits Claims After Ontario Car Accidents
If you or a loved one was injured in an Ontario accident and need help with your accident benefits claim, contact the experienced car accident lawyers at Bergeron Clifford to schedule a FREE consultation. 1-866-384-5886