Question: I am buying a car and need to purchase auto insurance. Should I buy the OPCF 44R Family Protection Coverage on my policy?
Answer: Buying auto insurance can be confusing for many Ontario drivers. Oftentimes, many drivers do not even know what type of coverage they have, let alone understand their coverage. While there are mandatory coverages drivers must purchase such as third-party liability coverage, which pays for claims that result from a car accident caused by the insured driver, there are also optional coverages drivers should consider purchasing. One of those optional coverage is the OPCF 44R Family Protection Coverage.
Defining the OPCF 44R Family Coverage
Typically, when there is a car accident, the injured driver can sue the at-fault driver to recover damages such as medical expenses not covered by accident benefits and pain and suffering damages. The amount the injured driver recovers comes from the at-fault driver's liability coverage. The minimum amount of liability coverage drivers are required to have is $200,000. Therefore, the maximum amount of recovery from an at-fault driver who has the required minimum coverage is $200,000. However, if an injured driver is catastrophically injured, this amount is most likely not enough to compensate the injured driver for his damages. For instance, if a driver suffers a spinal injury which paralyzes him from the waist down, $200,000 is not enough to compensate him for the expenses he may incur, as well as the pain and suffering he will deal with for the rest of his life.
In such situations, if the injured driver purchased the OPCF 44R coverage, he may receive additional compensation from his own insurance company. Essentially, OPCF 44R is used when the at-fault driver does not have enough liability coverage to compensate the injured victim. It is important to note that OPCF 44R coverage amount is the same as an insured driver's third-party liability coverage. Therefore, if a driver has $200,000 in liability coverage, then he also has $200,000 in OPCF 44R coverage.
However, an injured driver can only file an OPCF 44R claim if the amount of his OPCF 44R coverage is greater than the amount of the at-fault driver's liability coverage. The reason is OPCF 44R coverage is considered excess coverage. Using the above example, if the driver who suffered a spinal injury has $1,000,000 in liability coverage and also bought OPCF 44R coverage, then he may file an OPCF 44R claim because his OPCF 44R coverage is greater than the at-fault driver's liability coverage. However, if the injured driver has $200,000 in OPCF 44R coverage, then there is no claim because there is no excess coverage.
With recent changes in accident benefits laws, it may be worthwhile for Ontario drivers to increase their OPCF 44R coverage to $2,000,000. In addition, many insured drivers choose $1,000,000 in liability coverage. Therefore, an OPCF 44R coverage of $1,000,000 is worthless if the at-fault driver's liability coverage is also $1,000,000. See An Ontario Car Accident Lawyer Explains the OPCF 44R Family Protection Coverage.
About Bergeron Clifford
Bergeron Clifford LLP has proudly and successfully represented injured clients and their loved ones in all types of motor vehicle accidents (distracted driving accidents, drunk driving accidents, etc.) across Kingston, Ottawa, Whitby, Perth, and Eastern Ontario. Their goal is to help you receive appropriate compensation in the shortest amount of time. 866-384-5886