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New insurance cuts hurt motorists and limit benefit access

With car insurance benefit cuts, standard policies may no longer provide the protection you need if you're involved in an accident. According to an Oct. 22 report, the Ontario government mandated automobile insurance cuts on June 1, 2016, but that mandate has led to severe consequences for at least one motorist who was involved in a collision following the cuts. The motorist, a 34-year-old father, suffered a severe traumatic brain injury and other injuries after he was struck by a motor vehicle hours after the changes.

If that man had been injured just a day earlier, he would have been able to have accessed the maximum amount of money for rehabilitation and care provided for severe cases immediately. Today, that maximum is no longer automatically accessible. Instead, he and his family have to live on 10 percent of the benefits he would have received. That has put them in a position where they could have to file bankruptcy and are living in extreme hardship.

How can you help yourself and avoid this kind of outcome in your case? You should understand the change the Ontario government has made. According to the new policies, you have access to up to $1 million in total rehabilitation and care benefits if you suffer a catastrophic injury. Before June 1, you could access up to $2 million for care and rehabilitation.

The changes have made it difficult for those with catastrophic impairments to access the money they need immediately. The new government-legislated approach changed the way access to the compensation works, and that has hurt patients. It can lead to increased anxiety, rehabilitation challenges due to a lack of financial support and financial hardship for the victim and his or her family.

To avoid this situation, ensure your automobile insurance policy includes a family protection endorsement. It should be at least $2 million or higher to protect you in the case of a serious injury. You can also purchase optional benefits to increase the amount you may be paid out if you are injured.

Source: Toronto Sun, "Beware car insurance benefit cuts," Darcy Merkur, Oct. 22, 2016

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