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Optional Accident Benefits: How Much Insurance Do You Need After a Car Accident?

Car Insurance is Mandatory in Ontario

Everyone in Ontario must have car insurance. Your car insurance has three main parts that people are concerned with after an accident:

  1. Third party liability coverage (tort claim)
  2. Property damage
  3. Accident Benefits


It is this third part, Accident Benefits, that people have the most control over yet usually fail to take advantage of until it’s too late – after an accident.


What is Accident Benefits?

Boating Accident Lawyer

The Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS, or AB for short) is a regulation made in the Insurance Act which is the primary piece of law governing car accidents.  Another name for AB insurance is “no fault” insurance. People call it no fault insurance because everyone is covered by it, even:


  1. Pedestrian
  2. Uninsured person
  3. Cyclist
  4. Passengers
  5. An at fault or negligent driver
  6. Visitors to Ontario


The standard AB coverage includes a policy which is written by the Government and which all auto insurers in Ontario must offer. For many other types of insurance you get to choose what you are covered by, but for AB every insurer must offer the same level of base coverage.


However for most people, this base coverage ends up not being enough, but unfortunately people don’t figure that out until after an accident.


How much Accident Benefits Car Insurance is Enough?


The first thing each person should do is call or email their car insurer and ask for a list of their current coverage, a list of the available maximum coverage and optional coverages, and then a price list of what it costs to get the maximum.


Most people will be astonished at how underinsured they are (not enough insurance), and how cheap it is to get their insurance increased.


A perfect example is the IRB (income replacement benefit). The standard IRB everyone has on their policy is $400/week. This is $20,8000 for a year. Can your family live on that?  IRBs can be increased to $600, $800, or $1,000/week. For most people it will cost less than $250/year to increase from $400 to $1,000/week. This makes a HUGE difference after a car accident.


The same is true for other coverages such as Medical Rehabilitation care. A person who suffers a concussion or a fractured femur for example will be given $65,000 in medical coverage for 5 years after their accident. What happens if you spend all of the $65,000 or if you need treatment after 5 years?  You have $0 left. Nothing.  However, for very little money you can increase your coverage to $1,000,000 (one million dollars!) and for LIFE.  I have seen many clients who would have benefited greatly from these increases, and sadly very few who had them on their policies.


There are other optional benefits such as housekeeping, attendant care, caregiver, and indexation.  Ask your broker. Protect yourself and your family before an accident.


A full overview of the Optional Accident Benefits available can be found here: https://www.fsco.gov.on.ca/en/auto/brochures/pages/brochure_autoins.aspx


About the Author

Warren Whiteknight_headshot_Personal Injury LawyerWarren WhiteKnight is a Lawyer and Partner at Bergeron Clifford LLP. He is based in the firm’s Kingston office but travels throughout Eastern Ontario each week as clients’ needs require. He holds a Certified Civil Litigation Specialist designation by Law Society of Ontario.

Warren is a Queen’s Law graduate where he achieved top 10% standing all three years, and received numerous course prizes and scholarships. He has been the Past President of the Frontenac Law Association.

Warren regularly represents his clients in court and tribunal proceedings and has an excellent track record of achieving results both in court and in out of court settlements.

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