New insurance rules: ‘pay more, get less’
Standard policy cuts medical, rehab benefits in half
THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO (Aug 23, 2010)
Millions of Ontario drivers will face an array of new choices when they renew their auto insurance policies because of new rules that kick in Sept. 1, but critics say the changes introduced by the Liberal government won’t benefit consumers.
One key difference in the new standard auto insurance policy will be a 50 per cent cut in medical and rehabilitation benefits, from $100,000 to $50,000, and a corresponding drop in attendant care benefits, from $72,000 to $36,000.
Income replacement coverage will fall from 80 to 70 per cent of gross income, to a maximum of $400 a week. Housekeeping expenses and caregiver benefits currently available to all accident victims will be only for those with catastrophic injuries.
However, consumers will be able to purchase additional levels of coverage in the same way they’ve been able to pay higher premiums to lower deductible levels.
Giving consumers a choice is always the best way to go, especially if it can keep premiums down, said Finance Minister Dwight Duncan.
“This will enable people to decide what’s in their best interests, what they want to pay, and I just think choice is a good thing whenever you’re shopping,” he said.
Queen’s University law professor Erik Knutsen, who specializes in insurance law, said the changes will make a bad system even worse by making it far too complex.
“No regular person can sort out what their coverage is,” he said. “And more importantly, what it means to them.”