*This is a cross post from my professional life as a personal injury lawyer
The foremost question in most customers’ minds when buying car insurance is “how much will it cost?” Of course, that is an important question, but it is not the only important question.
The standard auto policy now provides for only $3,500 for medical treatment for what are considered “minor” injuries. The amounts available for serious and even catastrophic injuries under a standard automobile policy have recently been halved by the government and insurance companies.
There are a number of other changes made to the basic automobile insurance policy that have significantly reduced the benefits available to accident victims, including some benefits which have been removed from the basic package altogether. The definition of a catastrophic injury has been changed so that fewer injuries will qualify and it will take longer to do so.
In the past an accident victim who spent over a week in a coma would have been immediately deemed catastrophically impaired and granted access to enhanced benefits. In its wisdom, the current government has changed the rules so that not even spending time in a coma entitles an accident victim to immediate access to enhanced benefits as this story in the Hamilton Spectator reveals.
Optional benefits that increase the amounts available for medical treatment and attendant care, and that provide for housekeeping and home maintenance as well as care giving are available, but many consumers are not even told about these options when buying insurance.
Protect yourself and ask your broker about optional benefits!
The lesson to consumers is to consider more than just the price of automobile insurance. Tell the broker your situation. Ask questions to ensure that the auto policy you are buying is right for you and your family. The lesson for insurance agents and brokers is that merely mentioning optional benefits without explaining them may leave you liable if your customer is without sufficient coverage following an accident. It is for the broker or agent to be sure that the client understands the coverage that they are turning down and its application to their life circumstances.