OUT OF PROVINCE MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENTS – AM I COVERED?

Posted November 7, 2013

One of the biggest concerns for Ontario motorist travelling outside of Ontario, is the question of whether there will be insurance to cover their claims should they become involved in an accident in another Province or the United States.

This is a significant concern, because most states in the USA do not require motorists to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, unlike Ontario which requires motorists to carry a minimum of $200,000.00 of liability coverage. The effect is that many motorists in the USA ride around with little or no insurance coverage whatsoever.

If you are operating a motor vehicle outside of Ontario, you are covered as long as you have insurance coverage on your own vehicle. The standard Ontario motor vehicle policy contains several important safeguards in the event of a motor vehicle operator or passenger being injured outside of Ontario.

Firstly, the Standard Ontario Motor Vehicle Policy includes a fixed collection of “accident benefits”, also known as “no-fault benefits” which are available to the insured Ontario motorist, whether the accident occurs in Ontario, another province of Canada, in the United States of America, or on a vessel plying between ports of Canada or the USA. These benefits include:

  1. Income replacement benefits, non-earner or caregiver benefits
  2. Medical/rehabilitation benefits
  3. Attendant Care Benefits
  4. Lost Educational Benefits
  5. Death and Funeral Benefits
  6. Expenses of Visitors
  7. Reimbursement for damaged clothing, glasses and medical devices
  8. Depending on the severity of the injury, potential benefits for housekeeping and home maintenance expenses.

What this means is that an Ontario motorist has recourse to their own policy of insurance to cover these types of expenses following an accident outside of Ontario, irrespective of who is at fault for the accident.  In certain cases, if the Ontario motorist has purchased the “optional” enhanced accident benefit coverage, more funds may be available under this accident benefit coverage.

The second major protection contained in all Ontario motor vehicle policies is the “Uninsured Automobile Coverage”. This coverage protects the injured Ontario motorist, up to the limits of their own insurance policy liability coverage, in the event that the accident is caused by a motorist without any insurance.

The final protection which is often included in Ontario motor vehicle policies (the premium is very low and is therefore included in most policies) is the Family Protection Endorsement. This coverage provides the insured Ontario motorist and certain family members who may be injured in an accident outside of Ontario, with coverage up to their own liability insurance limits, in the event that the driver causing the accident does not have sufficient insurance to cover the claims of the injured Ontario motorist or their injured family members.

It is therefore readily apparent why it is important to have sufficient liability coverage on your own car, not only to protect yourself against claims of others who may be injured through an accident you cause, but also to protect yourself, should you become injured through the negligence of a driver who has insufficient or no insurance coverage to cover your claims.

If you have a valid comprehensive motor vehicle policy on your Ontario motor vehicle, with sufficient insurance limits, you can drive anywhere in Canada or the USA with confidence that there will be some degree of insurance to cover your injuries, should you become involved in an accident outside of Ontario.

View PDF version: Accident Benefit Reporter | Volume 14, Issue 2 | November 2013

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