Update May 2019
One of the biggest concerns for Ontario motorists travelling outside Ontario is whether their insurance will cover their claims should they become involved in out of province motor vehicle accidents. This is a significant concern. Unlike Ontario which requires motorists to carry a minimum of $200,000.00 of liability coverage, in the USA most states do not require motorists to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. The effect is that many motorists in the USA have little or no insurance coverage.
Are You Insured in Ontario?
Fortunately, if you are operating a motor vehicle outside of Ontario, you are covered as long as you have Ontario car insurance or if you are considered to be an “insured person” under some family members’ Ontario automobile policy. 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.
No-fault Benefits for Out of Province Motor Vehicle Accidents
The Standard Ontario Motor Vehicle Policy includes a fixed collection of “accident benefits”, also known as “no-fault benefits”. These are available to the insured Ontario motorist, whether the accident occurs in Ontario, another province, in the USA, or on a vessel plying between ports of Canada or the USA. These benefits include:
- Income Replacement Benefits, Non-Earner or Caregiver Benefits
- Medical/Rehabilitation Benefits
- Attendant Care Benefits
- Lost Educational Benefits
- Death and Funeral Benefits
- Expenses of Visitors
- Reimbursement for damaged clothing, glasses and medical devices
- Depending on the severity of the injury, potential benefits for housekeeping and home maintenance expenses.
The effect is that Ontario motorists have recourse through their own policy to cover these types of expenses following out of province motor vehicle accidents, 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.
You’re Covered Even if the Other Driver is Uninsured
The second major protection contained in all Ontario motor vehicle policies is the “Uninsured Automobile Coverage”. This protects the injured Ontario motorist, up to the limits of their own insurance policy liability coverage, in the event that out of province motor vehicle accidents are caused by a motorist without any insurance.
Consider the Family Protection Endorsement
Finally, protection for loved ones is often included in Ontario motor vehicle policies through the Family Protection Endorsement (the premium is very low and is therefore included in most policies). This endorsement provides certain family members who may be injured in an accident, 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.
You should ensure that you 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 and your family, should you become injured through the negligence of a driver who has insufficient or no insurance coverage to cover your claims.
The good news is that 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 out of province motor vehicle accidents.
Leonard Kunka is a partner and personal injury lawyer at Thomson Rogers whose practice is focused on advocating for those who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents. View his full bio here.