Our Ottawa accident lawyers are no big fans of insurance companies. We spend a lot of energy “fighting” them to ensure our clients recover all they are entitled to. However, for the most part, our personal injury clients are the lucky ones. They have access to insurance to help them deal with what life delivers. As you consider your loved ones on Valentines Day, consider whether you have adequetely provided for them if tragedy strikes.
Do you have adequate car insurance?
If at all possible, we recommend purchasing a minimum $2 Million liability policy. Most Ontarians have only $1 Million. The legal minimum is only $200,000. Why?
First, if you are responsible for a motor vehicle accident that causes injuries to someone else and you do not have enough insurance, any shortfall may come from your personal assets. For example, assume someone is injured in an accident you caused and their damages are $1.5 Million. If you only have $1 Million in insurance, that $500,000 may come from your assets. That includes your home or your RRSPs. Buying adequate insurance is a way to protect your assets. Note: if a person suffers a head injury or a spinal cord injury, the damages could easily exceed $1 Million. Damages for a quadriplegic or paraplegic could be much, much higher.
Second, your policy should also include the Family Protection Endorsement, which may be identified on your policy as 44R. Double check to make sure you have this endorsement. Most Ontarians do, but it is always a good idea to be sure. This endorsement protects you and your family in the event that you are in an accident and the person who caused the accident has inadequate insurance. For example, many US states have much lower minimum liability limits that we do in Canada. If your family member is injured by a driver from the States who only has $200,000 in insurance, your own Family Protection Endorsement will kick in up to YOUR limits. So, if you have a $2 Million policy, and you damages are that high, you will be fully covered even though the person who hit you was inadequately insured.
Do You Have Adequate Disability Insurance ?
What if you are in a serious accident or develop a serious illness and become disabled? Who will provide for your family? Many employers provide disability insurance. However, is it at a high enough rate to fulfill your family’s needs if you are no longer earning an income?
If you are self-employed, it is vital that you purchase disability insurance to provide for your family if you are no longer able to contribute to your family’s income.
Do not rely on government programs like CPP or ODSP to provide for you. These programs are useful top ups but will not enable your family to maintain its lifestyle.
As a Valentine’s gift to your family, talk to a licensed insurance broker to review your disability insurance needs.