As a driver in Ontario, by law, you must have $200,000 in Third-party liability coverage to protect other people and their property from damage. You also require Accident Benefits for your medical expenses following an accident, but the minimum is $65,000 of coverage.
So, what happens if your level coverage isn’t enough to cover your family for injuries sustained in an accident? You’ll be paying out of pocket. It’s stressful, especially to watch a member of your family suffering in pain because you were in an accident and your insurance wasn’t enough. That’s where family protection coverage comes in.
Family protection coverage is additional insurance you can purchase explicitly designed for such instances. Let’s take a look at how the coverage works and what it offers.
What is family protection coverage?
Family protection coverage, or OPCF44R in Ontario, is additional vehicle insurance that protects both you and eligible family members in the event of injury or death in an accident with an underinsured, uninsured, or unidentified motorist when you are not at fault. The protection covers you up to your maximum liability coverage.
How family protection coverage works
Family protection coverage gives you extra protection for you and your family if the at-fault driver’s insurance isn’t enough.
For instance, if you have an OPCF44R policy for $1 million in liability and are in an accident with a driver who only has the minimum of $200,000, OPCF44R insurance will provide the additional $800,000. Hence, the insurance level matches your coverage.
What happens if you’re in an accident with an uninsured driver?
In Ontario, the minimum amount of uninsured automobile coverage is $200,000. Your family shares this $200,000 following an accident with an unidentified driver.
According to FSRAO, your Ontario automobile insurance states they will only compensate the minimum liability amount, of which 95% can be applied to personal injury while 5% applies to vehicular damage.
If you sustain serious injuries, the amount you receive might not adequately compensate you and your family members. Having OPCF44R insurance provides the additional coverage you might require in such an instance. From our original example, with $1 million in OPCF44R coverage, the other $800,000 would be allocated to you and your family members on a pro-rata basis (distributed in equal portions).
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Why you want to add OPCF44R family protection coverage to your insurance policy
Generally, we don’t like to consider negative possibilities when it comes to our future. Couple this with the fact that understanding vehicle insurance can be confusing, and it’s easy to skip past additional coverage options available to you. But there are a few good reasons why you want to add family protection coverage to your insurance policy.
- OPCF44R covers hit and run accidents: You never want to be in an accident, and the idea of being in an accident with an unidentified driver is even worse. Unless you can identify the driver, you have no recourse, and all the expenses fall to your insurance.Should this scenario arise, and you have family protection coverage, you need not be concerned with the costs of any medical expenses or loss of income you or your family might have. When considering the potential costs associated with recovery (e.g. ability to work, home care), the costs add up quickly, and your minimum coverage can disappear in no time. Having family protection coverage added to your policy can provide the additional coverage you require.
- OPCF44R helps to eliminate possible risks: If you or a family member is involved in a major accident, the cost of medical expenses and loss of wages can be substantial. You don’t want to find yourself not having enough coverage or being in an accident with an individual whose policy won’t cover your expenses. Adding OPCF44R coverage to your vehicle’s insurance policy provides peace of mind should you find yourself in a worst-case scenario.
- OPCF44R doesn’t cost a lot:Compared to other add-on insurance options, family protection coverage is generally inexpensive. While factors such as driving history do affect the price, OPCF44R is one of the more affordable add-ons you can get.
TIP:When considering OPCF44R coverage, be sure to get an amount sufficiently greater than the minimum. For example, if you have $1 million in third-party coverage, consider getting $2 million in family protection coverage. Because the OPCF44R mirrors your third-party coverage, it will only kick in once your third-party coverage is maxed out.
OPCF44R vs. SEF44 family protection endorsement
For car insurance in Alberta or Atlantic Canada, the SEF44, or Standard Endorsement Form 44, family protection endorsement offers the same coverage as OPCF44R. SEF44 is additional coverage that you can choose to add to your policy. It has the same benefit if you or your family are in an accident with an under-insured, uninsured, or unidentified driver.
NOTE: If you live in Nova Scotia, the minimum amount of coverage that every driver must have in Underinsured Driver Coverage is $500,000, not $200,000. With this in mind, it is important to ensure that your SEF44 coverage is high enough to warrant paying the additional premium.
The bottom line
OPCF44R insurance is an inexpensive way to ensure protection for you and your family following a car accident. By offering additional coverage should you be in an accident with an underinsured, uninsured, or unidentified driver, family protection coverage is well-worth adding to your auto insurance policy. If you have a family, call your provider to check that you have this endorsement on your policy. If they want too much, consider shopping for a new car insurance quote to make sure you’re paying the best price.