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Statutory accident benefits coverage in Canada

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What is statutory accident benefits coverage?

Matt Hands

Statutory accident benefits is a type of car insurance coverage that provides compensation if you, your passenger, or a pedestrian/cyclist suffers an injury as a result of a car accident, regardless of who was at fault. It helps to pay for various medical costs, rehabilitation, income replacement, attendant care and even funeral expenses. 

The Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (SABS), is a mandatory requirement on all auto insurance policies across Canada (except Newfoundland and Labrador), with provincial variations on types and of compensation and their scheduled amounts payable. Accident benefits are sometimes called “Section B” benefits depending on where you live.

How does accident benefits coverage work

By default, accident benefits and third-party liability are often set to $1,000,000, which seems like plenty, but it's possible it may run out. As an example, an Ontario car insurance policy would only provide $400/week for income replacement by default. You can increase your accident benefit default coverage limits for a few hundred dollars a year, which could mean the difference between paying for your living expenses or not. 

Accident benefit payouts are the costliest of any submitted claim including third-party liability, DCPD, and collision insurance. Which is why accident benefits coverage accounts for the most expensive part of the car insurance policy rate calculation.

What does statutory accident benefits cover?

Across Canada, all provinces and territories have slight variations on the amount of compensation available, but generally agree on their definitions. Let’s start by covering a few basic forms of accident benefits coverage.

Income replacement

Replaces lost income as a result of not being able to work. Typically, nothing is payable for the first seven days of disability.

Non-earner benefits

If your injuries prevent you from carrying on a normal life (disablement), and you don’t qualify for income replacement or caregiver benefits (unemployed or student) at time of accident, you may be eligible for non-earner benefits 

Caregiver benefits

If you can no longer provide full-time care to a dependant, such as a child or ageing parent, and your injuries are deemed catastrophic, you may qualify for caregiver benefits to cover the expenses of hiring someone to take over for you. Not available if you receive income or non-earner benefit.

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Provincial statutory accident benefits differences

Every province offers accident benefits and each one decides on the limits of compensation. Below we break down each province and give you a high level overview of how you’re covered, as well as provide a link to where you can get even more detail from the provincial authorities. 

Alberta


BC


Manitoba


New Brunswick


Newfoundland & Labrador


Northwest Territories


Nova Scotia


Nunavut


Ontario


Prince Edward Island


Quebec


Saskatchewan


Yukon


How to file an accident benefits insurance claim

If your involved in a car accident, gather all essential information - driver’s names, licence numbers, license plates, insurance companies, and policy numbers, and your own description of the accident. Then, once everyone is safe and police reports are filed, call your insurance company to begin the claims process. 

Once your claim is reported, an insurance claims adjuster will either phone or meet with you in person. They’ll explain the various coverages and help guide you through the claims process. If you’re confused at all, ask for an explanation, they are there to help you. 

If you’ve been injured in a claim, you’ll need to file forms that your claims adjuster will provide to you with an Accident Benefits Application Package that includes 5 forms.

Here are Ontario’s Claim forms (OCF) as an example:

If you want a quick and seamless process fill out each form clearly, double check your work, and make sure you sign and date the forms. And if you’re working with anyone else that will need to submit the forms, ask them to fill in their portion and submit as quickly as possible. 

Once your auto insurance company has all the required forms, reviewed the details, they’ll inform you in writing what you can expect to receive. If you’re not happy, call your  claims adjuster. If you’re still not happy, there are options to dispute. 

In Ontario, it’s the License Appeal Tribunal (LAT), you can read more about that process on our blog: Accident benefits at the license appeal tribunal.

Are you getting the best accident benefits protection?

Compare car insurance quotes online today to see if you're getting the best coverage for your personal needs. Make sure you have the accident benefits protection you need.

Frequently asked questions about accident benefits

Who is eligible for accident benefits?


Who is not eligible for accident benefits?


How do you qualify for accident benefits coverage?


What happens if you run out of accident benefits?


What happens if the other driver is not insured?


Can you sue for pain and suffering?


Matt Hands, Business Director of Insurance

With 6+ years of experience at Ratehub.ca, Matt’s focus has been on growing its newest business unit, Insurance. He is a thought leader and a valuable resource to respected publications across Canada. read more

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