We all know that accidents can happen anytime, and sometimes they are unavoidable. When you’re involved in an accident, it’s essential to understand your rights under the law. Several benefits are available under the provincial statute, known as SABS—”statutory accident benefit.”
They can help you get back on your feet after an accident. In fact, they can help you cover some of the costs associated with your injury.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at statutory accident benefit insurance, what it covers, who is eligible for it, all the different types and more. So, stay tuned and find out.
What Is SABS Insurance?
Statutory Accident Benefit insurance is a no-fault insurance system. It provides benefits to eligible individuals who have sustained injuries in car accidents, regardless of who is at fault. This insurance covers a wide range of benefits, including:
- income replacement
- medical and rehabilitation expenses
- death benefits
- other expenses
The insurance categorizes injuries into three categories:
- minor and governed by the Minor Injury Guideline
- catastrophic injuries
- non-catastrophic injuries (SABS non-catastrophic injuries are defined in section 3.1(1) of the insurance)
While the insured’s own insurance company typically pays for Statutory Accident Benefit, the at-fault driver’s insurance company may pay them in some cases.
Regardless of who pays the benefits, Statutory Accident Benefit insurance provides financial assistance to those who need it following a car accident.
Who Is Eligible For SABS?
If you or a loved one has an accident involving an insured vehicle, you may be eligible for accident benefits. Even if you are the at-fault driver, you may still qualify for benefits.
Moreover, if you are a pedestrian, cyclist, or family member who has been affected by an accident, you may still be eligible.
Who Isn’t Eligible for Statutory Accident Benefits Coverage?
If an illegal act against road safety, such as racing or driving without insurance, leads you to an accident, your insurer may still pay for some accident benefits.
However, they could deny income replacement payments. In addition, your insurance could be cancelled, and it will be challenging to get new insurance.
As a high-risk Canadian driver, you will have to turn to the facility association to help you work with a provider who will insure you, even though it may be costly.
You could also face fines, lose your license, and any convictions may stay on your record for three years. Moreover, accidents may remain on your driving record for six years.
When Did SABS Start?
This mandatory no-fault auto insurance coverage started in Ontario on November 1, 1996. In addition, the Automobile Accident Benefits Service of Ontario administers it.
What is also important to mention is that Ontario’s Government approved this insurance under Bill 59. However, Bill 59 lasted from November 1, 1996, to September 30, 2003. Then, a few changes were implemented by the SABS Bill 198 that was enforced in 2003.
This insurance generally provides basic accident benefits coverage to all Ontarian licensed drivers and passengers, regardless of who is at fault in an accident.
If you suffer injuries when hit by a vehicle as a pedestrian or bicyclist, you will have to file a claim with the insurance company of the car that hit you.
Types of Statutory Accident Benefits
As we already mentioned, these benefits include medical and rehabilitation expenses, income replacement, death and funeral benefits, and other expenses. So, let’s go into more detail.
Income Replacement, Caregiver, and Non-Earner Benefits
If you cannot work because of an auto accident, you may be eligible for weekly income replacement benefits. These benefits are 70% of your gross income, up to $400 per week. Moreover, you can increase this benefit to $1,000 per week by paying an additional premium.
Non-Earner Benefit SABS
Non-earner benefits help people injured in an accident and unable to work or have a normal life. If you do not qualify for income replacement or caregiver benefits, you may be eligible for non-earner benefits of $185 per week.
If you want to qualify, you must show that your injuries prevent you from working or participating in activities you usually enjoy.
Ontario SABS: Caregiver Benefits
If you are catastrophically injured in an accident, you may qualify for caregiver benefits to cover the expenses of hiring someone to care for your dependent children or ageing parents.
Caregiver benefits are not available if you receive income or non-earner benefits. To qualify for caregiver benefits, you must demonstrate that you cannot provide full-time care to your dependents.
Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule: Medical, Rehab, and Attendant Care
The following three benefits have a combined minimum coverage of $65,000 for non-catastrophic injuries and $1 million for catastrophic injuries (loss of limb, quadri/paraplegia).
More specifically, rehabilitation benefits can include:
- home modifications
- academic and life skills training
These services can help people overcome challenges and improve their quality of life.
SABS Attendant Care
Attendant care benefits provide coverage for the costs of long-term care services and transportation. A health care aide or facility typically offers these services.
Many different types of medical benefits are available to people who have been injured. However, in some cases, provincial health plans like OHIP don’t cover these expenses, so it is crucial to have a good medical insurance plan in place.
Depending on the extent of the injuries, if you need to cover expenses like surgery, hospitalization, medication, chiropractic care, physiotherapy, and transportation, SABS can help.
Death and Funeral Benefits
If you die due to an auto accident, your beneficiaries are eligible to receive death benefits. These benefits can include payments of $10,000 to each of your dependents, $25,000 to your spouse, and a maximum of $6,000 for funeral expenses.
Death benefits can help your loved ones cover the costs associated with your passing and provide some financial security during a difficult time.
If you want to learn more, check Car Accident Deaths Canada.
SABS Ontario: Other Expenses
Expenses of Visitors
If you have been in an accident, you may be able to claim the reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by your closest family and friends when they visit you during your treatment or recovery.
This includes your:
- certain other dependants and guardians
- those living with you at the time of the crash
Unless injuries are catastrophic, the SABS schedule insurance covers expenses that can be claimed for up to 104 weeks after the accident.
Lost Educational Expenses
These benefits are for people who have been in an auto accident and can no longer continue their studies due to injuries sustained in the accident.
They include expenses that have been incurred before the accident, such as:
The maximum benefit is $15,000.
SABS: Housekeeping and Home Maintenance Expenses
You may also be covered for housekeeping and home maintenance expenses if you need to hire someone to carry out these responsibilities after you experience some catastrophic injuries in a car crash. However, keep in mind that the benefit is up to $100 per week.
That wraps up our detailed discussion on the statutory accident benefits schedule. All in all, we learned about what it is, when it began, and the different types of benefits available.
Generally speaking, this insurance is a government-regulated program that provides benefits to accident victims, regardless of who is at fault. Let’s remember that thousands of people die and are injured due to accidents every year.
Moreover, this insurance is essential to the Canadian car insurance system.
For over 25 years, people in Canada have enjoyed the SABS. Furthermore, it has undergone several changes to keep up with the changing needs of accident victims.