By Laura Pearce
Our recent blogs have addressed various automobile insurance benefits known as Statutory Accident Benefits. Some of these benefits, often called “SABs” for short, can provide an injured insured person with weekly financial assistance and coverage for expenses related to medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care needs.
SABs are not automatically paid to a person injured in an automobile accident, but if a person is eligible, the benefits can be absolutely crucial to easing the difficult process of recovery.
What if my accident-caused injuries prevent me from cleaning my home, mowing the lawn, or preparing meals for myself and my family?
Housekeeping and home maintenance benefits are a type of SABs that cover reasonable and necessary additional expenses incurred by an injured person who, because of the accident, has a substantial inability to perform certain housekeeping and home maintenance chores that he or she normally performed before the accident.
These benefits help the injured person pay someone else to perform these housekeeping and home maintenance duties.
Who can receive housekeeping and home maintenance benefits and for how long?
Unfortunately, housekeeping and home maintenance benefits can only be paid to persons who have suffered a “catastrophic impairment” as a result of the automobile accident.
The definition of “catastrophic impairment” is complicated. Examples of “catastrophic impairment” are paraplegia; some types of amputation; loss of vision in both eyes; and certain types of brain injury. A description of what qualifies as a “catastrophic impairment” is found at section 3.1 of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule, an Ontario statute that governs eligibility for and payment of SABs.
If a person has not suffered a “catastrophic impairment” but still pays out-of-pocket for housekeeping and home maintenance services after the accident, he or she should keep all receipts. If a personal injury lawsuit has been brought against another driver for causing the accident, those out-of-pocket expenses might be recoverable through the lawsuit.
How much money will an insurance company pay in housekeeping and home maintenance benefits?
The maximum amount that an insurance company will pay in housekeeping and home maintenance benefits is $100.00 per week. The benefit can be paid for life.
“Optional benefits” for housekeeping and home maintenance
You have the option to purchase a housekeeping and home maintenance benefit that will apply even if your accident-caused impairment is not a “catastrophic impairment”. However, the benefit will not be paid for any expenses incurred more than two years after the onset of your disability. Your broker or insurance company can help you purchase this optional benefit.
This article is not a substitute for legal advice. If you have any questions, please contact us at 519-946-4300.