Spotlight on SABS: Death & Funeral Benefits

Every year, thousands of Ontarians are involved in traffic accidents. In 2020, the latest year for which statistics are available, there were a staggering 23,689 collisions in Ontario. In those collisions, 31, 538 people were injured. Tragically, 535 people lost their lives.

This post is part of our series on Ontario auto insurance benefits. It focuses on what benefits are available when the worst happens: someone dies in (or as a result of) a car accident in Ontario.  Sections 26 & 27 of the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule (also known as SABS) lay out these benefits, which are paid to surviving family members.

What are Death Benefits?

Under the SABS, the death benefit is an amount of money paid to surviving loved ones when someone dies in or as a result of a car crash. It is available regardless of how they were involved in the crash: whether they were driver, passenger, pedestrian, cyclist or involved in some other way, and regardless of fault.

This lump sum benefit is available when the injured person dies within 180 days of the accident. If the person didn’t ever recover and was continuously disabled because of the accident, then the benefit will also be paid if the person dies within 156 weeks (3 years) of the accident.

How Much Do Death Benefits Pay?

There are various amounts depending on the relationship the recipient had to the deceased.

  • A spouse of the deceased will receive $25,000 (you are considered a spouse if you are legally married or in a common-law relationship, which means you have been living together in a conjugal relationship for 3+ years).
  • Dependants of the deceased such as minor children will receive $10,000 each.
  • If the deceased didn’t have a spouse but did have dependents, the dependants split that $25,000 among themselves.
  • If the deceased was a dependant themselves (for instance, a child), then the deceased’s parent or guardian will receive $10,000.
  • Former spouses may also be eligible. If the deceased was obligated to provide maintenance or support under a domestic contract or court order, then that former spouse is entitled to a $10,000 payment.
  • There are also provisions for other circumstances, such as where a person was financially dependent on the deceased.

The amounts listed above are the basic amount in a standard auto insurance policy. Benefits may be higher if optional benefits had been purchased, to a maximum of $50,000 for a spouse, $20,000 for a dependant.

What are Funeral Benefits and How Much do They Pay?

Funeral benefits are there to assist with the costs related to a funeral and burial. This benefit is not a lump sum, it’s reimbursement, so you will need to provide receipts for those funeral-related expenses.  They could include funeral service costs, cremation or burial costs, headstone costs, transportation costs, etc.

Under a standard auto insurance policy, you can claim reimbursement for up to $6000 of funeral-related expenses . If optional benefits had been purchased, the maximum is $8,000.

Help is Here

Losing a spouse, child or parent in a car accident is one of the hardest things anyone can go through. At Van Dyke Law, we make sure that you receive the auto insurance benefits that you’re entitled to, so that financial worry is minimized as much as possible. If you’re having trouble dealing with an auto insurer following a collision or death, please get in touch today. We’re here to help.


This article is part of our series on Ontario no-fault auto insurance benefits. Previous posts cover: