52 years ago ·
Less than 3% of SME’s have cyber insurance
Businesses are now more reliant than ever on technology to operate, whether they are using remote networks for remote-working, paying suppliers by wire transfer, or storing sensitive data online.
At the same time, two-thirds of small-to-medium-sized businesses in Canada have not been able to spend on technology infrastructure, leaving them even more vulnerable to cyber attacks.
And finally, the number of cybersecurity incidents reported in Canada and across the globe has continued to grow at an alarming pace.
Buying a standalone cyber policy is a smart decision for your business, now more than ever. Here are additional reasons why:
The average cost of data breaches in Canada rose 6.7% in 2020
You get cybersecurity tools and support
For most small-to-medium sized businesses, having a robust in-house IT security team isn’t always possible, or even necessary. But this can leave you without a place to turn in the event that the worst does happen. Cyber insurance is a highly cost-effective way to gain access to the support you need in order to both prevent and respond to cyber events. Most cyber policies come with a number of proactive risk management tools, such as employee cybersecurity training programs. A good policy will also give you access to IT experts, forensic specialists, PR firms, lawyers, and more, and often with a nil deductible
Over half of all cyberattacks are aimed at small-to-medium sized businesses
While the headlines focus on major security breaches at major companies, over half of all cyber attacks are aimed at small businesses, they just don’t make it to the news. What you don’t often hear about is the local law firm that mistakenly transfers $100,000 to a fraudster after being duped by a social engineering scam or the doctor’s office unable to use their computer systems for days because of a destructive malware attack. Cybercriminals see smaller organizations as low hanging fruit because they often lack the resources necessary to invest in IT security or provide cybersecurity training for their staff, making them an easier target
Your employees will probably click on something they shouldn’t
The fact remains that humans are the weakest link in the cybersecurity chain no matter how hard we try – approximately three quarters of the cyber claims involve some kind of easily-preventable human error. Theft of funds, ransomware, extortion and non-malicious data breaches usually start with a human error or oversight such as clicking on a phishing link, which then allows cybercriminals to access your systems from the inside.
You aren’t covered under other lines of insurance
Property policies were designed to cover your bricks and mortar, not your digital assets; crime policies rarely cover social engineering scams – a huge source of financial losses for businesses of all sizes. Professional liability policies generally don’t cover the first party costs associated with responding to a cyber event. A good standalone cyber policy is designed to cover the gaps left by traditional insurance policies, and importantly, comes with access to expert cyber claims handlers who are trained to get your business back on track with minimum disruption and financial impact
Cyber insurance covers far more than just data privacy
Many businesses think that cyber insurance won’t be useful to them because they don’t collect sensitive data. However, more than 50% of cyber claims come from events unrelated to breaches of privacy, and any business that uses technology to operate is vulnerable. Two of the most common sources of cyber claims aren’t related to privacy – funds transfer fraud is often carried out by criminals using fraudulent emails to divert the transfer of funds from a legitimate account to their own, while ransomware can cripple any organization by freezing or damaging business-critical computer systems.
Cyber insurance pays more claims than any other type of insurance
CFC has paid more than 1,500 cyber claims in the last 12 months, a number that eclipses previous years and is steadily growing, and the vast majority of these are from small and medium sized business. In fact, it was recently revealed that 99% of cyber insurance claims were paid in 2018, which means cyber has one of the highest claims acceptance rates across all insurance products.**
Information like this shows that cyber policies are doing what they set out to do, which is provide broad coverage for a range of technology and privacy-related risks affecting modern businesses, all backed up by proactive risk management and expert incident response and claims handling.
Source: CFC Underwriting
What All Cyber Criminals Know:
Small & Midsize Businesses With Little or No Cybersecurity Are Ideal Targets
- More than half of all cyberattacks are directed at SMEs, and that number is steadily increasing.
- 93 percent of small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) that have experienced a cyber incident reported a severe impact to their business.
- Almost all reported a loss of money and savings.
- 31% reported damage to their reputation, leading to a loss of clients, as well as difficulty attracting new employees and winning new business.
- Nearly half reported an interruption in service that damaged their ability to operate.
- In spite of these figures, less than 3 percent have cyber insurance.
52 years ago ·
Make a resolution to review your insurance policies and coverage!
Has Covid changed your habits?
Many people significantly changed their lifestyle this year and these changes should be reviewed with your broker.
- For example, many people have had their driving habits go from what at first thought of as on a “temporary basis” to a more permanent basis moving forward. Some no longer use their autos to commute at all.
- You may now have a permanent office at home and may now have clients coming to visit you at the house.
- Do you have business contents and equipment at home that may need to be properly insured?
An updated review with your broker can make certain that any new arrangements are properly updated and noted with their insurer to avoid any potential surprises down the line.
- Update Your Home Inventory
Part of your renters or homeowners insurance is designed to cover your personal possessions if you face a covered loss — but only up to your policy limits. That’s why it’s important to maintain a current record of all your belongings. Did you receive some expensive gifts this year, such as jewelry or art? Or maybe you finally invested in that big-screen TV. Now is the perfect time to reassess all your belongings and update your home inventory so your coverage limits meet your needs. Most basic home insurance policies have standard limits for big-ticket items like electronics, art, jewelry or sporting equipment. You may need special coverage, so call your broker to discuss changes for your policy.
- Evaluate Your Homeowners Insurance
Maybe your resolution last year was to renovate your kitchen, or perhaps you finally finished your basement. A finished basement may not only increase the cost to rebuild your home, but it may also require additional coverage to protect items from water damage. Hot tubs, swimming pools, trampolines — all fun additions to make, but additional liability also comes with the territory. All of these updates would affect how much your home is worth, so check in with your broker to see if you should increase your coverages.
- Consider Umbrella Insurance
Think of umbrella insurance as an extra layer of protection for your home, auto and other primary liability coverages. An umbrella policy offers coverage for those unexpected instances where your primary coverage exceeds its limit. You might consider a personal liability umbrella policy if you:
- Drive a car or participate in carpools
- Have dogs
- Own or use a boat, ATV, snowmobile or other recreational vehicle
- Have a swimming pool or trampoline
- Own a rental property
- Coach youth sport teams
- Does your policy provide enough coverage for landscaping or outdoor appliances?
Installing a new sprinkler system, a larger storage shed, a new pool or hot tub, or buying a substantial backyard grill or riding mower are outdoor changes that may require a homeowner’s policy upgrade. Updating landscaping and purchasing new lawn equipment or outbuildings can be significant investments that should prompt a coverage review.
- Do you qualify for discounts?
An annual insurance review can also be an important opportunity to ensure you are receiving all possible discounts on your homeowners policy. For example, you may qualify for a discount if you have installed a security system, a smoke alarm or a hail-resistant roof. Additional discounts may apply if you insure both your car and home with the same insurer, if you don’t have any claims, or if no one in your household is a smoker.
Have you had any changes to your driving habits? If so, let us know to ensure your auto policy will cover you in case of an accident. Also take some time to check your auto insurance policy by following the guidelines below:
- Are my auto insurance coverage limits enough?
One of the biggest mistakes someone can make when it comes to car insurance is being underinsured. Liability is the part of the policy that pays for any injury or damage if you cause an accident. If your liability insurance is too low, it is possible that you could be sued for any damages above your liability limits.
- Am I covered if a driver hits me and they don’t have car insurance?
Look for uninsured motorist coverage on your policy or coverage summary. This type of coverage helps protect you financially in the event you’re in an accident caused by a driver who doesn’t have car insurance. It’ll even protect you if you’re the victim of a hit-and-run or if you’re hit as a pedestrian.
- Review your deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverage.
This is the amount you will pay if your car is damaged or totaled without fault of another driver. Raising or lowering this amount can affect your premium.
An annual insurance review is something that can go a long way to protecting what is likely your biggest investment. We can help make sure this is a New Year’s resolution you actually cross off your list.
52 years ago ·
The closure of manufacturing plants, restaurants, retail establishments and other places of business to limit the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in significant business interruption losses. Here are some ways to mitigate those interruptions whenever possible:
- Check Insurance Policies
- Have an Emergency Response Plan
- Protect Idle Property
- Implement Cybersecurity Measures
1. Insurance policies
Checking your insurance coverage should be priority number one. The most relevant policies to check for during the coronavirus include:
- Business interruption coverage – to manage against unforeseen effects on your business.
- Portable equipment coverage – for any items your employees need to take home to work.
- Contents insurance – while the office is empty, there’s a higher security risk and potential for burglaries.
- Credit insurance – although less common these days, it helps protect against the eventuality that customers who owe money for products or services do not pay their debts, or who pay them later than agreed.
2. Emergency response plan
Emergency response or contingency plans are key to reducing your exposure to a liability or property claim during a pandemic. If you have an emergency response plan and a business continuity plan, there may be simple changes you can make to reflect recommendations on how your business can respond to COVID-19.
We recommend that you review two specific sections of your emergency plan: your company’s approach to cybersecurity and the steps you have in place to protect your property.
If you don’t already have a plan in place, here are some resources you can consult for guidance:
In general, a strong emergency response plan will
- Identify and analyze possible exposures to risk, including how a pandemic or any other major adverse situation could impact your business.
- Document a response procedure to manage these risks that reflects international, national and regional standards.
How can I make sure my business property is protected?
When commercial properties are left idle, they face a different set of exposures different to when the business is operating normally. There are many things that business owners and site managers can do to keep their properties safe and secure during the COVID-19 shutdown.
- First, inform your insurance broker of the situation. Your broker can provide guidelines in order to safeguard your property (for more information, see our safety tips on theft, vacant and idle properties).
- Consult a specialist before shutting down production or support equipment to make sure that the proper steps are taken.
- Continue preventive maintenance activities for your building and its components according to schedule. If access to your facility is restricted, only continue urgent repairs.
- Ensure mechanical components, such as elevators, receive essential servicing by monitoring them remotely or conducting periodic on-site assessments. This will help reduce the possibility of a loss of essential equipment following a prolonged period of inactivity.
- Monitor fire protection and burglary alarm notification systems. If these systems are not available, you may want to consider periodic on-site assessments.
- Ensure that all maintenance and service elements are taken care of so that the property is prepared for an extended shutdown. For example, set the temperature in the building to around 15C as this helps to prevent sprinkler systems and water pipes from freezing and bursting.
- If a property is vacated, or even just looks empty, it immediately becomes an easier target for vandals and thieves. To mitigate these risks, schedule regular visits and visual check-ups of the site whenever possible.
- Ensure that security devices, like locks and alarms, are operational, and those with human security patrols can up the frequency of visits to the property.
- Maintain appropriate lighting around the facility and especially around all entrances because it gives the impression somebody is overseeing the facility even if it’s closed.
- Conduct regular checks of their roofs, their downspouts, and any outdoor drains to ensure everything is properly maintained.
- Inform your business partners and clients of your decisions.
How can I prevent cargo losses?
The pandemic has disrupted the global supply chain. As a result, is has created a situation where cargo is being stored for long periods of time in unattended or improvised storage areas and increasing the likelihood of theft or vandalism.
To help you mitigate losses, we recommend the following control measures:
- Ensure the storage yard is fully secured using chain link fence and adequate lightning.
- Monitor site access at all times.
- Establish and implement a policy requiring permission for vehicle to leave the site.
- Limit access to the shipping paperwork.
More information: Preventing cargo losses
How can I protect my business and my employees working from home?
Because of the COVID-19, many businesses have employees working from home – some for the first time. Here are some tips to ensure that your business operations remain secure while your team works remotely.
- Keep up-to-date contact information (including personal and professional phone numbers and emails) for staff, partners, suppliers and the IT team responsible for your online properties.
- Identify the essential operations and services you want to keep running. For example, if you offer an online consulting service, what would you need to maintain a certain level of service with your team working from home? Consider key employees, computer and internet connectivity, phone lines, software, database accessibility, etc.
- For employees who work from home, assess their access needs on a case-by-case basis:
- Work with your IT professionals to secure who can access your network and encrypt confidential information
- Ask your employees to avoid working from unsecured public networks or enable a VPN option for remote network connection to avoid man-in-the-middle attacks
- Enforce a strong password policy and set an automatic inactivity logout
- Ensure endpoint protection for all devices (by installing firewalls, antivirus and security information, and event management (SIEM) software, and disabling USB ports, etc.)
- Provide cybersecurity training to all personnel and reinforce best practices often
- Back up data daily and create a physical backup if the information needs to be quickly retrieved and restored.
- Remind employees that they should not leave these laptops or other company material in the car or anywhere else that would increase the risk of theft.
- Ensure confidential data and intellectual property are adequately protected by different layers of security—this is not the time for a data breach.
What is phishing and how can I prevent it?
You should also remind your employees to be aware of phishing or fraudulent attempts to gain personal information by phone or email. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Do not click on any suspicious email attachments or give information to anyone. Common phishing emails often:
- Evoke a sense of urgency to act now
- Ask for sensitive information
- Request that you click on a link
- Come in the form of unexpected emails
- Include multiple people on the sender list
- Contain grammatical errors
- Have an uncommon file type or include suspicious attachments
Employees working from home should also be wary of unsolicited calls. If they didn’t initiate the call, they shouldn’t provide or confirm any information, including business addresses or phone numbers, account numbers, or any information about equipment in the office (such as the make or model of the printer, laptop, etc.).
If you’d like more information, check out the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and Get Cyber Safe.
Source: Intact Insurance
52 years ago ·
The surge in people working from home has brought an increase in home cooking fires – Ontario alone saw a 65% increase in fatal home fires since January compared to this time frame in 2019. Similar increases are being seen across the country and the numbers are alarming. This applies not just to single-family homes, but also to condominium buildings and multi-tenant buildings.
“You are seeing a spike in residential fires in condos and rental units because people are at home more and cooking more,” said Jeff McCann, CEO of Apollo Insurance Solutions Ltd., in a recent interview with Canadian Underwriter.
Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic this past March by the World Health Organization, millions of Canadians who normally work from their office have been working from home.
Some get distracted when they are trying to cook, said Michele Farley, president of FCS Fire Consulting Services Ltd. “Some people are putting cardboard in ovens and putting items such as metal in the microwave oven that should not be there. One fire department has advised consumers to take their pizza out of the box before heating it.”
At a time like this, it is critical to share fire safety reminders:
- Ensure all occupants know what to do in case of emergency;
- Have a plan to escape from a fire and a pre-arranged meeting place outside;
- Always be alert when cooking;
- Only smoke outdoors; and
- Always use a safe method of extinguishing cigarette butts – such as putting them in an ashtray and not discarding cigarette buts in a planter.
About 4.7 million Canadians who do not usually work from home did so during the week of March 22 to 28, Statistics Canada reported earlier. When those who usually work from home were included in the statistics, 39.1% of the labour force, which is 6.8 million Canadians, worked from home that week.
Learn more about how to how to prevent and be prepared for a house fire.
Source: Canadian Underwriter
52 years ago ·
Have ever asked yourself “Why are my insurance rates going up even if I haven’t made a claim?”
We’ve teamed up with the Broady Windsor Group to help explain.
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What is insurance?
Insurance is simply a pooling if funds, made available to the contributors of that fund, should they ever need. In a nutshell, we throw our premium into a pot. Now, there are, of course, rules to claiming. If you claim you are a homeowner, yet you have a hydraulic lift in your garage and do mechanics on the side, you are going to have a problem. True story.
Insurance, by definition, is really the business of risk. The industry is very comfortable with volatility, obviously, but the game really is pricing for risk.
Think about the price your son pays for his auto policy vs the price your daughter would pay if all of the variables are the same. Same car, same age, same driving history. Your son is going to pay more. The probability of him having a claim vs she is greater. Thus the pricing for risk.
So, this concept of risk is broken down into pools. For instance:
- Commercial business is a pool of risk
- Fire is a pool of risk
- Climate is a pool of risk
- Cyber is a pool of risk
- Inflation and liability are huge pools of risk
The trick is to price each pool accordingly. In some instances, despite all effort, the pool cannot be priced. Capital cannot be deployed where the probability of loss is excessively high, such as an annual flood.
Your insurance company goes out and purchases reinsurance from a re-insurer. In this way, there is a pooling of the risk on the insurer side thus no single insurer, just like no single homeowner, gets stuck holding the bag in the event of a catastrophic loss. (As an aside, in Canada we have very rigorous regulation and the property and causality market is very strong).
The insurance industry’s number one challenge, globally, is the changing pattern of climate or weather.
The flux that we are seeing in the global market reminds me very much of the flux which followed the tragedy of 9/11. Underwriters and actuaries across the plant were faced with the question, how do we underwrite, price the risk, of something we could never imagine? Australia? The melting ice cap?
A similar situation is upon us. How do we underwrite a once in a hundred-year occurrence, which happened twice in three years? Considerable resources are being deployed into trying to figure out how to manage the risk of water. We hear much of wild fires, wind, snow and drought. All of this has rocked the foundations and the bottom line, which, of course trickles down to all we purchasers.
What we know, is the frequency and severity of weather-related catastrophes have increased by a factor of 4 or 5 over the last 30 years. Think about that for a second. 20 years ago there was one water related coverage to purchase should you be inclined, it was called sewer back up coverage. $25 bought you $25,000 of coverage in the event that a sewer backed up.
Today, we often see the price of water related coverages greater than the price to insure your home should it burn down. Back to pricing and risk.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the catastrophic events, insured damage from flood, rain, snow and wind as per the insurance bureau of Canada.
In 2019 the cat losses totaled 1.3 billion dollars. As with 2018, which saw cat losses at 1.9 billion, there was no single event in 2019, yet a host of smaller, severe events coat to coast.
- $250 million on Halloween 2019 hitting Quebec and Ontario ( who remembers the ‘let’s cancel Halloween idea?’). Montreal and Niagara’s were hardest hit in terms of wind and water.
- $208 million in flooding damage in Quebec and New Brunswick During April and May as high water levels on the Ottawa and St. John rivers breeched. As an aside, 6000 homes were effected in Quebec.
- $181 million during 2 hail storms in western Canada during July and August.
- $114 million during 2 winter storms in the GTA and eastern Canada.
- $105 million resulting from hurricane Dorian in Atlantic Canada which saw 155km/ hour winds in Halifax.
And these are just the losses which cracked the $100 million line. There were a host of events. We won’t even go to the Fort McMurry fire of 2016, the costliest disaster in Canadian history at $10 billion.
And these are only the Canadian events, globally the insured losses from catastrophes reached $86US BILLION IN 2018 and $53US BILLION LAST YEAR…so yeah, pooling makes sense and allows local markets to provide the ‘availability ‘at a reasonable cost.
Who do you think is paying for this? Back to the pooling of funds designed to pay claims.
As the pool required to pay for these events continues to increase, thereby does your insurance rates.
52 years ago ·
Have you noticed your premiums/rates increasing? But why is that? You haven’t had a claim? You haven’t done anything differently since last year, but it still seems to be happening?
These changes are being driven by the new ‘hard market’, characterized by a high demand for coverage and a reduced supply, which the Canadian insurance industry has been moving towards since 2018.
We want to help you understand this subject. Eyton-Jones Assurance is in a unique position to help you navigate the challenges of a hard market. Our strong relationships with a wide variety of insurance providers gives you more choice when it comes to insurance products, and our brokers can help you find the best rates for your situation.
What is a ‘hard market’?
In the insurance industry, a ‘hard market’ is a time when insurers are paying out more in insurance claims than would be typical, forcing the industry as a whole to raise insurance rates. This is done to ensure they can stay profitable in order to support clients and payout claims going forward. It may also lead to restricted coverage on select policies and more stringent underwriting practices.
The following are some of the factors driving the market and causing the shift into a “hard market”:
- Increased frequency and severity of weather events such as floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes.
- Fraudulent claims – One study showed that almost $250 out of every driver’s auto insurance premiums was going towards paying for the illegal activity of fraudsters.
- Cost of Auto Repairs – Auto repairs are becoming more expensive, for both vehicle owners and insurers, due to the extent of technology installed in newer vehicles.
- High Housing Costs which typically leads to an increase in the size of the insurance claim when something is damaged.
- Distracted Driving – From 2016 to 2018, the number of distracted driving-related accidents across Canada increased by 23%
When this happens, Insurance Companies become choosier with what risks they take. A company that wrote motorcycles last year, may decide that they are no longer comfortable writing this class of risk the next. Where in 2018 we had 20 options, in 2019 there may only be 3 companies writing that business, and with only 3 competitors instead of 20, prices tend to increase.
It also means that risks that are renewed, will renew at higher premiums. When an Insurance Company writes policies for cheap, but then pays out for several claims, they need to recoup their losses in order to maintain afloat in order to continue to pay claims on the risks they remain on. As frustrating as this may seem, it is important so that they don’t go out of business, and clients don’t land up uninsured.
The good news is hard markets don’t tend to last as long as soft markets. While we enjoyed 10+ years of a soft market, the hard market is only expected to last a few years before companies are back to competing for your business.
How we can help in a ‘hard market’
As insurance brokers, Eyton-Jones Assurance is in a unique position to help customers navigate the challenges of a hard market. Here’s how we can help you:
We Offer You More Choice
Our team works hard to build relationships with different providers across the province, so we understand the unique benefits of each provider and the nuances of their various policies. With so many options to choose from, it becomes easier for us to match you with the policy that will provide the best value for your current situation.
We Ensure That You Are Getting The Best Rates
Insurance rates today are based on a larger number of variables than in the past, which means that information has become key. Remember that, as a broker, we work for you — not the insurance providers.
It’s important for you to keep us up to date on your situation – even a small change in your employment, your vehicle, or your living situation may lead to savings in insurance premiums.
If you want to ensure that you are getting the best insurance rates for your situation, talk to one of our brokers today.
52 years ago ·
Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home fires in the United States, resulting in hundreds of deaths, thousands of injuries and millions of dollars in property damage.
Portable electric space heaters can be a convenient source of supplemental heat for your home in cold weather. Unfortunately, they can pose significant fire and electric shock hazards if not used properly. Fire and electrical hazards can be caused by space heaters without adequate safety features, space heaters placed near combustibles, or space heaters that are improperly plugged in.
Safety should always be a top consideration when using space heaters. Here are some tips for keeping your home safe and warm when it’s cold outside:
- TEST: Make sure your space heater has the label showing that it is listed by a recognized testing laboratory.
- READ LABELS: Before using any space heater, read the manufacturer’s instructions and warning labels carefully.
- INSPECT heaters for cracked or broken plugs or loose connections before each use. If frayed, worn or damaged, do not use the heater.
- NEVER LEAVE UNATTENDED: Turn it off when you’re leaving a room or going to sleep, and don’t let pets or children play too close to a space heater.
- FOR HEAT ONLY: Space heaters are only meant to provide supplemental heat and should never be used to warm bedding, cook food, dry clothing or thaw pipes.
- PROPER PLACEMENT of space heaters is critical. Heaters must be kept at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including papers, clothing and rugs. Also, place space heaters on level, flat surfaces. Never place heaters on cabinets, tables, furniture, or carpet, which can overheat and start a fire.
- LOCATION: Locate space heaters out of high traffic areas and doorways where they may pose a tripping hazard.
- NO EXTENSION CORDS: Plug space heaters directly into a wall outlet. Do not use an extension cord or power strip, which could overheat and result in a fire. Do not plug any other electrical devices into the same outlet as the heater.
More Safety tips from CSA International
source: Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI)
52 years ago ·
Homeowners insurance comes with options, and the best way to navigate those options is to know what they are.
Shop around, then enlist help
- Finding the biggest discount isn’t just for cars and airline tickets. “Start by looking to see if there are any companies that offer discounts,” says Cory Gagnon, associate financial adviser, The Beacon Group at Assante Wealth Management Ltd. in Calgary, Canada. “An insurance broker or financial planner can be very helpful in these situations as they have access to databases that allow them to source a wide variety of companies.
- This is where the Eyton-Jones team really shines. Our brokers are pros at saving people money on their rates with many of the top insurance carriers in the country. We’ve been in business for over 60 years and we’re happy to help you benefit from all those years of experience.
Raise your deductible
- As with other forms of insurance, you can save big on your policy if you simply increase your deductible. This can shave a significant amount off of your annual premium, however, if you have a casualty you will be responsible for it until it reaches the higher deductible limit. Thus, you should be able to handle that additional amount before agreeing to the higher deductible. Given that an insurance company may severely penalize customers who file typically goes up when you make a numerous claims, a silver lining of the higher deductible is that you will file fewer claims.
Don’t confuse what you paid for your house with rebuilding costs
- One of the most important things that a homeowner should know is the difference between replacement cost versus actual cash value.
- Replacement Cost will insure you for the cost that it would take to replace your home and all of the other personal property in it.
- Cash Value (ACV) is the actual value of your home and does not take into consideration zoning permits or removal of damaged property and is more often used by investors and not homeowners.
- If, for instance, a laptop you bought for $1,000 is stolen, with replacement cost insurance, you will get $1,000 for a new laptop. With ACV, you’ll get the current market value for the laptop — which will most likely be far less, since it has probably depreciated over time. ACV premiums generally cost less, but you’ll likely pay more out of pocket after a loss.
- The land under your house isn’t at risk from theft, windstorm, fire and the other perils covered in your homeowners policy. So don’t include its value in deciding how much homeowners insurance to buy. If you do, you will pay a higher premium than you should.
Improve your home
- Sometimes little changes and improvements to your home can lead to lower premiums. Some insurance companies offer lower rates for a variety of factors having to do with the structure and build of your home, including the type of wiring, plumbing, and structure material. If you are in an older home, making an investment in upgrades to some of these core elements will make your home safer — for example, less threat of pipe bursts, electrical fires — and thus lower your insurance premiums and saving you money in the long run.
Stay with the same insurer
- Consider buying your homeowners and auto insurance policies from a company that offers both and bundling them together. Some companies offer discounts ranging from 5% to 15% if you buy both types of coverage from them.
- Some companies offer longevity discounts if you’ve been with them for several years. Typical discounts are 5% if you’ve been with the company for three to five years, and 10% for six years or more. If you’re over 55 and retired or disabled, you may qualify for additional discounts.
Improve your home security
- Most providers offer discounts for centrally monitored smoke and fire detectors (those monitoring systems that notify emergency services outside of the home). Companies will vary on the items and the amount of discount they will give for other items like deadbolt locks and security camera systems – we can help you get the most from these discounts.
Understand your policy and it’s limits
- Your home is your biggest investment. Make sure it’s adequately protected from risks you cannot afford to cover yourself. Providers will send several explanatory pages with your policy. Take the time to review these pages and call us if you have any questions or are unclear..
- Check to see what supplemental coverage you may need. This is especially important if you live in an area that experiences severe weather situations, such as tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, sinkholes, wildfires, or floods. Some items like wood privacy fences, pool or patio screen enclosures, and freestanding sheds may not be covered in the event of a loss. If you made substantial improvements or major purchases make sure you have enough coverage to offset replacing those items.
- It makes no sense to buy insurance to protect yourself against risks you are unlikely to encounter. For example, earthquake coverage in a non-earthquake zone, or a jewelry floater to your policy if you don’t own expensive jewelry. However, don’t skimp on coverage that’s essential, such as wind, fire or flood insurance.
Keep Your Information Up-to-Date
- Review your policy and the value of your possessions at least once a year – you want your policy to cover any major purchases or additions to your home. But you don’t want to spend money for coverage you don’t need.
- Life events are another easy way to snag a few additional home insurance discounts. For example, if you’re single and getting married, you could be eligible for a married discount. And, in the unfortunate event of the death of a spouse, a widow/widower is eligible for a discount as well.
- Contact us to discuss any changes in your situation that occurred during the year. Make sure you’re addressing any new insurance needs and removing any coverage that’s no longer necessary.