52 years ago ·
Do Canadians need Earthquake Insurance?
According to the Earthquake Model for Canada, a report produced by AIR Worldwide for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the risk of a major earthquake is considered the highest in Vancouver, Victoria, Montréal, Ottawa and Québec City.
In fact, after Vancouver, Montreal is considered the city with the highest earthquake risk in Canada based on its location in a moderate seismic zone!
Standard Insurance: What is covered?
Earthquakes of magnitude 5 or greater can cause severe damage, so it’s important to properly understand what coverage your home insurance contract entitles you to.
- Homeowners and renters insurance does not cover earthquake damage.
- However, losses from fire and smoke following a quake and, if such a fire makes your home unlivable, the additional living expenses incurred while you live elsewhere during repairs are all covered.
There are many steps you can take to prepare for an earthquake. That said, the only way to financially protect your family and home against earthquake damage is to buy earthquake insurance. Earthquakes and their direct consequences are not covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy, unless sufficient specific coverage is added to it.
What does Earthquake Insurance cover?
- Earthquake insurance covers loss or damage caused by the tremor or shaking from an earthquake.
- If you own a house, your earthquake insurance will typically cover loss or damage to your building and your personal property. It can also cover any additional living expenses you incur if you’re unable to live in your home while it’s being repaired.
- If an earthquake breaks a gas main and starts a fire, the resulting fire damage would likely be covered under a standard home insurance policy. Your coverage will depend on the legislation in your province or territory.
- If you own a condo, your condo (or strata) corporation is responsible to insure the building. But to cover your personal property and additional living expenses, your individual condo policy must include earthquake insurance. It may also cover assessments made against you because of a shortfall in your condo corporation’s insurance.
- And if you rent your home, earthquake insurance on your tenant policy will typically cover your personal property and additional living expenses.
- In certain circumstances, homeowners who are unable to return to their home as a result of insurable damage are entitled to additional living expenses.
- Earthquake coverage is available for your place of business. To mitigate losses to your business in the event of an earthquake, you can purchase business interruption insurance.
Contact us to discuss your specific needs, as always, We’ve Got Your Back!
Earthquakes Canada – Eastern Canada
52 years ago ·
Water damage is one of the leading causes of home insurance claims but do you really understand your insurance policy? For example, do you know if:
- a sewer backup is covered by home insurance?
- a leaking toilet is covered by insurance?
- water damage from a leaking roof is covered by insurance?
The answer to whether these are covered or not depends on:
- the source of the damage
- the type of policy you have
- if the water damage is accidental and sudden or gradual.
Types of Water Damage
Standard homeowner policy – what’s covered?
If water damage is sudden and accidental, there’s a good chance you are covered by most standard home insurance policies. Some basic water damage coverage is included in a standard home policy while other sources of damage might not be covered unless you add an endorsement to your policy. A standard homeowner policy will include:
- Damages caused by the weight of ice, snow or sleet. This can cause roof collapse or water damage, among other problems
- Discharge and overflow of water from a plumbing fixture or system, even if it is an accident
- Tearing apart, cracking, burning or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system.
- Sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes and appliances
- Freezing of plumbing and pipes*.
* Some policies may contain exclusions for coverage of freezing of pipes if you left your home unheated during the heating season or if you did not shut off the water when you went away. These types of clauses are specific to various insurance companies so just be sure and ask before you plan to be away from your home for any length of time.
Standard homeowner policy – what’s NOT covered?
- Water that backs up through sewers
- A widespread flood is generally not covered by home insurance policies
- Gradual damage resulting from infiltration or seepage even if the owner was unaware such as
- Plumbing, faucets or pipes leaking over time causing damage to the walls, ceilings or floors
- Water damage caused by seepage coming in from cracks in the foundation, or at the exterior of the house allowing water to enter your home
- Flashing, tiles, shingles or deteriorating parts on the roof that indicated signs of needed repair
- Mould, rot or corrosion
Know your coverage options
You can add additional coverage, or endorsements, for certain risks that are not automatically included under your policy. The most popular are those for sewer backup, water seepage and for swimming pools and spas.
Sewer or Septic Back-up – Coverage in the event water back up from the sewer or septic system and flows into your home. More about water damage types
Water and Sewer Lines – Coverage to repair or replace your water service line and/or sewer line due to a loss resulting from a leak, break, tear, rupture or collapse of the line. Why you need it
Overland Water – Coverage for water damage caused by lake/river overflow, heavy rain or rapid snowmelt that enters your home from a point at or above ground surface
Above ground water – Optional coverage for damage caused by water entering your home suddenly and accidentally through the roof or perhaps an open window above the ground (ex. Ice damming, heavy rain or melting snow entering through the roof shingles for example).
Ground Water – Optional coverage for damage caused by water entering your home suddenly and accidentally through a basement wall, foundation or floor at ground level or below ground level (ex. Heavy rain, melting snow, water from a gutter downspout)
Swimming Pool and Spa – coverage for the above-ground or in-ground pool and its equipment. May also cover the deck or platform to which it is affixed and which is not attached to your home.
Understanding What Water Damage Coverage You Need
The most difficult thing to deal with when you have water damage can be figuring out if you’re covered. Questions? Call or email us to find out what is covered (and what is not…) on your policy type.
sources: The Balance, Insurance Bureau of Canada
52 years ago ·
Campuses are filling up again and unfortunately this means an increase in crime – with burglary accounting for half of all crimes on campus. When thefts occur, there can be big expenses to replace stolen property including laptops, phones, cars to name a few.
So, how can you protect your belongings while you’re away at school? The first step is to check with us to see if your stuff is covered under your homeowners insurance policy. Some policies will extend coverage to college students temporarily living away from home to attend CEGEP or university full time.
Here are some preventive measures and things to consider:
- If a student is living off campus, renter’s insurance is a good investment to consider. As a parent, your homeowners policy may extend coverage to a student living in a dorm or on-campus apartment
- Once your student moves into housing unaffiliated with the school, he or she likely needs separate coverage.
- Create an inventory. Record the value of all personal property to determine the right amount of coverage needed in the event of a loss.
- Secure valuable electronics, like TVs and laptops, to stable fixtures with locking mounts in your room so they can’t be easily removed. Also, protect personal electronics with passwords to guard accessibility and discourage theft. The best way to prevent theft is to implement security measures.
- Since identity theft occurs at a greater rate for young adults, ages 16-24 years-old, it’s worth exploring identity theft coverage.
- Even if the student isn’t bringing a car to campus, parents should opt to keep their student as a driver on their policy.
- If your student drives a friend’s car and has an accident, you’ll want to make sure he or she is covered.
- If you do take the student off the policy, it’s important to add them back onto the policy upon their return home, before they operate the vehicle, even if it’s just for a weekend visit.
- Another factor to consider is that if your college student isn’t driving, canceling their car insurance means they’ll have a coverage gap. And that could affect their future insurance rates.
- If your child owns a car or uses yours during his studies, it’s important that you let us know about this change. In fact, the place of residence and use of the car are key factors in establishing the insurance premium.
College students, and their parents, have enough on their minds. With the right decisions around property and auto insurance, you can eliminate the worrying about paying for that dinged-up front bumper or stolen laptop.
Be sure to talk to us about your new family situation so that we can advise you about the best coverage for your circumstances.
52 years ago ·
52 years ago ·
Knowing what you own makes you more efficient
Creating and updating an inventory of your personal possessions is one of the best ways to make the most of your homeowners or renters insurance, and makes filing a claim easier and more efficient.
A home inventory is simply a list of your personal possessions along with their estimated financial value. You can create a home inventory in a simple, low-tech manner by writing down everything in a notebook and keeping receipts in a folder. Or you can take advantage of technology and use a digital camera or smart phone or app to make your record.
No matter how you choose to do it, the important thing is to take action. An up-to-date home inventory will:
- Help you purchase the right amount and type of insurance. Having an accurate list of all your possessions helps you to have a more productive conversation with your insurance professional when making decisions about homeowners or renters insurance coverage. After all, if you don’t know what you have, how can you insure it adequately?
- Make filing a claim as simple as possible. Most people cannot remember what they had for breakfast much less recall the contents of their attic, kitchen cabinets or downstairs closet after a fire, storm or other catastrophe. Disasters are scary and stressful, which can make trying to list damaged property for a claims form even more challenging. Having your belongings already documented in your home inventory can be a huge relief at times like these.
- Substantiate financial losses for tax purposes or when applying for financial assistance. Following a catastrophe, the only way to determine whether you qualify for a tax break or disaster assistance is to substantiate your financial losses. A well-organized home inventory can be an extremely useful tool in this process.
Next steps: Use these tips to get started on your home inventory.
Your standard home insurance policy will not cover the entire inventory of your house (or at least not the full value of certain possessions) so you may wish to add specific, more expensive, items to your coverage. Here are a few key items to keep in mind while deciding what to ensure: jewelry, artwork, electronics, collectibles, equipment.
1. Don’t try to do it all in one shot
If you try to make a household inventory list in one shot, you’ll get overwhelmed and give up. Instead, go room by room. You could even subdivide rooms and make your bedroom and your bedroom closet two different entries.
2. Give yourself a deadline
A deadline is just another way of saying you have a goal. Give yourself one week to complete the inventory. Try to do at least a little every day. Ten minutes working on your list is better than not working on it at all.
3. Organize receipts
Keep copies of the receipt in your home inventory file or safe deposit box. Having discernable proof that you purchased the item gives the insurer an exact amount the item is worth.
4. Take pictures
Take multiple photos of each room. Open drawers and photograph your silverware, the utility drawer, maybe by walking through the house with a video camera from time to time, so that in the event of, say, a disastrous fire, you’ll have a record of what you lost.
5. Be detailed
The more detail you can offer your insurance agent the better. Pictures and receipts as stated above are a good place to start. Look for the items the serial number or item identification number. Note any previous scratches, damages, or personal engravings so you can prove the item is yours in case it is ever found again.
52 years ago ·
For the past 10 years, water damage has become the leading cause of home insurance claims: water seepage through the roof or windows, sewer back-up, spring floods, overflowing bathtubs, leaking water heaters, etc. In 2018, 40% of claims paid out in home insurance were for water damage.
The basic home insurance policy usually covers some perils related to water damage. As a general rule, this represents damage caused inside the home, including overflowing sanitary fixtures or appliances (washing machine, toilet, bathtub, dishwasher, etc.)
Other types of damage can be insured by adding extra coverage under the policy. This is the case for damage caused from outside the home, such as seepage, sewer back-up and flooding.
There are also ways you can protect yourself and minimize the impact on our homes.
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Inside your home
- Store valuable items in upper floors of your home, away from the basement.
- Use water-resistant building materials below ground level.
- Install a sump pump with back-up battery power.
- Install backflow valves for drains, toilets and other basement sewer connections.
- Raise large appliances, furnaces, hot water heaters and electrical panels up on wood or cement blocks. If you’re unable to do so, consider anchoring these items and protecting them with a floodwall or shield.
- Anchor fuel tanks to the floor. A fuel tank can tip over or float in a flood, causing fuel to spill or catch fire. Make sure vents and fill-line openings are above flood levels. For propane tanks, contact the propane company on best storage methods.
- If flooding is imminent, shut off electricity to areas of the home that may be affected. Use sand bags or install flood shields or built-up barriers for basement windows and doors.
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Outside your home
- Ensure proper lot grading. If possible, build up the ground around your home to allow water to drain away from your basement walls.
- Check sidewalks, patios, decks and driveways to make sure they haven’t settled over time and are causing water to drain toward your house.
- Have your roof checked to make sure it is in good condition.
- Clear snow away from your home’s foundation. If the ground is sloped one inch per foot near your home, move snow three to five feet away to help minimize flood problems.
- Keep water out of window wells and check the condition of your windows regularly.
- Make sure downspouts extend at least six feet from your basement wall. Water should drain away from your home and neighbouring homes. It should drain toward the street, backyard or back lane.
- Use a rain barrel to catch water runoff.
52 years ago ·
Eyton-Jones would like to stress the importance of obtaining a professional evaluation to determine replacement cost, the coinsurance clause, by-laws, contingency funds etc. in light of the upcoming changes to condominium insurance.
Over the next few years, changes to the Civil Code of Québec affecting condominium insurance will come into force. They include: a mandatory appraisal of the building [the “immovable,” in the Code]8, conducted every five years by a member of a professional corporation; an obligation requiring the directors of the syndicate and the condominium unit owners to purchase liability insurance; the use of the expression costs of reconstruction instead of replacement cost; and the obligation of the syndicate to create a liquid self-insurance fund available at short notice to pay the deductibles specified in the insurance contract.
The minimum amount of liability insurance and the self-insurance fund, as well as the criteria regarding whether or not a deductible is considered unreasonable, will be determined by way of government regulation.
The syndicate of co-ownership will also be obliged to provide co-owners with a description of the private portionsthat is detailed enough to identify improvements the co-owners have made. Condominiums created before June 13, 2018 will have two years to comply with this obligation. Others will have six months to do so. Agents and brokers will have to ask for this description in order to properly assess the risk for underwriting purposes.
In conclusion, the syndicate’s insurance will be its front-line insurance in the event of a loss. If the syndicate of co-ownership decides to not avail itself of this insurance in the wake of a loss, it will be responsible for repairing the damages to the insured property and will not be allowed to sue the co-owners who were responsible for damages that the syndicate’s insurer would have otherwise paid for.
A regulatory framework will be created to implement all the upcoming changes.
In order to improve access to information, the Chambre de l’assurance de dommages (ChAD) has implemented a section dedicated to co-ownership (condominiums) with specialized topics. To help professionals, the ChAD also publishes useful articles and offers a range of trainings on the topic (in French only). In addition, four useful tools are made available:
52 years ago ·
Most companies purchase general liability insurance to protect themselves from potential lawsuits or claims resulting from accidents or injuries. They also have professional liability insurance to protect themselves against the cost of errors, malpractice or omissions in services provided to their customers.
Why don’t more companies purchase cyber insurance to protect themselves against first- and third-party claims arising from cyber incidents?
Now that the new Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) has been in effect across Canada for a few months, we wanted to outline some important reasons to get Cyber Insurance to protect your business.
1. DATA BREACHES ARE COSTLY
The average cost of data breaches at Canadian companies is going up. These costs are influenced by the number of records lost, the number of victims who need to be notified, the time it takes to contain the breach and get back to business, and post-breach costs (lawyers, public relations, whether outside forensic experts have to be hired), loss of business. Breach notification require businesses that lose sensitive personal data to provide written notification to those individuals that were potentially affected or risk hefty fines and penalties.
Cyber policies can provide cover for the costs associated with providing a breach notice and can also cover the associated regulatory fines and penalties.
2. CYBER INCIDENTS HAPPEN. A LOT
Cybercrime is the fastest growing crime in the world and nearly two-thirds of SMEs have been the victim of a cyber incident. Yet standard property or crime insurance policies can be restrictive in the cover they offer. Furthermore, as large companies get more serious about data security, small businesses are becoming more attractive targets – and the results are often devastating for small business owners.
3. COMPUTERS MAKE OUR LIVES EASIER – AND SO VULNERABLE
Technology systems are critical to operating your day-to-day- from electronic point of sales software to back office work flow management systems. In the event that these systems are brought down, a traditional business interruption policy would likely not respond.
Cyber insurance can provide cover for loss of income and extra expense associated with a cyber event.
4. IT TAKES A VILLAGE
Responding to a cyber incident requires a range of specialists – from IT forensics firms to specialist PR agencies – that help deal with both the immediate aftermath as well as the longer term consequences of a cyber event. Small and medium sized businesses, in particular, are facing an uphill battle; not only are they increasingly being targeted by cybercriminals but they are also unlikely to have the range of required incident response specialists in-house.
5. COVERAGE WORKS
Almost 9 in 10 Small and medium sized businesses say their cyber insurance covered the cybersecurity incidents they suffered with 87% reporting that their policy performed as expected. From recovering your data to protecting your assets and reputation, proper insurance coverage will ensure your business gets back on its feet quickly.
6. ARE YOU REALLY PROTECTED?
The No. 1 reason for not purchasing a policy is the belief that in-house security people and processes provide all the needed protection, with many business’ still believing they are not actually susceptible. Yet cybersecurity experts’ prevailing message is that cyber incidents are a fundamental fact of life – it’s not a question of if a data breach will happen but when.
For additional information see our Cyber Insurance coverage or contact us for a personal review.
52 years ago ·
With Canada’s new Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (“PIPEDA”) now in effect, here’s what you need to know:
Who does PIPEDA apply to?
All private sector organizations that collect, use, or disclose personal information in the course of their commercial activities (PIPEDA does not apply to organizations that operate entirely in Alberta, British Columbia, or Quebec);
What does it apply to?
- Personal information about an employee of, or an applicant for employment with, the organization and the organization collects, uses, or discloses that personal information in connection with the operation of federal works, undertakings, and businesses; and
- All personal information that flows across provincial or national borders in the course of commercial transactions involving organizations subject to PIPEDA or similar legislation.
- Outside of Canada, PIPEDA applies to foreign organizations with a real and substantial link to Canada that collect, use, or disclose the personal information of Canadians in the course of their commercial activities.
What information falls under PIPEDA?
- Age, name, ID numbers, income, ethnic origin, or blood type
- Opinions, evaluations, comments, social status, or disciplinary actions
- Employee files, credit records, loan records, medical records, existence of a dispute between a consumer and merchant, intentions (for example, to acquire goods or services, or change jobs).
When to Report
- The Regulations require organizations to conduct a risk assessment to determine whether the breach poses a “real risk of significant harm” to affected individuals, considering both the sensitivity of the compromised information and the probability that it will be misused.
- “Significant harm” may include humiliation; damage to reputation or relationships; identity theft; bodily harm; loss of employment, business or professional opportunities; financial loss; identity theft; and damage to or loss of property.
Who to report to
- Provide notice to affected individuals and to the Privacy Commissioner “as soon as feasible” – no set time limit is specified. Similar to the GDPR’s approach, the Regulations allow for updating of a breach report as additional information becomes available.
- Maintain a record of every security incident for 24 months after “the day on which the organization determines that the breach has occurred.” The records must be made available to the Commissioner and contain enough detail to allow the Commissioner to verify the organization’s compliance with applicable requirements.
- Organizations are not expected to report all breaches (but recall, organizations are required to keep a record of all breaches).
Failure to report a breach or to maintain required records is an offence under PIPEDA and non-compliance is punishable by a fine of up to $100,000 per offense. With respect to individuals, each person not notified will constitute a separate offense. Not keeping proper records of breaches, or destroying such records, also would constitute an offense subject to the CA$100,000 fine.
Who should report.
Generally speaking, the organization that is in control of the personal information involved in the breach must report the breach to the OPC.
For additional information see our Cyber Insurance coverage or contact us for a personal review.
52 years ago ·
As we begin a new year, it’s a good time to boost your financial safety net and avoid future property and casualty insurance claims. Whether it’s taking the time to read and understand insurance policies or creating a home inventory, there are smart ways you can protect your financial well-being by resolving to follow a few simple recommendations:
Review your insurance policies
We would be happy to hear from you and discuss your various policy and coverage options. Did you build an addition onto your house, invest in a big screen TV or purchase jewelry for your wife? These are important details for us to know.
Did you change jobs so you can work from home? This cuts down on the number of miles you drive and can positively impact your insurance premiums. Make sure your coverage matches your risk.
Make a list and check it twice
Damaged property after a fire or natural disaster can be devastating, and filing the insurance claim can be overwhelming. But a home inventory that you’ve kept up-to-date can help you justify the items that you’re claiming and will go a long way to expediting any claim you may have down the road.
Don’t forget auto insurance
It’s easy to overlook your auto insurance, but keep in mind that your rate is based on factors that may have changed, such as how you use your car and what drivers you are insuring. You’ll also get a substantial discount by choosing to insure your car and home with the same insurer.
Stop leaving the keys in your vehicle.
A car is stolen every seven minutes in Canada and an experienced thief can steal a car in as little as 30 seconds according to The Insurance Bureau of Canada. Keep your keys with you and add a theft alarm to your vehicles!
Water damage in your home can you leave you flooded with repair bills – don’t let a burst pipe or leaky appliance ruin your home. Be proactive with routine maintenance such as cleaning out your gutters, fixing leaks and testing your sump pump. Regularly inspect your appliances, your roof and install a water detection device. Early detection and prevention could mean the difference between a simple mop-up job and major construction repairs.
Contact us and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know – we’ve got your back!