52 years ago ·
Insurance is a significant investment. Before you purchase coverage, getting answers to key questions can help you make informed decisions.
While the following list is not exhaustive, when buying auto, home or business insurance, consider:
- What are your specific insurance needs? For instance:
- What coverage is mandatory for your vehicle? What’s optional?
- What is the replacement value of your home and its contents?
- Is your business home-based? What risks are unique to your industry? What risk management strategies have you implemented?[su_spacer]
- Is there value in bundling several policies with one insurance company? Consider that multi-policy discounts or loyalty programs may be available for:
- Who can best fulfill my needs? There are different ways to secure appropriate coverage, such as buying:
- Directly from a private insurance company, through a call centre or website (companies that sell insurance this way are called “direct writers”)
- Through an agent who sells insurance for just one company
- Through a broker who deals with multiple insurance companies[su_spacer]
- How to Choose an Agent or Broker
Your agent or broker should be:
- Willing to take the time to understand your insurance needs and recommend appropriate policy options
- Able to explain your policy and coverage in clear, precise language
- Licensed in your province
- You may want to ask trusted relatives, friends or business associates if they can recommend an agent or broker.
- For a broker, you can also contact your provincial insurance brokers’ association or the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada.[su_spacer]
- Ready to interview a potential insurance representative? Questions you may want to ask include:
- Are you appropriately licensed in this province? To verify that an agent or broker is licensed to sell insurance, contact the licensing body for your province.
- Are these the lowest policy prices?
- How can I save money by changing my deductible?
- What are the cancellation rules?
- Is the claims service available 24/7/365?
- If I’m in a vehicle collision and it’s my first one, how will it affect my premium? What happens after one or more speeding tickets?
source: 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 ·
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.