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 ·
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 ·
Quebec’s automobile insurance board, the SAAQ, requires all taxi and passenger vehicles, as well as mopeds, motorized scooters and motorcycles to be outfitted with winter tires from Dec. 1st to March 15th inclusively.
Fail to do so, and you’ll face up to $300 in fines.
In the spirit of the season, here are five things to know about your winter tires, according to George Iny of the Automobile Protection Association.
1. Tire lifespan
Tires can generally last through three Montreal winters, but if you don’t use them often they can be used for four or five.
2. Wearing them out?
Don’t worry if there is no snow. Your tires are not wearing out faster. Daytime temps of 7 to 10 degrees are cold enough to have your tires on.
3. Be careful buying online
The key to buying winter tires is to check the manufacturing date. It’s a code with four numbers representing the date they were made. If you don’t understand what these numbers mean, you should not be buying used tires online. Always ask how old they are, ask for a receipt and check the manufacturer’s date.
Always store your tires in a plastic bag and lay them flat if you can. The rubber can deteriorate and wear out.
5. Check your tire pressure
If nothing else, the obligatory winter-tire change rule ensures that drivers are checking their tire pressure at least twice a year. As for the pressure level, you shouldn’t go by the number on your tire, which is the maximum level and not vehicle specific. Check inside your car door for a yellow sticker. if you can’t find it, look in the owner’s manual.
Wondering about the benefits of installing winter tires? Read the article “What do winter tires really do?”
Are you adequately insured? Learn more or give us a call, we’ve got your back!
52 years ago ·
A University of Michigan 2016 study entitled Ten Surprising Findings About Winter Tires: It Is Not Just About Snow helped break down what they really do. The ten findings?
- The main benefit of winter tires is improved road adhesion, braking and cornering performance — not acceleration, though it helps there, too.
- Winter tires provide improved traction on roads below 7°C (45°F) even when snow and ice are not present.
- Stopping distances on packed snow are approximately 35% shorter than for all-season tires and 50% shorter than for summer tires.
- The improvements in stopping distance also extend to improvements in cornering capability.
- Tires designated as “mud” and “snow” tires do not necessarily perform well on packed snow and ice. Ones without the 3PMSF symbol were found to require 40% longer stopping distances than similar tires with the symbol.
- Tires with aggressive treads will not necessarily perform well in slippery winter conditions unless they have the 3PMSF symbol.
- In Canada, during the winter period from December to February, there is a reported 49% increase in auto insurance claims. Much of this elevated risk is attributable to slippery road conditions in winter. Winter tires reduce crash frequency during winter months.
- A two-wheel-drive vehicle with winter tires will outperform a four-wheel-drive vehicle with all-season tires in braking and cornering. The perception that four-wheel-drive vehicles do not require winter tires in cold climates is false.
- Crash-avoidance technologies such as electronic stability control depend on tire adhesion to function. Winter tires are becoming increasingly important rather than less important as vehicle technology matures.
- It is imperative winter tires be fitted to all four wheels and not just the driven wheels of a two-wheel-drive vehicle.
Learn more about purchasing and caring for winter tires.
Do you have adequate vehicle insurance? Learn more or give us a call, we’ve got your back!
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.