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Archive for October, 2009

GTA Drivers Face Car Insurance Rate Hikes

Tue, 20th October, 2009 - Posted by - Comments Off on GTA Drivers Face Car Insurance Rate Hikes

We found this article on the Toronto Star web site. If you’re a GTA-based driver you may want to read it as it talks about rate hikes.

Category : Auto Insurance

Understanding Key Auto Insurance Claims

Thu, 8th October, 2009 - Posted by - Comments Off on Understanding Key Auto Insurance Claims

The type of coverage you require is based on a number of factors, including vehicle type, age, use and ownership. Some coverages are mandatory by law while others are optional. Physical damage coverage on the vehicle is optional if you own the vehicle but usually mandatory if you lease or have a car loan. Most coverages are subject to limits and deductibles just like your home insurance – you should be aware of what you have and what you might need.

Liability (mandatory) protects you if someone is killed or injured or their property is damaged. It will pay for claims against you up to the limit of your coverage including legal expenses and other costs of settling the claim on your behalf.

Accident Benefits (mandatory) provides benefits if you or anyone else covered under your policy are injured in an automobile accident, regardless of who caused the accident. These benefits include medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, funeral and death benefits.

Uninsured Automobile (mandatory) covers injury or death caused by a driver without insurance or by a hit-and-run driver.

Direct Compensation – Property Damage (mandatory) covers you in Ontario for damage to your car or its contents when another driver is responsible.

Collision or Upset insures for loss or damage caused by collision with another vehicle or object (like a traffic pole or curb). An example of “upset” is if your car rolls over.

Specified Perils covers very specific types of claims, as the name suggests. These include fire, theft, lightning, windstorm, earthquake and explosion.

Comprehensive includes all the perils insured under Specified Perils plus falling or flying objects and vandalism.

All Perils is the broadest of the physical damages coverage you can buy. It covers Comprehensive, Specified Perils, and Collision or Upset.

Loss of Use pays a specified daily amount allowing you to rent a car while your car is being repaired. If your vehicle is stolen and you have All Perils, Comprehensive, or Specified Perils coverage, your policy automatically offers up to $900 for alternative transportation (rental, taxi or public transit).

Family Protection Endorsement provides additional benefits if the other driver is at fault does not have enough insurance (or is unidentified). The limit of coverage is the difference between the liability insurance limit of your insurance policy and that by the driver at fault.

Did you know good drivers may qualify for accident protection so after the first at fault accident there is no penalty to their good driving record?

The bottom line is: review your policy carefully and discuss any questions or concerns with your insurance provider.

This article is intended as a guide only, and has been adapted from articles available on the Insurance Bureau of Canada website and Financial Services Commission of Ontario webiste. Visit ww.ibc.ca and/or www.fsco.gov.on.ca for more information.

Category : Auto Insurance / Education

Why use an insurance broker?

Thu, 8th October, 2009 - Posted by - Comments Off on Why use an insurance broker?

on-your-side-470wYour broker works for you, not the insurance company. They are at your side when you buy or upgrade your insurance or if you have to make a claim.

The value of objective advice
Insurance brokers are business people whose success rests on your satisfaction with your coverage, price and service. It’s in their interest to understand your needs and negotiate on your behalf for competitive premiums–even if it means approaching several companies to find the right solution. Because your broker doesn’t work for the insurance company, he or she can also assist you with objective advice if you have to make a claim.

Get informed help when you need it most
The insurance industry has become more complex with its own language of terms, legal issues and subtle details.You need a knowledgeable expert at every stage of the process to interpret all the rules and what they mean for you.Your broker’s advice can also be invaluable as your insurance needs change and your requirements become more complex.

Don’t be afraid to ask!
When it comes to insurance, there is no question too basic. If there is anything you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask us. We are here to help.

Category : Education

Understanding Key Home Insurance Terms

Mon, 5th October, 2009 - Posted by - Comments Off on Understanding Key Home Insurance Terms

Limits, deductibles, amount of insurance… what does it all mean? Why don’t insurance companies speak in a language we understand?

We can’t tell you everything there is to know about home insurance in one article, but we can explain a couple of terms to get the conversation rolling with your insurance broker. After all, their job is to help you sort through all the fancy insurance-speak and make sure you are covered.

Deductible refers to the amount you have to pay out of your pocket before your insurance company pays for your claim.

Amount of Insurance refers to the amount your insurance company will pay to replace your “dwelling” (the physical structure of the home and any attached structures such as a garage) and the “contents” or “personal property” (what’s inside your home).

(For Condos, Amount of Insurance refers to your contents and any upgrades or renovations you or the previous owner made to the unit. The Condo building is usually covered by the Condo Corporation’s insurance policy.)

Single Limit refers to the maximum amount of insurance you have available to cover the building (and attached structures), contents, additional living expenses while your home is being repaired, demolition, debris removal, etc.

Replacement Cost refers to the amount the insurance company will pay to cover the cost of replacing your property without deducting for depreciation (the reduction in value because of age/wear).

Did you know that many people are under-insured?

So now that you know the basics, it’s time to put them to use. First, most people know the original cost of their house, but don’t know what it would cost to replace it. Consider that the cost to reconstruct your house will likely cost more than it would to build a new house from scratch (because of the extra care and time needed to ensure that driveways and neighbouring properties are not damaged, building codes may have changed requiring more materials and design, etc.).

Also, if you’re planning to renovate or make any additions, make sure to inform your broker or insurance company to find out if you’ll still be covered. You might need to increase your coverage. Your broker is a great source of information and can help you decide if you have enough insurance.

Second, make a list of the contents of each room of your house noting the value. This can help you figure out if you have enough contents coverage. Also, if you do have a claim the list can help inform your insurance company of the items to be replaced. (Just make sure to store it in a safe place outside your home, like a safety deposit box.)

Finally, don’t wait until you have a claim to find out if you have enough insurance. Some personal items and heirlooms can never be replaced, but for the things that can, talk to your insurance broker and make sure you and your family are covered.

The above article is intended as a guide only. For specific details about your policy or coverage, speak to your insurance representative.

Category : Home Insurance / Homeowners

Identity Theft: Could it Happen to You?

Thu, 1st October, 2009 - Posted by - Comments Off on Identity Theft: Could it Happen to You?

Maybe you never opened that account, or ordered an additional card, but someone else did…. someone who used your name and personal information to commit fraud. When an impostor co-opts your name, your Social Insurance Number (SIN), your credit card number, or some other piece of your personal information for their use – in short, when someone appropriates your personal information without your knowledge – it’s a crime, pure and simple.

Are you a Victim?

The signs can be many, but typical indicators that your identity is being used include:

  • A creditor informs you that an application for credit was received with your name and address, which you did not apply for.
  • Telephone calls or letters state that you have been approved or denied by a creditor that you never applied to.
  • You receive credit card statements or other bills in your name, which you did not apply for.
  • You no longer receive credit card statements or you notice that not all of your mail is delivered.
  • A collection agency informs you they are collecting for a defaulted account established with your identity and you never opened the account.

Identity Theft: Tips that will help minimize your risk.

  1. Before you reveal any personally identifying information, find out how it will be used and if it will be shared.
  2. Pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if your bills don’t arrive on time.
  3. Guard your mail. Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection boxes or at your local post office. Promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery. Ensure mail is forwarded or re-routed if you move or change your mailing address.
  4. Utilize passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts. Avoid using easily available information like your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your SIN or your phone number.
  5. Minimize the identification information and number of cards you carry.
  6. Do not give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the internet unless you have initiated the contact or know whom you’re dealing with.
  7. Keep items with personal information in a safe place. An identity thief will pick through your garbage or recycling bins. Be sure to tear or shred receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements and credit offers you get in the mail.
  8. Give your SIN only when absolutely necessary. Ask to use other types of identifiers when possible.
  9. Don’t carry your SIN card; leave it in a secure place.

The above article consists of excerpts from web pages available on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call centre website, Sponsored by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Competition Bureau of Canada, Ontario Provincial Police and the Government of Canada. For more information about Identity Theft and how to protect yourself, visit www.phonebusters.com.

Category : Identity Theft

Don’t be afraid to ask!

When it comes to insurance, there is no question too basic. If there is anything you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask us. We are here to help. Contact us today! »

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