We hear all kinds of questions from all kinds of people every day. With that in mind, here are some answers to some of the most common question.
Q: Does my insurance policy cover a friend if I loan him/her my car?
A:When you loan your car to a friend or an associate, he or she will be covered under your automobile insurance policy as long a they have a valid drivers license. However if your friend or associate is a regular driver of your vehicle then you should add them to your insurance policy as a “listed” driver.
Q: How can I lower my automobile insurance rates?
A: They are many things you can do to lower your auto insurance cost, including:
- Increase your deductible for Collision Coverage
- Increase your deductible for Comprehensive Coverage
- Advise your insurance broker when you change how you use your vehicle
- Advise your insurance broker when you change jobs as the distance you drive to work can impact your insurance cost
- Regularly review your policy coverage with your insurance broker to ensure you are getting the best value for your insurance dollar.
- Maximize available discounts by combining all your insurance needs for your household with one insurance broker
Q: What do I need to know when obtaining a quotation for homeowners insurance?
A: In order to obtain an accurate quotation for the cost of your homeowners insurance you will need to provide your insurance broker with:
- The full address of your house (including postal code)
- The year your house was built
- The style of your home (ex: bungalow, two story, split level)
- The amount of living space available in the house expressed in terms of square feet or meters
- The type and age of the heating system, including the fuel source, in your house
- The type and age of the roof on your home
- The type, size, and age of the electrical service in your home
- Information regarding any recent homeowners insurance claims you have experienced
- Advise your insurance broker of any valuables that you may have such as jewelry, sports equipment, and collectables you may own
Your insurance broker will use this information to determine the correct replacement cost of your home as well as determine the best insurance product available to you for your homeowners insurance protection
Q: What do I need to know when obtaining a quotation for auto insurance?
A: In order to obtain an accurate quotation for the cost of your auto insurance you will need to provide your insurance broker with:
- The full address of your residence including postal code
- The year, manufacturer, model & serial number of your vehicle(s)
- The current use of each vehicle including distance driven to work (if any), annual kilometers driven, and if there is any business use of the vehicle
- A list of all drivers in the household including their driver’s licence number
Q: My son or daughter is turning 16 and getting his or her G1 license. Do I need to add him or her to my auto insurance policy as a listed driver and will there be a cost to doing so?
A: When your child obtains their G1 License it is wise, but not mandatory, to advise your insurance broker of your child’s achievement. There will be no increase in your insurance cost while your child holds their G1 license, however when they obtain their G2 license they must be accounted for on your auto insurance policy, and a premium charge will be applied to your policy. How much this charge is will be is dependent on the number of vehicles and drivers that already exist in your household. Contact your insurance broker so they can advise you on options.
Q: How do I know if I need the optional accident benefits coverage on my auto insurance policy?
A: To determine if you have a need for optional accident benefits, some of the elements that you may want to consider are:
- Are you, your spouse, and dependents eligible for OHIP? If so, remember that OHIP will continue to cover some of the medical expenses incurred as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
- Do you have collateral benefits through your employer or a private plan? If so, and the coverage is sufficient, you may not need to buy optional accident benefits. Collateral benefits are primary coverage and the coverages on your automobile policy are considered secondary to those.
- Does 70% of your gross weekly income exceed $400/week? If not, or if you have short-term/long-term disability insurance coverage, then you may not need to purchase the optional income replacement coverage.
- Do you have someone who could assist you with housekeeping and home maintenance duties if you were injured in an automobile accident, or would you have to pay someone? If you have a friend or family member who could assist with housekeeping and home maintenance duties, then you may not need to purchase this optional benefit.
- Do you provide full-time care to a dependents? If so, and you were unable to do so as a result of an automobile accident, do you have someone who could assist you or would you have to pay someone? If you have a friend or family member who could assist with providing care to a dependents, then you may not need to purchase this optional benefit.
- Do you, your spouse, and dependents have life insurance? If so, then it may not be necessary to increase the standard death and funeral benefit.
Regardless, it is still wise to discuss your coverage needs with your insurance broker so that they can provide you with the optional coverage best suited to your situation.
Q: How Do Claims and Convictions Affect my Auto Insurance Premium?
A: The primary purpose of purchasing insurance protection is to be able to make a claim for a covered mishap when and if it occurs. It is true that an at-fault claim can result in an adjustment to your premium or coverage availability upon policy renewal. However most insurance companies today offer an option to buy a claims protection endorsement that will waive the impact of your 1st accident on your insurance premium. Each insurance company has their own guidelines on the availability of this endorsement so ask your insurance broker if you qualify to purchase it.
Not-at-fault claims or comprehensive claims will not generally cause your insurance cost to rise but a frequency of these sort of claims could result in higher deductibles or the withdrawal of optional coverage. Always contact your insurance broker to be clear on the impact of a claim on your auto insurance cost.
Traffic tickets will in most cases have some impact on your insurance cost. The severity and number of the tickets will be the determining factor on the size of the increase in your insurance cost. Serious violations can result in the non-renewal of your insurance policy. Most insurance companies will charge for traffic violations that have been registered on your drivers license in the past 36 months from the date of your policy application or policy renewal.
Q: When should I review my insurance protection?
A: It is a good idea to review your insurance protection for your home, auto, and life insurance needs on a regular basis to ensure that your coverage limits are sufficient to meet your requirements. In addition, as the marketplace is changing there are new discounts being made available and new insurance packages being developed that may enhance your value for your insurance dollar being spent.
Certain life events may also be a cause to review your insurance protection with your Insurance Broker.
- Renovation or update to your Home
- Change in the use or occupancy of your home
- Purchase of a high value item such as a piece of jewelry
- Installation of an alarm system
- Purchase of a new or different vehicle
- Change in employment status or location of any member of your household who drives your vehicle
- Change in your marital status (especially if under age 25)
- Addition of a new driver to the household
Q: By law, what auto insurance coverages must I have to legally drive my vehicle in Ontario.
A: To drive any vehicle on a public road in Ontario, the owner of the vehicle must have the following minimum insurance coverage in place:
Third Party Liability
This coverage protects you if you’re involved in an accident and you damage someone’s property, or if you injure or kill someone. According to provincial law, you must have at least $200,000 in third party liability coverage, but most people choose a limit of $1,000,000 or $2,000,000 or higher.
This coverage protects you if you or someone in your family is injured or killed in an accident, whether it’s your fault or not. It includes supplementary medical, rehabilitation, attendant care, caregiver, non-earner, and income replacement benefits. The basic limits for each of the accident benefit coverage sections can be increased if required to meet your needs.
Direct Compensation Property Damage (DCPD)
This coverage protects you for damage to your car in an accident that is not your fault in whole or in part. It’s called direct compensation because instead of recovering damages from someone else’s insurance company, you deal directly with your insurance company to have your vehicle repaired. You can purchase this coverage with a deductible but most people have a zero deductible for this coverage.
This coverage protects you and your family if you’re injured or killed by a hit-and-run driver, or by the driver of an uninsured or unidentified automobile. It also covers your automobile and its contents for damage caused by an identified, uninsured motorist, and it is subject to a deductible.
Other optional coverage such as collision, comprehensive, loss of use, and waiver of depreciation can be purchased to protect your vehicle and the costs associated with replacing it while it being repaired.