Smith Petrie Carr & Scott’s Insurance 101: Helping You Make Good Decisions
Insurance FAQs – Property, Auto, Commercial & Life
Most Frequently Asked Questions About Property Insurance:
In general, there are two basic policy types. Firstly, there is the ‘Broad form’ policy that provides good solid coverage. This form provides open perils (‘all risk’ with some exclusions) coverage on the building and named perils on the contents. Secondly, the ‘Comprehensive form’ or gold policy will provide even broader coverage for your home and contents. This form also has higher limits for certain items within the policy.
We suggest that our clients carry the ‘Comprehensive’ or ‘gold’ form of property policy. The annual additional premium is minimal, and the coverage is broader. We feel this is money well spent.
Most people believe everything in the car is covered through automobile insurance. Comprehensive coverage on automobile policies is one of the most frequently carried optional coverages, but it is limited and coverage only applies to such items specific to that vehicle such as the radio, stereo, CD, cassette player and one tape/CD. Items commonly stolen and not covered include briefcases, purses, coats, sunglasses, presents, laptop computers, tools, cell phones, sports equipment (e.g. golf clubs or skates)
Home, tenant, condo, business insurance can provide theft coverage but this may be very limited also and if not insured through the same insurance company, a separate deductible will apply.
- FREEZING of plumbing, heating or air conditioning system when you have been away from dwelling four or more consecutive days is not covered. However, if you arrange for a competent person to check dwelling daily or shut off water and drain pipes, you would still have coverage.
- VACANT AND UNOCCUPIED dwellings are not covered for vandalism, glass breakage, freezing and water damage losses. After 30 days of vacancy, no coverage exists for ALL other losses unless you inform broker and coverage is extended by insurance company.
- EARTHQUAKE is excluded under most standard policy wordings. Coverage can be added by endorsement.
- BUSINESS PROPERTY and BUSINESS PURSUITS are generally excluded on your personal property policy. The situation should be reviewed with your insurance broker if you conduct business from your home.
- MATERIAL CHANGE to the risk requires immediate notification to avoid discontinuance of coverage or denial of a claim. An example of a situation would be renting out your cottage and not informing your broker or insurance company of the change in occupancy.
- DAMAGE CAUSED BY BIRDS, VERMIN, RODENTS OR INSECTS is not covered.
Did you know that you are liable for anything that happens in your apartment? If you have unsafe conditions in your own living area, you are responsible if someone hurts themselves and you could be sued.
The owner of the building you live in does not insure your contents. Are you prepared to lose all of your belongings if there is a fire?
Did you also know that your Automobile Insurance does not insure against stolen property left in your car? CDs, golf clubs etc…, all of it is considered ‘contents’ in the eyes of an insurance company, and would only be replaced if you had a property insurance policy.
Property policies separate losses into various types, each with its own conditions and limitations.
- Personal Property – most of the normal contents of your home, from linens to electronics, are considered Personal Property.
- Real Property – buildings and land are considered Real Property. A fire in your home can damage both the structure (Real Property) and the contents of your home (Personal Property)
- Liability – your responsibility to other people when they suffer loss or injury due to your negligence. Liability coverage extends to most everyday life situations but does not include, for example, liability resulting from the use of an automobile.
The amount of coverage available depends on the type of policy, the insurance purchased and the nature of the loss. Please consult your policy and/or contact us.
Check that you have safety equipment installed and in working order. Fire and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, escape plans, deadbolts on doors and locked windows help to protect both your family and your property.
It also helps to know what you have in your home. Make a list of personal belongings in each room. Consider taking photographs or a video tape to keep with the list. If you’d like to assure yourself you have enough insurance coverage, consider totaling the values of all listed items and comparing the result to your “Contents” coverage limit. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or wish to revise your coverages.
Information taken from “Property Claims” – The Dominion of Canada.
All property policies incorporate a deductible of some description. Insurance is designed to protect people from losses they cannot afford. Adjusting many very small losses would be very expensive and would unnecessarily increase premiums. Therefore, when you buy a policy, you agree to pay the first portion of any loss. This deductible applies only once per occurrence, regardless of how many items are claimed. For example, if our deductible is $500 and your total covered claim is $2,000, your insurance company would pay you $1,500.
- Deductibles: Did you know that higher deductibles will reduce your premiums?
- Dual Policy: Save if you insure both your home & auto with the same company.
- New Home Discount: If your home is less than 10 years old you could be eligible for a discount.
- Security Alarm: A centrally monitored burglar and fire alarm system will not only improve security but also provide a discount.
- Age Discount: If you’re over 45 years old you could be eligible for savings.
- Claims Free Discount: If you have not had a property insurance claim for three or more years a discount is available.
- Mortgage Free Discount: Receive another discount if you have no mortgage.
You too can take some simple steps to help fight debit card fraud:
- Select less obvious numbers for your PIN. Memorize it. Never share it, and change it every few months.
- Monitor your accounts for any activity that appears unusual and report it to your bank immediately.
- Never let your debit card out of sight when making a purchase.
- Shield the keypad when entering your PIN at terminals or ABMs.
- Only conduct transactions where you feel secure.
If you do suspect debit card fraud, you need to contact your bank immediately so they can take appropriate action. Typically your back will cancel the debit card and issue a new one with a new PIN.
Depending on the circumstances you may be asked to fill out an affidavit stating you had no knowledge of the questionable transaction. The Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Debit Card Services guarantees that proven victims of debit card fraud, when circumstances were beyond their control, will have their money returned.