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Choosing the Right Cottage Insurance

cottage insurance

Canada is an undeniably stunning country. We are rich in natural beauty, with a whopping total of 44 national parks to enjoy nationwide!

But most Canadians know you don't have to visit a national park site to relish our wondrous landscape—which also explains our zeal for owning seasonal second homes, often known simply as "cottages."

In fact, many Canadians are so keen to own a cottage they would be willing to cut their spending, go in with others to make the purchase, buy a "fixer-upper" place, or even just buy the land now and save to build on it later.

But once your dream cottage is finally yours, you also need to make sure you protect it. That is where knowing how to choose the right type of insurance policy is essential.

As the warm season approaches, these tips can help you evaluate your existing cottage insurance policy or select a new policy for the cottage you just purchased. If you find you have questions or need help picking a policy, we are happy to be of assistance!

Key Questions to Ask Yourself

If you have just bought your first cottage, you may not be sure yet how to answer some of these questions. But your answers will be important to determine what type of insurance and how much insurance you need, so think through these questions.

How often do you plan to visit your cottage?

If you plan to visit the cottage every weekend during the warm season, you may find your insurance premiums are lower than if you visit only occasionally. This is because you will be able to keep a much closer eye on your cottage and perform minor maintenance before a small issue turns into a big issue.

Do you plan to rent it out to other tenants?

Different insurers have different approaches when a cottage owner wants to list their seasonal property for rent. In most cases, if you have a fire alarm installed and you have a local person who is willing to check on the property before and after each short-term tenant visit, you will find coverage to be more affordable (although still higher than if you are the sole occupants).

As well, if you plan to rent to only people you already know, you may pay lower premiums than if you plan to rent your cottage out to strangers.

Some insurers place a cap on the number of weeks per year that a cottage owner can rent out their property, while others do not. In some cases, choosing a commercial insurance policy rather than a residential secondary home insurance policy will give you the coverage you need to earn extra rental income on your cottage and enjoy peace of mind that you are properly insured.

Do you intend to keep your cottage open year-round?

Insurers typically offer lower rates to cottage owners who have year-round road access to their cottage. This is mainly because of fire risks. If a cottage catches fire and there is no way to get to it during the cold season, claims will be much higher.

Of course, if your cottage doesn't have a road that is accessible year-round, you may still be able to get lower rates if you can find someone who lives in the area to check on it during the cold season. Installing a fire alarm can sometimes also help keep rates more economical.

Will your cottage serve as your primary or secondary residence?

In most cases, cottage owners declare a cottage as a secondary residence at least until they retire. In this case, often cottage owners will choose to add the cottage to their primary residence insurance policy as a seasonal or secondary residence.

If you do declare your cottage as your primary residence, you will have the usual tax advantages, as with any primary residence. In this case, you would need a full homeowner policy rather than a seasonal property policy.

Rider Options for Your Seasonal Insurance Policy

Most seasonal cottage insurance is issued on a named perils basis as opposed to all-risks coverage that is available on a comprehensive (primary residence) insurance policy.

The term "named perils" means there is a list of specific perils you are purchasing insurance to cover, such as fire, smoke damage, theft, or vandalism.

Depending on your cottage location and unique situation, adding on these riders may also make sense:

  1. Animal damage. Large, hungry wildlife such as bears or small, hungry wildlife such as raccoons can inflict a surprising amount of damage on an unattended cottage.

  2. Water or flood damage. Burst water pipes or sewer pumps or flood damage typically isn't covered in a standard seasonal cottage policy, but it may be available for an additional premium.

  3. Cottage contents insurance. If you plan to leave certain high-value items at your cottage (rather than taking them back and forth with you, which would keep them covered under your primary homeowner's policy), you may want to purchase additional contents insurance coverage.

  4. Recreational vehicles or watercraft. If you plan to store boats, jet skis, off-road vehicles or other recreational-use vehicles at your cottage, talk to your broker and be sure they are correctly insured.

  5. Storage sheds or detached spaces. If you have additional storage units or shelter sites for boats or off-road vehicles, check to be sure your seasonal insurance policy offers sufficient coverage for these as well.

Contact Mackay Insurance for Help

Cottage insurance, like any other insurance policy, comes with its own terminology and learning curve.

While it can take some time to understand the ins and outs of this specialized insurance product, the ongoing peace of mind you get from buying the right policy that fully protects your cottage investment is literally priceless.

Contact us for help today!

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4 Home Insurance Policy Types: How to Know Which One to Choose

home insurance fire

If you can imagine it happening to your home, there is a good chance it can happen. This is what the home insurance industry is all about.

Home insurance exists for one reason: to protect the single biggest investment most people ever make.

Buying home insurance is not a legal requirement in Canada, but if you have a mortgage, the mortgagee will require that you insure the home. Whether or not you have a mortgage, the possibility of losing perhaps your largest asset is too great a risk to assume—thus, virtually everyone who owns a home carries insurance on it.  

Not all home insurance policies are equal. In this article, learn about the four main types of home insurance policies and how to know which is right for you.

Type 1: Comprehensive Policy

If you are looking for the best coverage for both your house and the things inside it, you are looking for a Comprehensive policy. Not surprisingly, this is typically the priciest type of home insurance policy. In simple terms, both your house and most typical contents people have in their homes are insured against “All Risks.” This means they are covered for anything that could happen to them, unless a “peril,” or type of loss, is excluded on the policy.

Uninsured Perils

All insurance policies, even the most complete policies available, have some things that are not covered. For example: if you intentionally damage your own things, or if war breaks out, there is no coverage. With a Comprehensive, or All Risks, policy, it is important to review the things that are “not covered.” The good news with a Comprehensive policy is that if a peril is not on that “not covered” list—then it is covered.

In some cases, you can purchase additional insurance policies or riders to cover some uninsured perils. Flooding, earthquakes, and sewer damage are examples of uninsured perils that can potentially be covered under additional policies or riders.

Other uninsured perils are simply not insurable, such as terrorism, criminal behaviour on the part of the policyholder, or home issues deemed to be the result of maintenance left undone.

Insured Perils

Most of the common perils are not excluded on a Comprehensive policy, and again, if it is not excluded, it is covered. Though you will not see a list of what IS covered, common things like fire damage, theft of contents, smoke damage, water damage from a burst pipe, lightning strikes, wind or hail damage, and vandalism are not excluded and are therefore covered.

Type 2: Broad Policy

A Broad homeowners insurance policy gives you the same All Risks coverage on your house as a Comprehensive policy does. The only difference is that the coverage on your contents is reduced to “Named Perils” coverage. This type of policy is generally a little less expensive to purchase than a Comprehensive policy.

What does this mean for your belongings in your house? In simple terms, the policy will have a list of Perils that your contents are insured against. If a peril, or a cause of loss, is on that list, then there is coverage. However, if a peril is not on that list, then there is no coverage.

The list of perils that a policy like this covers your contents for is actually quite broad. Many of the common perils, like fire and theft, are covered on either a Comprehensive policy or a Broad policy. However, consider something unusual—for example, a deer wanders into your attached garage, becomes confused, and enters your house when the door opens (this has happened!). Once inside, it becomes disoriented and damages your contents before it finds its way back out. Is the damage it causes covered?

  • Under a Named Perils policy, it is covered only if one of the listed Perils is “damage caused by a deer.”

  • Under an All Risks policy (Comprehensive), it is covered—unless there is exclusion removing coverage for “damage caused by a deer.”

That is the difference in a nutshell between All Risks coverage and Named Perils coverage.  

Now, the above example of the deer in the house is an unlikely situation. In practice, the more common perils are covered under either a Comprehensive or a Broad policy. Because of this, the price of the two policies is often quite close.

If you are presently insured on a Broad policy, you should check with your broker if you qualify for a Comprehensive policy and what the additional premium would be. You might be pleasantly surprised how little it costs to move from a good policy (Broad Form) to the best policy (Comprehensive Form)!

That said, a Broad policy could be a great solution for a cottage that is more like a second home, where the concern is more about getting the best available coverage on the building than on the contents.

Type 3: Basic (Named Perils) Policy

As its name suggests, a basic homeowners policy is one that outlines precisely what is covered. The coverage that is provided on both the building and the contents is “Named Perils”—a peril has to be on the list of what is covered or there is no coverage.

This type of policy may be a good fit for homeowners who are willing to take on some financial risk in return for a lower premium payment. It may also be the best coverage available on a second home or an older building.

Type 4: No Frills Policy

A no frills policy is a policy designed for “special needs” houses—in other words, houses that have some type of structural defect or issue that would ordinarily make them ineligible for home insurance.

If you own a property of this type, such as a fixer-upper that you are working toward restoring or flipping, a no frills home insurance policy can protect it until you repair it and it qualifies for regular home insurance. This type of policy is sometimes called a “Basic Fire policy” because the perils that are insured are limited to fire damage and a few other very basic coverages.

Additional Home Insurance Coverage You May Need

Even if you opt for a Comprehensive policy, you may still need additional coverage depending on your home’s geographic location, high-value personal possessions, and/or a home-based business.

Water Damage

Sewer or septic back-up coverage usually must be purchased as a separate coverage. If your home is situated in an area that has a high risk of flooding, you will likely want to purchase additional flood insurance.

High-Value Personal Property

Also, if you have valuable items (stamp collection, jewelry, artwork, furs, vintage antiques, etc.) at your home, your regular home insurance typically will cover these items only up to a certain value. You will want to talk with your broker about a rider to cover these items.

Home-Based Business

If you run a business out of your home and store equipment, supplies, or inventory there, be sure to talk with your broker about adding coverage for these items as well.

You may also want to take out a business insurance policy separately to cover the needs of your business.

Actual Cash Value Versus Replacement Cost

Your homeowners insurance policy will pay a claim according to one of two different methods. Regardless of which policy you have, it is important to know which method your policy will use.

  • Actual Cash Value. This method reimburses you for damage or loss based on the actual value of the item at the time it was damaged or lost.

  • Replacement Cost/Value. This method reimburses you for damage or loss based on what it would cost you to repair or replace that item based on current prices.

Not surprisingly, it will cost you more to have your house and possessions covered based on replacement cost/value. But if the unthinkable happens and your home is destroyed by an insured peril, you want to be sure your coverage will be sufficient to rebuild your home and replace your possessions.

How to Choose Your Home Insurance Policy

Before you assume you can't afford as much coverage as you truly need for total peace of mind, don't forget that there are ways to get discounts on your premiums. Give our knowledgeable insurance experts a call. We can help you find the best coverage to suit your needs. As brokers, we work with many different insurance companies and will help find you the best coverage that is available within your budget.

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Is Your RV Sufficiently Insured? Here is How to Know!

rv insurance

According to RV Business, every year more than 1 million (yes, million!) RVs traverse Canadian roads.

An estimated 14 percent of all Canadians own RVs for living, camping, leisure, and fun. To this end, Canadians spend more than $4 billion annually on new RVs, RV maintenance, upgrades for owned RVs, RV storage and accessories, and more.

But how protected is your treasured RV from weather, accidents, theft, vandalism, and the sheer unknowns of life? This is an especially critical question to ask if you have just acquired your first RV and are unsure how to proceed to protect it.

In this article, learn more about the best way to insure your RV and ensure you have the right, sufficient coverage to protect your investment.

What Class Is Your RV?

In general, a recreational vehicle, or RV, is any type of portable accommodation. Some RVs are all-inclusive in that they serve as both transportation and living space. Some RVs, however, are more specialized.

Knowing what class your RV falls into is the first step towards obtaining the right type of insurance to protect it.

Here are the basic classes of RVs according to the Canadian Recreational Vehicle Association (CRVA):

  • Class A Motorhome. This is the "King" of RVs in terms of size, space, and luxury. It is fully motorized.

  • Class B Motorhome. Sometimes called a "camper van," this RV is built on a basic van structure with a raised roof.

  • Class C Motorhome. Often termed a "mini motorhome," this RV is based on a vehicle chassis with sleeping quarters above the driver and front passenger areas.

  • Travel Trailer. Sometimes called a "conventional travel trailer," this RV needs to be hauled via an attached hitch. (These tend to be the most popular choice, especially for those new to RVs.)

  • Fifth Wheel. As its name suggests, the fifth wheel RV is equipped with a fifth-wheel coupler hitch for towing by a pickup truck.

  • Folding Camper. The popular "pop-up" trailer is also called a folding camper or a fold-down camper. Designed to be lightweight and easy to tow, the sides are collapsible for easy transport and storage.

  • Toy Hauler. A toy hauler is more commonly called a "specialty hauler" and is often acquired for dual-purpose use to transport off-road ATVs and motorcycles during the day and accommodations at night.

  • Truck Camper. This small, detachable RV can be attached to a pickup truck bed for use and removed for storage.

  • Hybrid Trailers. Frequently termed the "expandable travel trailer," this RV has a sturdy main structure with ends that fold out into sleeping quarters.

  • Park Model. A park model could be considered a semi-permanent RV. It is wheel-mounted and can be moved, but is designed to stay stationary for periods of time, such as for summer camping.

The Basics of Saving Money on RV Insurance

Depending on the type of RV you own, you will need a basic RV insurance policy. This basic level of coverage can often be bundled in with other existing policies, such as auto and homeowners, to save money.

Specialty RV Insurance Issues

Of course, the type of RV you have selected and the way you plan to use it can make it a smart choice to acquire additional insurance as well.

Here are some common issues to talk through with your insurer:

International travel

Are you planning to travel outside of Canada? If so, make sure you have insurance that covers you when you are out of the country. As an example, vehicle insurance purchased in Ontario does not cover you if you cross into Mexico.

Emergency roadside assistance

If you experience a flat tire or engine trouble while out on the open road, you can purchase insurance that covers repairs and emergency assistance.

Personal property

Do you plan to transport off-road (ATV) vehicles, motorcycles, personal valuables, or other high-value items in your RV? Talk to your insurance broker and be sure these items are correctly insured.

Customizations and modifications

If you have taken the time (and expense) to equip your RV with special luxury accessories such as awnings, satellite and Internet antennas or dishes, high-value electronics, and other upgrades, be sure your insurance policy will cover theft, vandalism, and damage to or destruction of these items.

Disaster insurance

Fire, flooding, snow and ice, hail, trees falling, and airborne or roadway debris are all priority concerns, especially when your RV doubles as your residence part-time or full-time. Make sure you have sufficient coverage for these types of incidents that cannot be predicted in advance.

Additional Living Expense

If you live in your RV part-time or full-time, it is functioning as a place of residence. What will you do if it is stolen or becomes uninhabitable? Here, you will want to look at a more comprehensive rider that more closely resembles homeowners insurance in case you need to arrange for alternative accommodations while your RV is being repaired or replaced.

Contact Mackay Insurance Brokers for Help

Here at Mackay Insurance Brokers, we bring our combined 165 years of insurance expertise to bear on your behalf. We want you to feel confident that your insurance needs are well understood and provided for with an affordable policy that fully meets your needs.

To learn more and receive a FREE insurance quote for any of our products, you are warmly invited to contact us at 613-966-5740 (1-888-853-5552 for long distance) or online.  

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8 Ways to Keep Student Auto Insurance Premiums Low

student auto insurance

As a student, you certainly are no stranger to financial pressures. And if you are like many Canadian college and university students today, you can expect to graduate with a rather sizeable student loan bill to repay.

The key to navigating the “starving student years” and emerging with the means to repay your student loans and keep monthly bills reasonable is research.

Specifically, you can use the same skills that helped you get into university and earn good marks to get the best rates on auto insurance and other legally required expenses.

In this post, learn 8 key ways to keep your student auto insurance premiums as low as possible.

1. Buy only as much car as you can afford to insure

Just as a diamond will cost more to insure than a cubic zirconia, certain cars just cost more to insure than others.

This variance involves everything from the age and mileage of the vehicle to the engine power and number of special or after-market features added.

Too many Canadian drivers today have purchased their "dream car" only to discover after the fact that the insurance for that car puts them over budget.

In general, a four-door compact sedan with good gas mileage and a 4-cylinder or hybrid engine will likely be the most economical type of car to insure.

2. Earn high marks in school

While you are still a student, many insurers will offer you insurance discounts for keeping good grades in school. The main reason for this is that insurers see a correlation between being a good student and being a good driver.

So in this case, getting high marks will not only give you the best array of options in life, but it will also save you money on car insurance premiums.

3. Stay out of trouble on the road

If there is one thing you can count on, it is that getting into an accident or being cited for a moving violation will trigger an increase in your auto insurance premiums.

Since drivers ages 24 and under are considered to be the highest-risk drivers to insure, being involved in any type of traffic or driving violation will also cause your insurance payments to be higher than they would be for getting into the same types of trouble later on in life.

4. Get a policy as soon as possible

As soon as you start driving either part-time or full-time, your driver safety record starts building. This record will follow you from year to year, so you want to keep it as clean as possible.

You also want to begin building a safety record as soon as possible, because it will benefit you with lower rates as you age. Better to have a five-year clean record, say, from age 16 to 21, and be granted a lower insurance rate then, than to be 21 with no driver record history yet.

5. Get a rider on your parent's’ policy instead of your own policy

If you can begin your driving days by being listed as an occasional driver under your parents' auto insurance policy, you will pay less for auto insurance than if you took out an independent insurance policy as a young driver.

There are two main reasons for this:

  • Your parents will likely get a multi-policy discount, which will impact both your insurance rates and theirs.

  • You will be insured only as an occasional or secondary driver, which comes with a lower risk, since it implies less road time.

6. Be sure to ask about all possible discounts

Insurance companies today are highly regulated from province to province regarding the basic minimum insurance each driver is legally required to carry.

But where one insurer can differentiate themselves from the competition is with the discounts and perks they offer. Don’t assume they’ll tell you what those are: be sure to ask about all the discounts you are eligible for before you pick a policy.

Reasons for discounted insurance aside from the ones already mentioned in this post include the following:

  • Vehicle safety features (car alarm, VIN tracking, air bags, etc.).

  • Garaging (if your car is kept in a locked garage rather than parked on the street)

  • Membership affiliations (if you belong to an association that has a discount arrangement with that insurer)

  • New car

  • Low car mileage

  • Hybrid fuel

  • Usage (requires installing a mileage tracking device on your vehicle)

  • Winterizing (if you use winter tires)

7. Complete an accredited driver safety course

Most insurers reward drivers who complete an accredited driver safety course with a discount on the amount of their annual auto insurance premiums. Of course, this is because you learn safe driving tips by taking such a course.

You will need to provide your course completion certificate to quality.

8. Stay with the same insurer during your student years

In the ultra-competitive world of auto insurance today, insurers are keen to retain their customers in any way they can.

One newer discount that has emerged as a result of this is the insurer loyalty discount. Different insurers may have a different minimum as far as what constitutes loyalty (for example, three or five years with the same insurer).

But once you qualify, staying with the same insurer can net you this discount.

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How Business Liability Insurance Keeps Your Company Doors Open

business liability insurance

As of 2016, Canada is home to an estimated 1.17 million businesses. Nearly 98 percent of these are small, independently owned and operated businesses, of which half reside in Ontario and Quebec.

However, for every new Canadian business that opens its doors in a given calendar year, another one closes its doors for good. What is the reason for such a high rate of closure annually?

One reason is the lack of business liability insurance. In this article, learn more about how business liability insurance protects your company if you are found legally liable for events beyond your individual control as owner-operator.

4 Main Kinds of Business Liability Insurance

General liability

Let's say you produce a certain product. A customer uses it and gets injured. They pursue your company for damages. Here, general liability will protect your business if you have to go to court or pay out a settlement.

General liability insurance covers your company for four types of events: bodily injury, medical costs, property damage, and slander/libel.

Also, if your company runs as a sole proprietorship or a small partnership that does not afford you as the owner the protection of a legal corporate entity, general liability insurance can protect your personal assets if you need to sign for a business loan, if you have caused someone injury, or if either you or a business partner wishes to depart the company.

General liability can also include a number of specialty endorsements as may be required for your specific industry.

Umbrella liability

Now let's say you work in a high-risk industry. Court settlements, while rare, can and do bankrupt affected companies.

In this scenario, you may want to take out what is called an umbrella liability insurance policy to protect your company from damages over and above what a general liability policy will extend to cover.

An umbrella policy is especially beneficial if your company does business internationally, runs a fleet of company automobiles, or is involved in more than one type of industry.

Directors & Officers liability

Whether your company is for-profit or nonprofit, and regardless of its revenue or total number of employees, you’re probably governed by a board of directors. Here, while your directors and officers may do their utmost to protect your company from legal exposure, sometimes even their utmost may not be sufficient to protect them from personal liability.

In this situation, you may find it tough going to attract the kind of top talent you want represented in your board of directors—unless you provide each director and officer with the protection of Directors & Officers liability insurance.

With this type of policy in place, your directors and officers can continue to do their legal due diligence for your company without fear of reprisal on a personal level for actions they take on your company's behalf.

A Directors & Officers liability policy also covers your company both for financial losses and for payment of necessary legal costs incurred as a result of any action one of your directors or officers may take.

Errors & Omissions liability

Errors & Omissions liability is no longer recommended only for those companies that operate in very high-risk professions (i.e., accountants, lawyers, physicians). In today's litigious society, many businesses can benefit from having this protective policy in place.

Errors & Omissions liability insurance is designed to protect any individual acting in a professional capacity on behalf of your company. Here, a "professional" is considered someone who

  • has attended training to qualify for their role.

  • adheres to guidelines outlined by an industry professional association or organization.

  • operates under a set of provincial laws or regulations.

  • provides their services professionally on a fee basis.

A basic Errors & Omissions policy will provide coverage up to a moderate level in the case of a breach of contract, an incorrect appraisal, a delay in provision of services, a transmission of advice that was not true or complete, a design defect, and other similar situations.

Contact Mackay Insurance Brokers Today

At Mackay Insurance Brokers, we have proudly served our clients in the Belleville, ON, and surrounding areas for 35 years. When we first opened our doors, we had just a handful of clients. Today, our client list numbers well over 5,000 and is still growing!

Together, our professional staff has amassed more than 165 years of professional insurance industry expertise. As a fellow independent business, we remain committed to helping our clients obtain the most comprehensive and protective business liability insurance coverage at the most competitive rates.

To learn more and receive a FREE quote, you are warmly invited to contact us at 613-966-5740 (1-888-853-5552 long distance) or online.

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Life Insurance Basics: What Type, How Much, How Long, and When

life insurance

Life insurance is not the easiest topic to tackle. However, it is one of those topics your family will be relying on you to address—a true labour of love if ever there was one.

This is because life insurance is a reliable way to provide for your family's financial needs if the unthinkable should happen and you no longer can. Once you can work your way past the discomfort of thinking about this, the rest of the process is reassuringly practical: what type, how much, how long, and so forth.

In this post, learn the basic mechanics of how life insurance works so you can make the right decision for your family.

Types of Life Insurance

With life insurance, you have a variety of policy choices to consider. Each policy type revolves around the same two basic principles:

  • The policy premium. This is what you will pay to take out the policy, typically per month or annually.

  • The policy death benefit. This is what your beneficiary will receive should you pass away while holding an active life insurance policy.

There are two basic types of life insurance in Canada:

Type 1: Term life insurance

Term life insurance is simple and basic. It is also the least expensive type of life insurance, which can especially appeal to young families just starting out. This life insurance product gets its name from how it works. You buy term life insurance for a period of time called a "term." A policy term can be 5 years, 20 years, or more.

Here are the three basic things you need to know about term life insurance:

  • If the policyholder passes away before the term expires, the named beneficiary will receive a payout in the amount of the policy's face value.

  • If the policyholder does not pass away before term expiration, the policy simply expires.

  • Typically, the policy contains an option to renew for another term.

Term life insurance, due to its simplicity and practicality, is often the policy of choice for families. But in some situations, buying a more involved life insurance policy such as permanent life insurance can make good sense.

Type 2: Permanent life insurance

Permanent life insurance and its two subtypes—universal and whole life—are viewed as investment vehicles in their own right, similar in some ways to mutual funds or retirement funds.

So with permanent life insurance, your premium is comprised of two parts:

  • A premium towards pure life insurance.

  • A premium towards investment.

There are certain situations when a permanent life insurance policy may be the perfect solution to vexing financial issues, such as high current investment-related taxes or high anticipated capital gains tax on an estate released after probate to beneficiaries.

Typically, universal life and whole life insurance will differ in how the investment portion is handled and the degree of flexibility the policy holder has in determining how that portion gets invested.

The most important aspect here is to try each policy type on for size and see which one is a better fit.

How to Save Money on Life Insurance Premiums

Regardless of which life insurance product you select, the amount you pay in premiums will be directly related to the following:

  • Whether or not you smoke

  • Whether or not you drink

  • Your family health history

  • Your level of fitness

  • Your driving record

  • Your gender

  • The amount of life insurance you take out

So already you can see some clear ways to control the costs of what you have to pay in insurance premiums. However, even if you have some issues in your medical history that may drive up premium costs, there are other ways to save money as well:

  • Bundle your life insurance policy with other insurance products. If you purchase life insurance with an insurer you already do business with, you may be eligible for what is called a "multi-policy" discount.

  • Buy your policy in the first six months after your birthday. This way, your age rounds down for underwriting purposes and you can potentially qualify for a lower premium.

  • Turn down the "guaranteed life insurance" option. This option lets you skip the medical exam portion of qualifying for life insurance—for an extra fee. So there is no need to choose this type of policy unless you are in poor health.

  • Pay your premiums annually instead of monthly. Often, an insurer will reward the reduction in their administrative expenses by giving you a discount on your policy costs if you pay annually.

  • Renegotiate your premiums if your driving record improves. If an offense times out on your record, you can ask your insurer to review your premium costs again and potentially qualify for a lower rate.

  • Ask about additional discounts. A couple of examples are if your employer has a special deal with an insurer or if you belong to an organization that qualifies you for a discount.

Talk to Mackay Today

Mackay Insurance Brokers has been invested in providing our customers with the lowest rates on the best insurance products since 1977. Today, we proudly serve more than 5,000 clients in the Belleville, Ontario, and surrounding areas. Our staff has a combined 165 years of insurance industry expertise and we love putting that knowledge to work for you!

You can contact us by phone at 888-853-5552 or online. Don't wait: let us help you achieve peace of mind in knowing your family is well taken care of, no matter what the future holds!

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6 Tips to Get the Most Mobile Home Insurance for the Money

mobile home insurance

The estimated 33 percent of all Canadians who live in Ontario are lucky. In addition to permanent housing communities, Ontario features a wide assortment of seasonal RV and mobile home parks, many located in some of Canada's most beautiful natural spaces.

Whether you want to live year-round in a mobile home or you just want to take seasonal trips with your home in tow, one thing is for sure: you will want to bring mobile home insurance coverage along for the ride.

In this article, learn 6 key ways to get the most mobile home coverage for the least cash.

Tip 1: Know what you really need in a mobile home insurance policy

Mobile (alternately, manufactured) homes present different benefits and challenges than traditional foundation homes. So the policy you purchase for your mobile home should be tailored to address the risks you are most likely to encounter, as follows:

Trip Collision

Essentially, a mobile home is a home that can be moved. You may move your home frequently or rarely, but this makes the risk of collision more likely than if you had a home that was built to stay put.

What to look for in your policy: The option to purchase trip collision coverage.

Weather damage

Of particular concern here is wind, whether on its own or from hurricanes, tornadoes, or strong thunderstorms. Using tie-down straps can reduce but not eliminate the risk, especially if the weather is an earthquake!

What to look for in your policy: Options to increase the minimum coverage levels for your dwelling (structure).

Fire

The risk of damage from fire is increased when you live in a mobile or manufactured home. The major risks come from electrical distribution and cooking activities.

What to look for in your policy: Options to increase the minimum coverage levels for your dwelling and personal property.

Tip 2: Consider adding extra coverage for special circumstances

Perhaps you plan to live in your mobile home full-time. Or maybe your major use will be seasonal, for family trips. Or perhaps your mobile home will serve as a home office or workshop instead.

In each of these cases, the type of mobile home coverage you want may look slightly different. What is important here is to know whether your insurer offers riders to cover your specific use plans.

What to look for in your policy: Ask about secondary residence coverage, and if your mobile home will be a part of conducting your business, ask about adding on a rider for business liability insurance.

Tip 3: Know what your plan is if your mobile home gets destroyed

This is not ever something anyone likes to think about. But the truth is, Mother Nature happens when and where she pleases, and sometimes we just get inadvertently caught in the crossfire.

Because of this, think about what your situation might be like if your mobile home is rendered unlivable due to an insured accident or natural disaster. Where will you live? How will you pay your bills (especially important if your mobile home serves as a home office)?

What to look for in your policy: A replacement cost coverage rider and a rider for additional living expenses while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.

Tip 4: Consider protection if you plan to welcome house guests or visitors

Unless you plan to take your mobile home out into the wilderness and live there alone, it is quite likely you will want to welcome guests and visitors from time to time. As well, you may have other persons who venture onto your property, whether it is at your invitation or not.

If one of these persons falls and is injured or becomes ill while on your grounds or inside your mobile home, they may decide to pursue you for damages. It is definitely in your best interest to consider protecting yourself from these types of future unknowns!

What to look for in your policy: Ask about personal liability coverage.

Tip 5: Talk to your current insurers first to get a policy quote

If you already have an auto, commercial, life, or homeowners policy with an insurer, it is always a good idea to approach that insurer first and ask if they offer discounts for policy bundling.

Purchasing more than one type of insurance coverage with an insurer means there is the option to bundle them together as a package. Some insurers provide financial incentives to do this. It also works in your favor because to update your personal and billing information, renew your policy, ask questions, or make changes, there is only one call or online stop you have to make.

What to look for in your policy: Ask what incentives exist if you bundle mobile home coverage together with an existing policy.

Tip 6: Ask about what other discounts you may be eligible to receive

Provinces are permitted to set their own insurance minimums, which means it isn't always possible to get a lower price by lowering the minimum. But insurers can help you keep costs low by offering proprietary discounts, such as for paying in one lump sum, signing up for auto-renewal, having an excellent driving record, and more.

What to look for in your policy: Ask about any available discounts before you purchase a policy.

Contact Us for a Free Quote

Mackay Insurance Brokers Inc. has been successfully operating for nearly 40 years, and our clients in Belleville and Napanee now number 5,000+. With a jaw-dropping 165 years of combined insurance expertise between our staff, we are eager to help you get the most coverage at the most competitive price.

Contact Mackay Insurance today.

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5 Ways to Save the Most on Auto Insurance

auto insurance

In the world we live in today, insurance is a fact of life. We need insurance for our homes, our possessions, our vehicles, and even our lives.

Shopping for insurance of any type also comes with a learning curve. For example, the first time you buy an auto insurance policy, you may overpay. But as you learn the ropes, you pick up tips for how to get the most insurance for a lower rate.

In this post, shorten your learning curve by finding out what questions to ask and what perks to look for to save the most on the auto insurance you need!

Tip 1: First, check rates with the insurer you’re with

Let's say you already have a homeowners insurance policy with a particular insurer. But now you need auto insurance as well. Before you start calling around to gather quotes, check with the insurer you already do business with.

Often, a current insurer can help you save money through a multi-policy discount. This means that you get a discount for adding another insurance product to your account. This is called "bundling" or "consolidating," and it may save you as much as 10 percent on the combined cost of your insurance policies.

Not all insurance companies offer perks for bundling, but by choosing an insurer that does, you stand to save more than just cash. It is often simply easier to juggle insurance renewals, premiums payments (especially if you use direct deposit or e-pay), information updates, and other chores when you only have to work with one insurer.

After all, your time has a dollar value too, and if you can spend less of it managing your insurance products, even better!

Tip 2: Choose the right level of coverage for your vehicle and driving habits

Regardless of where you live in Canada, you will be subject to certain minimum auto insurance requirements. These minimums vary by province. You can use this helpful resource to find out what the minimums are in your province.

Beyond these minimums, you still have a menu of options to pick from based on your garaging situation, driving habits and vehicle type. These options should reflect what insurers call your "risk tolerance." For example, if you have an older vehicle that is paid off, you may want to retain only the province minimum insurance levels. But if you own a vintage or high-value vehicle, or you still owe a lot of money on the vehicle, you may want to add extra insurance in case you are involved in an accident.

Choosing the right level of coverage is not always about finding the cheapest possible price—it should be about covering your risk without putting you out of pocket, and having a deductible you can afford should anything happen.

Tip 3: Ask your insurer about family auto insurance plans

If you have young drivers and/or occasional drivers in your family, you may be able to save money by purchasing a family auto insurance plan instead of buying individual plans.

For young beginning drivers in particular, taking an accredited driving course often qualifies them for lower insurance rates on their first auto insurance policy. As well, according to the Globe and Mail, when your young driver works hard to keep excellent grades, drives only during certain hours or days, has no driving incidents (of course), and is listed as a secondary occasional driver on your household's primary vehicle, these can all help in getting you the most affordable family auto insurance policy.

By asking the right questions of your insurance provider and educating your young driver about how they contribute to rate changes on the family auto insurance policy, you can make sure you get the best rate of insurance for the most expensive kind of driver—a young driver.

Tip 4: Check auto insurance rates first before buying a new vehicle

If there is one thing that feels really awful, it is finding out you just purchased more car than you can financially afford to insure. The Toronto Star calls this "The Porsche Factor," citing statistics on the frequency of theft as one way to gauge your level of risk when purchasing a new car.

Some vehicles are simply more expensive to insure. This can be due to poor crash safety test ratings, a more powerful engine, special after-market modifications that may be more costly to repair or replace, a vintage status, or other factors.

Price out the cost of insuring a new vehicle before you sign the purchase agreement. This way, you ensure you haven't just bought too much car for your budget!

Tip 5: Consider adding extra safety features on your vehicle

While this may require an initial upfront investment on your part, it benefits both you and your insurer to make your vehicle as theft-resistant as possible.

Insurers are often willing to provide policy discounts in exchange for insuring a more theft-resistant vehicle, because their risk of having to pay out on policy claims decreases correspondingly with each additional theft deterrent option your car carries.

Contact Mackay Insurance Brokers Today

If you have questions about auto insurance and other insurance products, Mackay Insurance Brokers is here to help! We are a family-owned and -operated business with 35 wonderful years under our belt, serving customers throughout the Belleville and Quinte, ON, areas.

We offer a variety of individual and bundled insurance products, including auto, motorcycle, home, mobile/RV, commercial, and life insurance policies. You can generate a free quote right from our website! If you prefer, we can talk you through policy options and discounts over the phone or in person. Contact us at 888-853-5552 or online.

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10 Home Insurance Tips You Need to Know

home insurance tips flooded living room

Home insurance offers you the protection you need for times when unexpected tragedy strikes, but it can feel like such an unnecessary expense year after year if you’re not getting anything out of it. Nevertheless, it is not smart to get rid of it!

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the cost of your insurance premiums to affordable levels. Look for ways to save before you make a commitment.

1. Know What You Need

Homeowners’ insurance will pay to rebuild your home if it’s destroyed, but it can also pay for many other things. For instance, it could also cover the medical bills of someone who got hurt on your property or repair a roof that was damaged in a bad storm.

To get the right coverage, you need to know what things you do and do not need covered. For example, if your home has no risk of flooding, there’s not much sense in you paying for flood insurance.

However, those who live in older homes may need to consider additional coverage. The typical insurance plan does not include older details like wide-planked floors and stained-glass windows.

2. Shop Around

You probably already know you should shop around to get the best deal, but it’s time-consuming to go through the same set of questions with each insurance provider. Many people contact just a few of the top insurance companies and choose the cheapest one.

When you work with an insurance broker like Mackay Insurance Brokers Inc., we do all of the hard work comparing policies for you.

3. Read the Fine Print

Carefully read through the things that your insurance does and doesn’t cover. This is the only way you can be sure that you’re comparing apples to apples when you look at different policies. It’s also a great way to find add-ons you don’t think you need or potential trouble areas.

At Mackay Insurance, we know policies can be overwhelming. You don’t have to do this alone! We can help you prevent any negative insurance claim surprises, determine exactly what coverage you need, and find policies that meet those specific needs.

4. Increase Your Deductible

The quickest way to decrease your premium costs is to increase the deductible on your plan. Sure, you might not want to spend $1,000 to meet the deductible when you need repairs, but many people find it an easy trade-off, especially when you consider how unlikely it is that you’ll file a claim.

Ask to see how a higher deductible affects the annual premium before you make a decision.

5. Ask for Discounts

Insurance companies frequently offer a wide range of discounts. You might get a discount for working for a particular company, having good grades, belonging to a certain organization, having several smoke detectors in your home, or sticking with the same company year after year.

Talk to us about which discounts you may be able to qualify for.

6. Bundle Your Insurance

If you get all of your insurance from one company, you may be able to get a discount.

In addition to getting basic quotes for house insurance, ask about including auto or life insurance in the package. In many cases, the discount will be worth choosing the same company.

However, you do need to take the time to compare plans separately as well. For instance, if you recently filed an auto insurance claim, the insurance rate will probably be lowest at the company that currently holds your policy, and bundling might not get you a good deal.

Again, as your broker, Mackay Insurance can do the work of finding the best bundle for you.

7. Make Home Upgrades

Insurance companies determine their premiums after analyzing the risk of damage to your home. If you’re in an older home, the outdated electrical system makes a fire more likely. By hiring an electrician to upgrade the system, you’ll be able to reduce the cost of your insurance.

You’ll see similar reductions in home insurance premiums when you add safety features such as an alarm system or a bigger fence around the pool.

8. Improve Your Credit

Surprisingly, your credit score can also play a role in how much your house insurance costs. While you can’t do much about your credit score right now, improving it could mean you’ll get a better rate next year.

Make sure you pay your bills on time, reduce the amount of debt you carry, and check your credit report for fraud.

9. Reassess Your Plan Annually

Your needs change, and your insurance coverage should change accordingly. Each year, make a plan to compare policy premiums from a few different companies and check whether you need more or less coverage. For instance, if you’ve added a pool or bought a play set for the kids, you’ll probably need to increase your coverage.

If you quit smoking or filled in your in-ground pool, you may be able to reduce coverage. Rates can also increase or decrease based on things like neighborhood crime, changing weather patterns, or hitting retirement age.

When you work with Mackay Insurance, we can make sure you’re covered and saving money according to your changing needs.

10. Get More Advice About Reducing Costs

A qualified insurance broker is the best person to advise you on reducing your insurance costs. He or she will be able to look at your specific policy and make some suggestions. This personalized advice will make a big difference in your situation.

Mackay Insurance has been helping people find the right coverage for the best price since 1977. Let us make the insurance process stressless and affordable. Contact us to find out what your needs are and to help you compare your options.

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