Mackay Insurance Blog

 

COVID-19 Insurance Relief for Individuals & Businesses

Mackay Insurance provides updates information on insurance relief for both individuals and businesses during COVID-19

COVID-19 Insurance Relief for Individuals & Businesses

If there is one COVID-19 fact everyone around the world easily agrees on, it is this: the new novel coronavirus is wreaking havoc with budgets and bottom lines worldwide! 

This includes individuals, small businesses, big businesses and not-for-profit organizations of all sizes. It seems no individual or business is immune to the effects. The economic ripple effect from the unexpected pandemic is only now starting to make its impact felt.

In fact, 95%  of the calls we are receiving right now are calls to inquire about insurance for income loss and/or business interruption, auto insurance discounts and personal insurance benefits.

Callers want to know if the insurance they have been faithfully paying for all these months, or years, can help them in this time of near-universal struggle.

In this post, CEO Bruce Mackay of Mackay Insurance will answer your most frequently asked questions about insurance policy benefits as they may relate to COVID-19 relief. 

NOTE: Do you have a question that we didn't answer in this post? Use the contact information at the end of this post to send us your question!

 

Question #1: Auto Insurance Discounts - Are You Going to Get One?

The short answer to this question is "it depends on the insurer. 

Ontario province has adjusted regulations to permit auto insurers to offer discounts and/or rebates to customers who are driving less, due to COVID-19. This option will continue to extend for a full 12 months after the pandemic is officially over.

But officials have left it up to each individual insurer to decide if and/or how to administer financial relief to policyholders. 

Some insurers are choosing to be proactive and simply issue blanket financial relief to all policyholders. Some insurers are choosing not to offer relief at all. Some insurers are only administering rebates or discounts on a case-by-case basis - and often only if you, the policyholder, call them first to ask for these benefits.

The best way to find out if your auto insurer is providing rebates and/or discounts due to reduced mileage or changes in vehicle use is to contact your Mackay Insurance broker right away.

NOTE: You can find additional information about coronavirus-related changes to auto insurance in this blog post.

 

Question #2: What Happens If You Can't Pay Your Policy Premiums Due to COVID-19?

An enormous number of people in Ontarian are struggling to pay for essentials due to the pandemic shutdown. So it is easy to see how paying for insurance premiums might become a serious economic hardship.

Currently, it is up to each individual consumer or business insurance provider to decide how to handle requests for payment deferments and/or premium discounts due to COVID-19 related economic hardship; however, from what we have seen thus far, the majority of insurers are doing their best to provide special concessions to policyholders who are severely impacted by COVID-19. Many insurers are providing policyholders with generous deferments (where you can simply resume paying for your premiums at a later date) upon request.

The best way to find out what, if any, type of economic relief may be available if you can't afford to pay your insurance premiums on time is to contact your Mackay Insurance broker. 

 

Question #3: Will Business Interruption Insurance Cover You for COVID-19?

Recent events have conspired to make this the most controversial and hotly contested question in the insurance industry right now.

Traditionally speaking, the business interruption clause in most commercial insurance policies has not been designed to cover pandemic disruptions, at least according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

As Insurance Business Magazine points out, a recent Supreme Court ruling has rekindled hope that commercial insurers might provide benefits for coronavirus-related business interruption. However, since this ruling was not related to COVID-19, it may be a long road to try to apply this case as precedent to seek coronavirus business interruption benefits.

Because so many businesses are being economically impacted by pandemic-related shutdowns, we expect much more dialogue and debate on this question in the coming weeks and months.

For now, the individual wording of each commercial insurance policy is still the ultimate determinant of whether a pandemic-related shutdown constitutes business interruption for the purposes of triggering insurance benefits.

Some companies and business owners are choosing to take the matter to court, and at least one class action is in process due to denial of business interruption benefits coverage.

 The best way to find out if your particular commercial insurance policy may provide benefits for a pandemic-induced business interruption is to contact your Mackay Insurance broker to review your policy.

 

Question #4: Should You Get Travel Insurance If You Need to Travel During the Pandemic? 

Here in Ontario, the travel insurance industry is closely linked to official travel advisories and border closures.

Starting on March 13, 2020, when Canada officially posted the non-essential travel advisory, the majority of insurance providers stopped issuing travel insurance policies regardless of the reason for the trip. 

While some boutique insurers may still provide travel insurance policies for international travel outside of Canada, it is important to verify with the insurer that coronavirus-related travel delays and cancellations as well as medical benefits are included within the policy.

 If travel is a requirement for your job, your employer may provide travel insurance benefits to you as a part of your employment package.

If your travel is of a personal nature, the best way to find out the most up-to-date information about available travel insurance benefits is to contact your Mackay Insurance broker.

 

Get in Touch 

Do you have other questions about how the insurance industry is changing in response to the global pandemic crisis? 

Do you need help applying for insurance premium payment deferment or filing a claim related to the current economic shutdown here in Canada?

 Contact Mackay Insurance in Belleville online or give us a call at 888-853-5552.

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COVID 19 and Your Mackay Home Insurance

Mackay Insurance Belleville Provides Home Insurance Updates During COVID-19

COVID 19 and Your Mackay Home Insurance

Like many people, on March 16, 2020, Mackay Insurance in Belleville, Ontario began to transition our staff from our town office to working from home in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to do our part in protecting you. During this time, we have experienced quite a few phone calls in regards to this increased time spent at home. Many of our Quinte home owners have been asking whether their home insurance policies should be updated now as well, due to working from home, using business tools within their home, holding business property within their homes, renovations and home maintenance updates etc. Our Quinte team of certified home insurance brokers have many suggestions for our clients in terms of these working from home transitions. Keep reading as we reflect on these changes and advise on  your home insurance policies! If you have any questions or would like more information in regards to any aspect of your home insurance, please contact us!

Home Insurance - Working From Home

Most home insurance policies in Ontario don’t include home business coverage, nor do they extend liability to working from home.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies actually changed their policy in order to include this coverage, but after July they are expected to revert back to the policy wordings as before, which don’t include working from home.

If you are temporarily working from home or, like Amazon and other tech companies, making a permanent transition to your home office, we definitely recommend getting this noted by your insurer and getting liability on your home insurance policy extended as soon as possible.  This can be done very inexpensively as well! Contact one of our qualified home insurance brokers today and we will get this sorted out for you!

Home Insurance - Business Tools

Most homeowner policies in Ontario have limited coverage for business tools/business property while at your residence as subject to your home policy deductible.  Many of our Quinte homeowner clients have brought home desktops or laptops, as well as other materials from their business offices and it is important to make note of these within your home insurance policy.  It’s not uncommon for your home insurance policy to limit business tools and property to $2,500 - $5,000.  In many circumstances, however, this isn’t enough.  We recommend speaking with your employer about this to see if their insurance extends to their property while at your home, or if they can increase the limits. 

Home Insurance - Business Property

Many of our clients who are working from home keep their company property within their house, which most policies will extend to with limited coverage.  Some clients, however, have left company property in their car, which we highly recommend not doing. For security reasons, empty your car each night of business property.  Leaving a laptop in your car is an easy target, and can also make your employer vulnerable to cyber security issues and could jeopardize your employer’s willingness to allow working from home to continue in the future. 

Home Insurance - Renovations

With the onset of the current pandemic, many of Mackay’s clients have opted out of vacations and travel and have, instead, invested in updating their workspaces at home. This includes upgrading renovations within their home. An interesting statistic has emerged where fire claims have actually increased during this pandemic, due to many clients attempting to renovate their homes themselves. Unfortunately, encountering electrical and other issues causing more fire claims. We highly encourage and recommend ensuring you have the proper building permits and hiring professionals to do all electrical work for you.  Before and after you do renovations, please contact your Mackay Insurance broker to update your home insurance policy and limits, and to ensure that you have the proper coverage for water, sewer, and overland coverage.  

Review Your Property Policy

While most of our country is spending more time in their homes, we are highly recommending you consult your property policy and review the data with respect to any of the following updates:

  1. When was your roof last updated?
  2.  How old is your furnace?
  3.  How old is your wiring?
  4.  How old is your plumbing?
  5. What are your limits for sewer and overland water coverage?

Home Run Business Packages

For many, the transition of working from home is now permanent. 

At Mackay Insurance in Belleville, Ontario, we offer Home Run Business packages that will extend liability, and also increase commercial coverage for business property. To get a fast and easy online quote for updating your home insurance policy, please contact our team today or visit us online!


 

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COVID-19 and Your Mackay Auto Insurance 

Mackay Insurance Belleville, Rate Changes During COVID-19

COVID-19 and Your Auto Insurance 

On March 11, the global pandemic was issued with respect to COVID-19 - and our world, as well as our normal employment practices changed dramatically.

On March 16, the office culture of Mackay Insurance changed dramatically when the majority of our staff began working from home, rather than from our Belleville office location. 

We understand that these times are confusing, as we’ve experienced the struggle of unknown ourselves as well, but we want to assure you that Mackay Insurance has you covered. We know the importance of having up-to-date knowledge in the insurance sector - including general news, changes in rates, updated policies etc. - and we are here to provide you with that knowledge so that you can feel safe - even amidst this unknown time.

Our Quinte drivers have frequently been asking us about their auto insurance policies and how their rates have, or will be, affected since the COVID-19 pandemic continues. In order to ease your worry and provide some helpful knowledge on the topic of Quinte auto insurance and COVID-19, our team of brokers at Mackay Insurance have compiled the most important factors for you to review!  

 

How Is Your Mackay Auto Insurance Affected During COVID-19

Vehicle Use 

Before the start of this pandemic, your vehicle was rated for particular usage: 

  • Pleasure (For our Sunday drivers out there!)

  • Commuting

  • Business

  • Delivery 

Many of our Mackay Insurance clients are now inquiring, however, whether their auto insurance rates will be affected with the stay-at-home order. The short answer is yes, depending on what you are using your vehicle for currently and what it was used for previously, your auto insurance rate might be affected. If you have more questions regarding your own Mackay Auto Insurance rate changes, please contact one of our insurance brokers and we will be happy to discuss these changes with you further!

Delivery

Currently, if you are a business owner in Quinte and have been forced to allow for minor amounts of delivery within your business (ie. delivering essential services and products), Mackay Insurance will amend your policy so that these factors are included. 

Once the pandemic is over, however, you will need to advise your insurance provider about the continued deliveries and your rate will be adjusted accordingly. 

If you have further questions regarding these policy and rate changes, or how they might affect your current vehicle deliveries, let us know and we will clear this up as soon as possible with you! 

Annual Kilometers

Many people show their annual kilometers at 20,000, 16,000 or 10,000.  This is definitely a rating factor that should be reviewed every year, as we have found that most people will actually lower the number of kilometers driven this year, due to COVID-19. At Mackay Insurance, we strongly recommend each renewal cycle to review, assess and adjust accordingly. 

It is important to note that this year may indeed cause your kilometers to be quite a bit lower in comparison to other, more ‘normal’ years. In this case, you would need to contact your insurance company directly in order to adjust for this decrease. 

Each year, however, is subject to change and differs from what the previous year’s average might have been. For this reason, it is crucial that you contact your insurance company on the basis of any change so that they are able to adjust your rates accordingly. 

Pay By Use

CAA insurance has just introduced a product called MyPace Insurance. This product basically allows you to pay for the exact amount of kilometers you drive. This product is unique to the Ontario market and should be considered if you drive under 9,000 km on an annual basis. If you drive more than 9,000 km annually, however, our brokers at Mackay Insurance recommend that you stay with your current insurance ratings. If you would like to analyze your situation further with us, please let us know and we would be glad to go over these details with you!

 Drivers

When reviewing your policy, it is very important to ensure that all drivers within your household are known and listed on that policy. Many people try to save money by not listing a particular driver who holds a negative driving record - whether that be from an accident or a ticket - in order to save on their premium. Unfortunately, if this is the case within your household, you could be put in the uncomfortable position of material misrepresentation and/or voiding of your contract when it comes time to a claim. Take our advice and don’t put yourself in that position.  Simply review your drivers and your policy regularly so that you are constantly aware of the expectations and requirements. 

Accident Benefit 

When was the last time you reviewed your optional accident benefits? Perhaps you had a job which included disability or benefits before, but now, due to COVID-19 or employment downsizing, you have been forced to become an independent contractor with zero benefits.  This could impact your auto insurance. 

If you have reviewed your Mackay auto insurance before, but have recently experienced an employment change, we highly recommend that you review with us again. 

Disability benefits cap out at 70% of your gross income to a maximum of $400 a week. If you don’t have a group benefits plan, this limit may be highly inadequate.

Combining and Saving

Now is the time to review and adjust your policy limits and coverages with your insurance provider. By increasing your deductibles, combining property and auto insurance, and updating your usage, you could also save quite a bit of money! 

 

Contact Mackay Insurance in Belleville

Our team of brokers at Mackay Insurance are here to walk you through these insurance processes, to review and customize to your specific needs and help you find the auto insurance coverage that fits you best. During COVID-19, we want to ensure that you are getting the best package to fit your needs. 

Although we are working from home, we are just as committed as ever in providing you with the best possible solutions for your specific needs.

 

Be Sure, Insure with Mackay Insurance!

 

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Questions and Answers About Life Insurance and COVID-19

 

Questions and Answers About Life Insurance and COVID-19

It is the topic we all put off talking about until a pandemic suddenly unfolds. All at once, you may find yourself asking the question: is it too late to enrol in life insurance now? The answer, thankfully, is no; however, continuing to delay your enrolment to see how things play out may put you and your family at risk of coverage exclusions related to the new novel coronavirus.

Right now, health insurance providers are scrambling to calculate risk and overhaul policy terms accordingly. These new terms are likely to impact future policyholders of all ages, since COVID-19 and its secondary complications do not discriminate based on age.

 

How Will Coverage Be Handled For My Existing Life Insurance Policy?

If you have an existing, active life insurance policy right now, you are unlikely to experience any difficulties with coverage for COVID-19 related claims, provided you meet all other policy requirements. If you have questions about this, please contact us at Mackay Insurance and we can assist you in understanding your life insurance policy.

 

My Life Insurance Coverage Is Deferred - What If I Need to Make a Claim?

If your life insurance policy is deferred, your coverage will not activate until that period has concluded. It is, however, unlikely that COVID-19 related claims will be handled differently than other "death by natural causes" claims that relate to disease or illness.

 

I Want to Enrol in Life Insurance, But Will Coronavirus Claims Still Be Covered?

At this point in time, there is no vaccine for the new novel coronavirus. The pandemic is creating an unusually high demand for life insurance products - and for good reason.

As of time of publication, Canadian insurance companies (including Mackay Insurance in Belleville, Ontario) that offer life insurance products have not yet changed terms to exclude COVID-19 related claims.

There is no guarantee, however, that they will not choose to do so in the future, especially if available data indicates the outbreak is worsening.

What you need to know right now is that if you choose to enrol in a life insurance policy today, you will likely receive the same coverage terms that current policyholders have - all other aspects remaining equal.

 

I Have Tested Positive for COVID-19 - Can I Still Enrol in Life Insurance?

This is a slightly more complicated question, since different insurance providers may choose to handle this sensitive issue differently.

Speaking in the most general terms based on what is known right now, the most likely outcome is that you will be able to enrol in life insurance, even if you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are showing symptoms.

It is equally likely that the policy issuer will place your policy into a deferral period, pending the outcome of your diagnosis. If this is the case, it is not different from how insurance providers have handled policy issuance in the past when a serious illness or disease has been involved.

 

I Returned From China Recently - Can I Still Enrol in Life Insurance Now?

To date, it has become standard practice in the insurance industry to ask applicants to share details about recent or upcoming travels. Generally, these inquiries are limited to the past quarter or near future.

If you have recently returned from any region reporting a high incidence of COVID-19 cases, or if your near-future travel plans are taking you into such a region, the insurance provider may elect to place your policy into a deferral period.

I Have a Disability Insurance Policy - Can I Make a COVID-19 Claim Under That Policy?

This is a good question. Here, the claim would relate to loss of income due to COVID-19 diagnosis.

The type of policy you have (short-term, long-term) and the waiting period (typically anywhere from one week to two years) will dictate what coverage you receive.

The best-case scenario is this: if you have lost income due to COVID-19, and your waiting period has expired, and your disability insurance policy is still in force, it is likely your claim will be honoured.

It may also be worth asking your insurance company to waive the waiting period.

 

I Have a Critical Illness Insurance Policy - Can I Make a COVID-19 Claim?

If you have a current active critical illness insurance policy, your policy likely outlines the specific health conditions that qualify you to make a claim against your policy.

Since COVID-19 is a newly identified illness, it will not be listed. This means insurers will likely elect to exclude COVID-19 related policy claims.

You may have some wiggle room here if you contract a serious secondary complication due to being diagnosed with COVID-19.

In this case, as long as the secondary complication itself is on the approved list of covered critical illnesses, it probably will not matter that COVID-19 came first - your claim will most likely be approved.

 

Is Now the Right Time to Purchase Life Insurance in Ontario, Canada?

Here in the province of Ontario, the coronavirus pandemic is still a rapidly evolving situation. It is very hard to make any predictions about the progress of the virus even for the near future.

This means that the basic reasons to apply for life insurance remain the same, but may perhaps be more urgent now.

If you are newly married, caring for dependents (whether young or elderly), have children or are concerned about loved ones bearing the cost burden of your burial and funeral, this is an excellent time to consider enrolling in life insurance.

Perhaps the greatest value of a new life insurance policy is simply knowing your loved ones are protected.

 

Get in Touch

Do you have more questions about applying for life insurance and how that process might be affected during COVID-19? Our team at Mackay Insurance continues to work remotely, but we are here for you. You can read more here about how to reach out to your broker via phone. 

 

Contact us online or give us a call at 888-853-5552.

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May 15 CSR Team Update - Working From Home

Our CSR Team

Hi!

It’s Bruce Mackay from Mackay Insurance - currently working from home! Whether I’m dressed like this, or this, or even this, we’re here to help you!

You can reach me at extension 206 or email me at bruce@mackayinsurance.com.

Most of our staff during COVID 19 are at home and they’re here to help you!

Hi! I’m Holly. My extension is 209 and my email is holly@mackayinsurance.com.

Hi, my name is Wendy. My phone extension is 207 and you can reach me by email at wendy@mackayinsurance.com.

Hi! I’m Anita. I’m working from home! You can reach me by email anita@mackayinsurance.com or at extension 202.

Hi! I’m Donna Mitchell Perry. I’m working from home! You can reach me at donna@mackayinsurance.com or contact me at extension 204. Thanks and stay safe!

Hi! I’m Janet and I’m working from home! You can reach me at my extension 208 or email me at Janet@mackayinsurance.com. Thanks!

Hi! I’m Tara. You can reach me at extension 229 or tara@mackayinsurance.com.

So we’re open for business and here to help! Give us a call at 613 966 5740.

Be safe, and let’s stop this virus!

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May 15 Sales Team Update - Working From Home

Our Sales Team 

Hi!

It’s Bruce Mackay from Mackay Insurance - currently working from home! Whether I’m dressed like this, or this, or even this, we’re here to help you!

You can reach me at extension 206 or email me at bruce@mackayinsurance.com.

Most of our staff during COVID 19 are at home and they’re here to help you!

Hi, I’m Davin and I’m working from home! My extension is 219 and my email address is davin@mackayinsurance.com.

Hello! Don - extension 205. My email address is don@mackayinsurance.com.

Hi I’m Paul, I’m working from home where you can reach me at my email Paul@mackayinsurance.com or extension 211

So we’re open for business and here to help! Give us a call at 613 966 5740

Be safe and let’s stop this virus!

 

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April 24 Update - Check Your Business or Home Daily

Transcript

Hi again everyone, Bruce Mackay from Mackay Insurance.

You know, Covid-19 has impacted us in many ways. One of which, for business owners, is the shutdown of their business. For your buildings, you do need to check on them, and we recommend that you check on them daily.

There's a few things that you should be checking on:

First, check your sump pump. Make sure it's in working order. Also check your water systems, making sure if you have any sprinkler systems, fire extinguisers, or your plumbing - check for leaks.

Second, check on your heating and thermostat. Make sure your building is properly maintained.

Third, check on your roof. You want to make sure that there's not any missing shingles or any leaks.

Fourth, check on your property. It's a good practice to check it daily.

Also, if you're a homeowner, and there's been a change in your home or if you've had a rental home and it's now vacant. You do need to let your insurance company know. These are things that sometimes people forget. We recommend that if you have any changed use of your building, that you contact us as soon as possible.

These are trying times, and we're here to help. If you need any more information, please contact your broker or give us a call at 613-966-5740. You can also email us at info@mackayinsurance.com.

Please be safe.

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Tips to Keep Your Basement Dry - Mackay Insurance April 15 Update

Transcript

They say April showers bring May flowers, but they also bring floods, and claims.

Hi folks, Bruce Mackay here with a few tips to keep your basement dry.

First, check your downspouts and your eavestroughs. Over the winter, lots of things could have gotten into them and blocked them. Make sure you check the bottom and maybe get an extension that will take the water away from the house.

Second, if you're spending a lot more time at home, perhaps putting this on your project or to do list for the spring is to make sure the grading is pulling away from the house. So as water comes off your roof it doesn't go back towards the house, but goes away from the house.

Third, check your sump pump. Sump pumps that haven't worked in a while, you want to make sure that they're in good working condition. As well, we get storms in April and should the power go out, you need to look into getting a battery backup system. The life span can be anywhere from ten to fifteen years on a sump pump, and if yours is older than that, perhaps replacing it and getting a battery backup system in place would be a good idea.

For all these and more tips, contact your broker. We are working away from the office right now. You can contact us by phone at 613-966-5740, leave a voicemail and we'll call you back, or by email at info@mackayinsurance.com.

Please be safe. We'll see you next week.

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Mackay Insurance Update April 9 - From Bruce Mackay

Mackay Insurance Update April 9 - From Bruce Mackay

Video Transcript

Hi There. Thanks for joining me today.

As you may or may not be able to tell. I'm coming to you from my home office. This is my living room.

Due to Covid-19, to protect most of our staff, we have moved them to working from home.

While our offices at 35 Jim Kimmett Blvd in Napanee and 211 Dundas St. East in Belleville are temporarily closed, we are definitely open for business.

You can contact us by phone at 613-966-5740 - you'll likely get voicemail, but we will likely call you right back.

Also, you can email us (see our staff list here).

Over the next week we'll be relaunching our app and customer portal. You can go online and get your documentation as well as your liability slips directly. It's a self-serve option and it'll be really slick when it's launched.

As well, we just launched something on our website where you can pay your policy by credit card (link). As well you can send your e-transfer instead of coming in to the office. You can e-transfer to us at liz@mackayinsurance.com.

From all of my staff, we want to wish you well, we want to wish you safety, during these challenging times. And we will be in touch with more announcements in the coming weeks.

Be safe everyone.

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5 Steps to Shop for Car Insurance Online in Ontario

key with insurance tag for auto insurance

Sometimes it seems you can buy just about anything online today.

Car insurance is no exception.

It has never been easier than it is today to shop for car insurance online in Canada.

But in exchange for the convenience of doing your research from home, you give up some potential cost savers that come with shopping over the phone or in person.

Plus, the world wide web is like the last Wild West frontier for shoppers – if you don’t know how to tell if an online auto insurer is legitimate, you might get taken for the wrong kind of ride.

In this post, we outline our tips for shopping effectively for car insurance online here in Ontario. Of course, you can always contact us directly for an insurance quote. We’re happy to do the shopping for you and find the best rate available for you from all of our vendors.

1. Get all your auto insurance needs down on paper

This may not be something you feel confident to answer yourself. But you can at least familiarize yourself with what the province of Ontario requires as far as a basic car insurance policy.

At the time of this post, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario mandates that your car insurance policy must at least meet the following requirements:

  • Third party liability coverage: $200,000 minimum

  • Income replacement benefit: 70 percent of gross income (up to $400/week)

  • Medical rehabilitation/non-catastrophic: $65,000

  • Medical rehabilitation/catastrophic: $1 million

  • Catastrophic/caregiver: $250/week for dependent 1 and $50 for each additional

  • Catastrophic/home: $100/week

  • Death and funeral: $25,000 payout to spouse; $10,000 payout to each dependent; $6,000 funeral expenses

These are the minimum legal requirements and are not adequate for anyone. As an example the minimum liability limit anyone should consider is $1,000,000, and the other minimum limits should be reviewed. However if you do an online quote for “basic coverage,” this may be all you are buying. Check what you are getting a price on against this checklist so you know what has been upgraded and what has not.

These minimum coverages also do not give you insurance on your car – for example, if it is stolen or if you bump into someone in a parking lot and your car is damaged.

2. Write down all possible savings and discount options

Because carrying car insurance is mandatory in Ontario, once you know the coverage you want, the coverage that companies provide will be similar. 

Where insurance companies can and do get competitive is in the types of discounts, savings and perks they offer their customers.

Here are examples of savings and discounts you may be eligible to receive:

  • Discounts and perks for memberships you have, and groups you are part of. As an example, at Mackay Insurance we represent one insurance company that will give a discount for CAA membership, and another insurance company that will reward you with Air Miles points.

  • Good driver discount: Accident-free for a certain period? This could save you money.

  • Discounts for how you pay your premium – you may be able to save money if you want to pay in two or three installments instead of in 12 monthly installments

  • Multiple policies: if you insure your cars and house with the same broker, you could get a valuable discount.

  • Good grades: For younger drivers, good grades can sometimes save you money on your policy.

  • On-board driver tracking device: part of a new breed of insurance policies called “usage-based insurance,” some insurers now offer savings for drivers who allow their driving to be monitored in real time.

  • Limited vehicle usage: If you drive only during certain hours of the day or on certain days or at certain times of year, this could lower your premium.

  • If you keep your car on your private driveway or in your garage at night instead of parking it on the street, you may be eligible for a discount.

3. Consider your deductible comfort zone

If you are still paying off a loan on your car, the lienholder may limit what your deductible options are.

In general, raising your deductible will lower your car insurance premiums. Just be sure you don’t raise your deductible beyond what you could readily pay out of pocket if your vehicle gets damaged. Get the price difference on a few deductible options and find the balance that makes sense. If a much larger deductible saves you only a few dollars, keep the lower deductible.

4. Be sure to verify that the insurer is licensed to provide policies to Ontario residents

This is a big one! When you shop for car insurance online, the burden is on you to be sure the quote you receive is from an insurer who is licensed to provide policies to Ontario residents.

Here at Mackay Insurance, we have heard just about every horror story there is about how customers got taken for a ride by unethical insurers.

We don't want this to happen to you! If you end up without insurance, you get hit three times. You may not be able to get back the premium you paid to an unethical, unlicensed company. You may pay a fine for not having proper insurance. And you won’t have the coverage you thought you were buying.

When in doubt, the best way to verify that the insurer is legitimately licensed to do business in Ontario is to contact the Financial Services Commission.

5. Research the insurer thoroughly before choosing your policy

Even after verifying that the insurer is legally permitted to offer you an auto insurance quote, you should do additional research to make sure the insurer has positive ratings and is in good standing in the community.

Look for independent reviews and read what other customers say about working with that insurer. Verify that the insurer has a local office, a brick-and-mortar physical location where you can meet with brokers or claims adjusters in person if you need or want to.

Get in Touch

Do you need help shopping online for Ontario car insurance? Our friendly, knowledgeable brokers can assist you!

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-888-853-5552.

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5 Tips to Help You Choose the Right Amount of Life Insurance

how much life insurance coverage do i need

Buying life insurance is never fun. But it doesn't have to be difficult or even stressful.

In fact, life insurance as a product is actually designed to help ease stress, worry and anxiety in your life.

With the right life insurance policy by your side, you can wake up each day knowing your loved ones will be taken care of financially should you suddenly be unable to provide for their needs.

But getting there can feel daunting, especially when you are trying to figure out which type of life insurance product offers what and how much of it all you actually need.

In this post, we aim to demystify and simplify life insurance step by step so you can select the right policy with ease and confidence.

Step 1: Choose Between Term and Permanent Life Insurance

There are two basic umbrella categories of life insurance: term and permanent.

Term life insurance

Term life insurance is the simpler of the two types of life insurance you can buy here in Canada.

Term life insurance gets its name from how it works: the policy is active for a set term and activates only if the policyholder dies. Once the policy term expires, it is necessary to buy a new term life insurance policy to stay covered, and the premium for the next term will generally be higher.

The one exception is if you purchase a convertible term life insurance policy. In this case, you can convert your policy into a permanent life insurance policy as long as you do so before the term expires.

You should choose term life insurance if:

  • You have debt and just need to know your family has financial protection in place until the debt is retired.

  • You have a limited budget for life insurance and need predictable premiums.

  • You are building an investment portfolio elsewhere.

Permanent life insurance

Permanent life insurance is sometimes also called universal or whole life insurance, although there are some important differences about each.

Essentially, permanent life insurance is a type of policy that is, as its name implies, permanent - it stays with you throughout life and your premium is generally the same for your entire life. It also has a value in addition to the amount it pays out when you die, so it is like a combination life insurance policy and investment.  

As such, permanent life insurance is often viewed as both a protective policy and an investment policy.

You should choose permanent life insurance if:

  • You want to add life insurance to your investment portfolio.

  • You are able to afford the higher premiums for having a cash value to your policy.

  • You want to offer your dependents a guaranteed death benefit payout.

  • You are interested in the tax benefits from holding a life insurance policy.

  • You want the flexibility to access the equity on your policy in emergencies.

Step 2: Decide How Much Life Insurance You Need to Buy

Because the whole topic of life insurance can feel emotionally charged, it can be good to talk through this step in the decision-making process with your insurance broker.

Having friendly, knowledgeable, objective input can really simplify the planning process.

We like to give our clients this simple 4-step worksheet:

1. How much debt are you carrying?

You may have a car note, a mortgage, student loans, credit card debt or all of the above.

In the event your income suddenly ceases, these creditors will be first in line to gobble up any available resources.

So you definitely want to make sure you purchase sufficient life insurance to cover your debts until they are paid in full.

2. Who is financially dependent on you?

Do you have a spouse? Children? Grandchildren? Elderly parents? Pets?

Consider who among your loved ones may find themselves in sudden financial distress if you were to pass prematurely.

3. What is your monthly net income?

At the very least, you want your life insurance policy to be able to cover your ongoing monthly financial obligations (such as debt) plus replace your monthly net income.

4. What are your dependents' future financial needs?

If you are saving for a child's higher education or have an aging loved one who may need future care, these are examples of financial needs to factor in when choosing your policy amount.

Buy Earlier And Pay Less in Life Insurance Premiums

Like any insurance product, life insurance premium quotes factor in a variety of risk variables.

The major risk variable when it comes to life insurance, however, is, well, death. So it just makes sense that you may well pay lower insurance premiums when you are young.

This can be helpful for budgeting as well as future financial and investment planning.

Other Ways to Save on Life Insurance Costs

You may also be able to trim your premium costs by taking advantage of these cost-saving tips.

  • Ask your employer about group life insurance (employer-sponsored life insurance).

  • Opt for term life insurance if premium costs are a real issue.

  • Choose a shorter term up front.

  • Use a life insurance broker like Mackay Insurance that can shop around for the best rates on your behalf.

  • Pay for your premiums once annually instead of monthly or semi-annually.

  • Ask about preferred rates (these can include non-smokers, health history, etc.).

  • Buy a stand-alone life insurance policy instead of mortgage life insurance.

Get in Touch

Do you need expert, objective guidance to help you protect your loved ones through the purchase of a life insurance policy? We can help! Just complete this simple online form to get a no-obligation life insurance quote.

Contact us online or give us a call at 888-853-5552.

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Take Water Safety to a Whole New Level With Boat Insurance

knot on dock

Next to your home and personal vehicles, your boat may represent one of the biggest investments you make in life.

Yet far too many boat owners neglect the one task that will protect this investment no matter what life or open waters may bring: boat insurance.

We know buying boat insurance isn’t exactly fun. It isn’t why you wanted to invest in a boat. Just tending to the maintenance itself is no joke – that boat of yours probably keeps you pretty busy even in the off-season!

But this is also why winter is the best time of year to talk with your Mackay Insurance broker and find out what boat insurance has to offer. This way, you can look forward to your launch this spring with confidence that your investment is completely protected!

What Is Boat Insurance?

Boat insurance is designed to protect certain categories of watercraft, whether motorized or not.

The main categories of covered watercraft include:

  • boats (both motorized and non-motorized)

  • watercraft (like jet skis, inflatables)

  • motors

  • equipment (GPS equipment, dinghies)

  • boat trailers

If you are not sure if your boat or watercraft will qualify for boat insurance, our friendly Mackay brokers are happy to talk about it with you.

What Does Boat Insurance Cover?

Boat insurance policies are designed to cover you in a number of different categories. You may need all or some of the types of coverage a boat insurance policy is designed to provide.

Boat insurance, like most insurance products today, can be customized to your unique needs and concerns.

These are the basic categories a standard boat insurance policy will offer coverage for:

Liability

Liability coverage is the big one for most boat owners, regardless of craft type; it will protect you if you get into an accident with your boat that causes injuries or fatalities or harms another person’s property.

Emergencies

Emergency services can include coverage for boat repairs or towing.

Damage to the boat itself

All-risk coverage protects you for the types of events you simply cannot foresee.

Some examples include damage, theft, vandalism, destruction, weather, fire, explosion, lightning strikes and other situations that are beyond your control that cause damage or destruction of your boat and related property.

Do You Really Need Boat Insurance?

This is a really good question! Be aware that some types of low-value, low-liability watercraft may actually be covered under your homeowners insurance policy. Examples include canoes and kayaks.

But when you start to get into boats as an investment, it is time to look at standalone boat insurance rather than a rider on your homeowners policy. (As a side benefit here, taking out a standalone boat insurance policy will also safeguard you from an increase in homeowners insurance premiums if you have to make a claim for your boat.)

When it comes to determining how much boat insurance you need, there actually is no “one size fits all” answer to this question.

Rather, the boat insurance you need is dependent on the value of your boat and related property, the type of power your boat uses, your usage patterns, the type of storage you have for your boat/property, who can use the boat, what type of trailer or hauling vehicle you use and other factors.

How Much Boat Insurance Do You Need?

One big question all new boat owners typically have is how to figure out how much boat insurance you need.

As a general rule of thumb, if your boat is valued at $100,000 or less, you will pay about 1 percent of its value annually for your boat insurance policy.

Here, this would mean that insuring your $100,000 boat would cost you about $1,000 in boat insurance annually.

All things considered, paying $1,000 for a boat worth $100,000 is a very reasonable cost to protect the value of your investment.

Are There Discounts for Boat Insurance?

Many boat owners are happy to learn that discounts can apply to boat insurance.

Here are some discounts to be sure to ask about when you talk with your broker about boat insurance:

  • Multiple policy discounts (if you carry more than one policy with the same insurer)

  • Full lump-sum premium payment (if you pay for the full year at one time)

  • Power Squadron or other boat safety courses

  • Homeowners insurance discount 

  • Member discount (if you belong to a boat club or association)

  • Dry dock discount (if you store your boat at a dry dock instead of on the water)

  • Usage discount (if your usage patterns are moderate or seasonal)

  • Good credit discount (if you have an excellent or good credit score)

Get in Touch

Are you considering a boat purchase? Contact one of our friendly, knowledgeable brokers before you buy to find out what your insurance rate will be.

Contact us online or give us a call at 1-888-853-5552.

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