Mackay Insurance Blog
Insurance is our business, so of course we are passionate about what we do!
But honestly, in the four-plus decades our doors have been open, we have yet to meet a new client who is truly excited about buying insurance.
Insurance generally falls into the “must-have” category rather than in the “want to have” category. You know you need it and you understand the risk of not having it, so you put a line item in your annual budget and you renew your policies when their renewal dates arrive.
But if purchasing insurance itself isn’t particularly fun or exciting, imagine what it feels like to learn you have been paying more for your insurance than you need to! That is the real bummer in our industry, and one we want to help our clients avoid!
In this post, learn seven key tips to make sure you are paying a fair price for your insurance.
1. Check Your Credit and Ask Your Insurer to Do the Same
In today’s global online marketplace, where many industries now service a provincewide or even nationwide clientele, credit scores are more important than ever as a screening factor.
Your credit history and score can say a lot about how you handle money and debt. When you’ve worked hard to keep your credit score high or you have worked hard to repair your credit after a tough situation, you deserve the benefits that now affords you!
One benefit can be a lower property insurance premium. You can even pull your own credit score first, review it and clear away any issues. When it is squeaky clean, ask your insurer about credit rating and insurance—you may just earn yourself a discount!
2. Bundle Your Insurance Products
The insurance industry is heavily regulated by provincial and national laws, but oddly, this just makes the competition stiffer to win and keep new clients.
We attract and retain customers through excellent customer service. This includes looking for discounts for our customers. A perk many insurers offer is premium discounts when a customer takes out more than one policy. For example, maybe you have a home insurance policy with us, and now you want to take out an auto insurance policy as well. Or perhaps you have your auto insurance policy with us and your spouse is insured somewhere else. Let us take a look at bundling everything for you. The discounts can be substantial when you bundle more than one insurance policy together with a single insurer.
3. Find the Cheapest Way to Pay
Another easy way to cut insurance premium costs is to opt for the cheapest payment plan the insurer offers. This all relates to the insurer’s own costs of processing payments. You can pay for the year up front, or with many insurers, a three-payment option does not carry any service charge at all.
If one of these payment methods aligns with your budget it can net you a discount of 3 percent or more, without lifting a finger!
4. Review Your Coverage Annually
Your life does not stand still. You add a deck to your house. Babies are born. Kids leave for university. You swap out that old oil furnace for a new propane furnace. Your income changes. You decide to close in your swimming pool. An aging parent has moved into that basement bedroom that your university-aged son or daughter vacated. The policies that fit you perfectly five years ago may not fit who you are today. You may have new exposures that need to be looked at, or you may be paying to insure things you no longer need to insure.
You should make a point to review your insurance policies when they renew each year, and phone or stop in every few years to go through them in person with a broker. Tailoring your insurance to your current needs can sometimes deliver a surprising number of savings!
5. Increase Your Deductible
Even if you aren’t able to find any areas where you are over-insured, there may be options to raise your deductible (the amount you pay out of pocket if you make a claim) and realize cost savings.
The one caveat here is that you should not raise your deductible above the amount you can comfortably afford to pay if you do have a claim under that policy.
6. Don’t Call In That Claim
In the same way that you have to do a bit of forecasting to figure out how much insurance coverage to take out each year, so too does your insurer have to forecast to figure out how to keep the insurance business affordable for clients yet still profitable for the company.
Many insurers now offer a “claims-free” incentive or discount for clients who have not filed any claims for a specific period of time. Sometimes this incentive increases with the amount of time the client has been claims-free.
Not only is it quite likely that your next year’s insurance premium will go up if you file a claim (since this makes you more expensive to insure), but also you will forfeit any claims-free incentive your insurer is offering.
This is not to discourage you from filing claims, necessarily, but simply to say that if your claim is for something small or something your deductible barely covers, it may be worth your while to just pay that particular expense out of pocket to keep your premiums lower.
7. Adjust Your Coverage As Your Property Ages
Your auto is one of the biggest-ticket items you will ever own. But as a car ages, the cost of maintaining full insurance coverage may outweigh your actual benefits.
This can be worth exploring if you are insuring an older vehicle.
Get in Touch
Have questions or want to review your insurance coverage before you renew? Contact us online, or give us a call at 888-853-5552!
Many renters don’t think about tenant insurance unless their landlord requires proof of a policy as a condition for renting.
It is all too easy to look at renting as a “no responsibility” situation—you pay for the space you live in and your landlord takes care of the heavy lifting for things like repairs and insurance. Many renters in Canada don’t carry tenant (renter's) insurance!
This strategy can backfire. As a renter, you are exposed to serious liability issues, both in your home and away. The easy and affordable solution is to buy a tenant insurance policy.
In this post, we take a close look at the benefits of tenant insurance so you can decide if now is the right time to take out a policy.
What Is Tenant Insurance?
You can bet that your landlord carries an insurance policy that protects the premises and structure of the building itself. However, for all intents and purposes, your landlord’s policy ends at your front door.
What lies inside your space—your possessions—is not covered by your landlord’s insurance policy.
This means that tenant insurance is the policy you need in order to protect personal items you have spent your hard-earned money to purchase.
The Star reports that tenant insurance often costs less than $1 per day and calls taking out a renter insurance policy a “no-brainer.”
But is it, really? Let’s take a look at exactly what a typical tenant insurance policy covers.
What Does Tenant Insurance Cover?
The typical basic tenant insurance policy covers two key things:
1. Personal property
Your personal belongings will be covered up to a certain dollar amount. You will select the amount of insurance needed to replace your possessions. You can add policy riders if you have high-valued jewelry, cameras or other special property and collections.
Many young renters in particular take the position that their personal possessions are not valuable enough to take out a renter policy. It is important to test out that theory by making a list of your valuables, assigning a dollar value to each. Though you have used your furniture and clothing and perhaps could not sell it for much, most tenant policies insure property for the cost to replace the item with new property—new for old.
For example, you might be readily able to replace your laptop or your watch if one of these items was stolen. But would you be financially able to replace all of your valuables at the same time if your home was broken into and robbed?
As well, if you choose to take your personal property outside your home and put it in the car and your car is broken into, your tenant insurance policy will still cover the loss. The same holds true if a valuable item is stolen or damaged on a trip or while you are running errands.
2. Personal liability
Personal liability is often an area of confusion for many. What does “personal liability” mean? You can be held liable (legally and financially responsible) for actions you take that cause harm to other people or damage to their property.
For example, let’s say you light a candle and fall asleep. Meanwhile, the air conditioning comes on and blows the curtains into the candle flame and they catch fire. By the time you wake up, the fire is spreading from your apartment to nearby units.
Without a renter insurance policy to protect you, you could be held liable for the damage your actions caused to your landlord’s building and other tenants!
Personal liability also covers you in case someone visits you, trips and falls, and decides to sue you. If you are away from home and cause injury to someone else that is not auto-related, your personal liability coverage can also protect you.
Tenant Insurance: Replacement Value Versus Actual Cash Value
You can choose whether to purchase a tenant insurance policy that covers the full replacement value of your personal items or the actual cash value at the time your items were stolen, lost or destroyed.
Opting for a policy that covers the full replacement value ensures you won’t have to dip into your own pocket to account for depreciation or changes in market price.
Tenant Insurance: All Risk Versus Named Perils
There are two types of renter insurance policies: all risk and named perils. Under an all risk policy, only perils that are specifically excluded in the policy fine print will not be covered.
Under a named perils policy, only perils that are listed in the policy are covered.
Perils, as the name suggests, is a term that means bad things that could happen. For example, a flood is a peril. So is a fire. Theft, vandalism, wind damage, water damage, rain or hail damage, even getting struck by lightning, are all considered perils.
Tenant insurance typically covers these types of perils so that if your personal items are lost due to any of these occurrences, you will have coverage to replace them.
Additional Living Expenses Coverage
Tenant insurance also covers your expenses if an insured event beyond your control causes your rental home to become uninhabitable and you need to live elsewhere until repairs can be made. For example, let’s say there was a fire and now your landlord needs several months to make repairs before you can move back in.
Where will you stay? How will you eat? These costs can really add up, especially if you don’t have a friend or family member who can afford to put you up at no cost while you are waiting to move back into your unit.
Get a Free Tenant Insurance Quote!
It is free and easy to generate a quote for tenant insurance. Just visit our quick quote generator tool to get started.
If you have questions or want to speak with an agent personally, give us a call at 1-888-853-5552!
It is exciting to get a new home-based business up and running! For many Canadians today, being able to work from home profitably is a huge “bucket list” goal.
The number of home-based businesses throughout Canada grows each year, which is great news for Canada’s economy.
However, a surprising number of home-based business owners do not realize that their home insurance coverage may not provide coverage for claims associated with their home business operations.
This can put both the business owner and the business at risk of exposure to liability and legal issues. In this article, we talk about why we recommend home-based business insurance.
What is Home-Based Business Insurance?
As the name implies, home-based business insurance is an insurance policy that is specifically tailored to the unique needs and potential liability issues of a business that is operated out of your residence.
What Are the Types of Home-Based Business Insurance?
There are two basic types of home-based business insurance. It is important to talk to your broker about your business and determine which of these solutions is right for you.
Extension of an existing homeowners policy
The first type of home-based business insurance can be provided through an extension of your existing home insurance policy.
This type of insurance may fit your needs if your business has just one or two employees without a lot of foot traffic through the home (customers, vendors, employees).
Standard business insurance policy
If you have a larger or more high-value business, or you are storing business inventory at your home, you may need a standard business insurance policy instead.
What Does a Home-Based Business Insurance Policy Cover?
Both types of home-based business insurance policies offer certain standard features that all business owners should have in place.
For general purposes, the majority of home-based businesses have several types of business-related property kept on the premises to help run the business.
Examples include home office equipment (desks, file cabinets, printers, scanners, computers), business inventory (raw materials, finished products, packaging, marketing materials) and cash reserves.
Your property coverage typically provides coverage for business property losses in your home and any items you may transport for business purposes that are lost, stolen, vandalized or destroyed while you travel.
Your cash on hand needs to be looked at separately. You will need the correct amount of insurance, and insurance against the correct perils. As an example there is different coverage needed to protect you if someone breaks in and steals your cash (theft), if someone holds you up at gunpoint on the way to the bank (burglary), and if an employee steals from you.
Business liability coverage will protect you if, for example, a customer is injured while at your home. It can also protect you from legal issues that arise from damage that can be traced back to your company’s services or products.
Business interruption insurance is a valuable resource for small and home-based businesses in particular, since often even a short interruption may greatly impact the viability and health of the business.
Business interruption insurance can compensate you for being unable to run your business due to your place of business (in your case, your home) being unusable due to a fire or other insured peril. It may also cover the costs for you to move your business operations to another location until you can move back into your home.
Extra Business Insurance Coverage You May Need
The specific type and level of home-based business insurance coverage you need can vary depending on the type of business you operate as well as on the scope of the business and the number of employees you have.
For example, let’s say you run a service-based business. Your main “product” is your expertise. If you give professional advice, you may need a professional liability (errors and omissions) policy.
This policy covers and protects you if a client sues you for professional negligence or malpractice.
Businesses that work with children or at-risk adults face a higher liability exposure. In addition to slips, falls, accidents and other bodily injury issues, you need insurance that will pay for your defence costs if abuse is alleged.
You may need special insurance if your business property includes antiques, rare items, high-value items or unique items.
It is important to talk through your home-based business with your broker and put together the right coverage to meet your needs.
How to Determine What Business Coverage You Need
A technical term for figuring out what to insure and for how much is “risk management.”
Risk management means identifying possible risks in advance and then working backward to put a plan in place to both prevent them from occurring and protect you if they do occur.
You can use risk management to figure out how much insurance coverage your home-based business needs by following these four steps:
Ask yourself what could go wrong. Write down everything you can think of.
Brainstorm ideas for how to prevent each risk from ever happening.
Assign a dollar value (or range) to each risk—how will it impact your bottom line?
Brainstorm ideas for how your business will recover if each risk happens.
Doing this pre-work can come in handy when you meet with your insurance broker. You will already have a good idea of the potential impact of each business risk, and your broker can help tailor your insurance policies to meet your needs.
Get in Touch
Here at Mackay Insurance, we have a combined 165+ years of insurance industry expertise! Contact us online or give us a call at 888-853-5552 to find out how we can help you protect your home-based business!
Recreational residences, also commonly called cottages here in Canada, are becoming more popular each year.
When our short but stunning summer season rolls around, vacationing gets a lot easier if you feel like a local at your destination. You can bring less, do more, and de-stress faster by vacationing at your own seasonal cottage.
But another reason cottages are becoming more popular is the rental income they can generate for their owners. Let’s say you open your cottage in late May and close it in early October. You spend one month in residence, and you rent out your cottage during the other three months.
It is easy to see how you can pick up a handy little chunk of change each summer just for renting out a space you already own!
There is just one catch: insurance. Did you know that most homeowners insurance policies prohibit rentals for more than one to two weeks, if at all? More than a few horrified cottage owners have discovered only after filing a major claim that they had voided their own policy by renting out their cottage!
You do not want this to happen to you. In this article, we take a timely look at the right type of cottage insurance to support you in renting out your cottage as often as you like.
Cottage Insurance “Deal-Breaker” Liabilities
There are some liabilities that may be just too big for your insurer to comfortably cover. Here are some general examples:
Permitting tenants to use your recreational vehicles (boats, ATVs, jet skis, etc.).
Providing life jackets for tenants (especially children’s life jackets).
Allowing smoking in or around the cottage.
Leaving your personal valuables in the cottage while it is being used by tenants.
Before you meet with your broker to discuss your cottage insurance needs for rental tenants, consider how you plan to present and market your rental cottage. For example, what amenities would you like to offer prospective renters that might give you an edge over other local cottage owners?
Review these with your broker to find out what your current policy will and won’t cover. Then you can talk about adding on riders or changing the type of insurance to fit your cottage rental needs and concerns.
Do You Need Homeowners or Business Insurance?
One highly relevant question for cottage owners who plan to rent their cottage frequently is whether homeowners insurance is enough.
Once you begin operating your cottage like a business, whether seasonally or year-round, this makes a strong argument to invest in the extra protection business insurance can offer you.
Here is one example: With a homeowners insurance policy, you may have some coverage for personal liability. Let’s say you are staying at your cottage and a neighbour walks over to visit with you and trips on your lawn. If that neighbour tries to sue you, you may have some personal liability protection under your homeowners insurance policy.
But now let’s say the person who trips on your cottage lawn is a rental tenant. They sue. Your homeowners insurance policy excludes coverage for business activities conducted on the premises of your personal seasonal residence. You have no protection!
This is a perfect example of how switching from homeowners to business insurance may make sense if you plan to rent out your seasonal cottage regularly.
Don’t Rely on “Host Guarantee” Policies from Online Rental Sites
One budding cottage entrepreneur discovered nearly too late that his homeowners insurance policy wouldn’t cover him once he began renting his cottage out through the popular Airbnb site.
Not only can renting out your cottage expose you to risk in the event of a rental-related claim, but also making such a claim may void your coverage entirely.
Perhaps surprisingly, insurers are concerned about pretty much the same things you are: crime, theft, vandalism, and liability.
While host guarantee-type policies, such as the $1M CAD policy the well-known rental site Airbnb offers, may cover you for certain types of damage or loss, it cannot be used as a substitute for your own cottage insurance. Here is why:
It covers only your liability if you are sued, not the cottage itself.
It does not cover your lost rental income while your cottage is being repaired.
It does not defend you or cover your liability if someone alleges that you assaulted them —even if you are completely innocent.
It does not cover or defend you if a claim is in any way connected to aspects of the construction of the cottage that you may not even know about if the work was done before you bought the cottage—for example, drywall from China or the type of primer that was used by a painter.
As well, it is important to know that the rental site may not necessarily be on your side in the event that you need to file a claim under a host guarantee. In the case of Airbnb, they will do their own investigation of the claim, which will initially delay claims processing.
They may also require you to attempt to resolve the dispute with your rental tenant before they will intervene or release payment for a claim. This can delay claims processing still further as well as add an extra layer of stress to the whole process.
Secure Your Cottage Rental with the Right Insurance
It is not uncommon for seasonal cottages in Canada to command anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000-plus per week in rental income. No wonder so many cottage owners are eager to begin renting out their cottages!
But without the right insurance policy, what looks like an easy way to generate income can quickly become a financial nightmare.
The only way to ensure your cottage investment is secure for both personal and business (rental) use is to contact your broker and discuss your options for cottage rental insurance.
Get in Touch
Is this the year your cottage is going to start paying for itself with seasonal rental income? Let us help you create a custom insurance policy tailored to your unique needs and cottage rental goals.
Contact us online or give us a call at 888-853-5552 to schedule your consultation!
How would you like to save up to 20 percent on your annual home insurance premium?
This is the estimated annual amount you could save each year by adding a home alarm system to your home security and safety tools.
Some of the savings you can realize are tangible, easy to calculate, and immediately translate into money back into your pocket.
Some of the savings are less immediately tangible, like peace of mind, safeguarding irreplaceable items and memories, feeling safe in your home, and also knowing your home is protected while you are away.
All of these savings matter. And with the help of a home security system, you can start reaping all of the following types of home alarm system-related savings right away!
How a Home Alarm System Helps You Save
Having your home or car robbed or vandalized is always heartbreaking, stressful, and unforgettable. For many homeowners, the sheer experience of having their private home space breached can cause symptoms akin to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression.
When you add to that the anxiety and expense of having to put your life and your home back together after a burglary, the expenses start to mount.
These five savings options are all available to you when you choose to install a home security system!
1. Save 5 percent just by adding a home alarm system.
Just adding any type of home alarm system, no matter how basic, can often net you at least a five percent discount on the cost of your annual home insurance policy.
2. Save 10 to 15 percent by connecting that system to a central monitoring network.
There are a few options today to provide you with extra safety and security monitoring inside your home for the times you can’t be at home personally to keep an eye on things.
These can include smartphone-managed remote tools, closed-circuit video monitoring or connecting your system to an externally monitored central network.
The latter often includes extra services, such as the option to generate a call to local law enforcement if the security alarm is tripped and unauthorized entry is suspected.
You can talk with your insurance provider about which types of networking options may provide you with an extra discount or reduction on your annual home insurance premiums.
3. Save even more by adding water sensor alarms and/or video monitoring.
Some insurers will provide a discount of up to 35% of the premium for water damage peril if you add a water sensor-monitored alarm. The more components of a full security system you add, the more you can save.
Alarms and sensors can include an automatic message sent to your cellphone and to local authorities. With video monitoring, you can immediately see what is actually happening inside your house if a smoke detector, intruder alert, or water sensor is tripped.
4. Save 10 to 15 percent for remaining free of claims for three to five years.
Sometimes the biggest win that comes from installing a home alarm system is simply by making your home a less desirable target for thieves.
If you wanted to burgle someone’s home property, would you choose a house that has a “Smile! You’re on Video Camera!” sign posted out front or a house that has no sign?
You would probably pick the house that looks easier to get in and out of without being detected, right?
This is why even the simplest home alarm system can end up being an effective tool to deter criminals. This is also why many home insurance providers are willing to offer homeowners a reduction in premiums for installing home alarm systems!
5. Save on depreciation costs for replacement of lost, damaged, or stolen items that have devalued or are simply irreplaceable.
Depending on how your home insurance policy is structured, you may have reimbursement of lost, vandalized, or stolen items based on their replacement cost, or you may have coverage only for their actual cash value. If you have an insurance policy that reimburses based on actual cash value, you should know that most items are reduced in value (they depreciate).
Keep in mind that even if your home contents are insured for their replacement value, some things in the home may not be. For example, if you have a car parked in an attached garage, that car is covered on its own vehicle policy, not on your home policy. Most car policies do not provide replacement cost coverage if someone breaks into your home and steals or vandalizes your car. Having an alarm can deter would-be thieves and protect things like your car.
By making your home less desirable as a target for thieves, you increase your chances of never having to file a loss or damage claim against your home insurance at all! Not only will this keep your most cherished items safely in your possession, but it will also net you the additional savings described here, depending on how your insurance provider’s safety discounts are structured.
Mackay Insurance’s Founder, the Late David Mackay, Recommends Home Alarm Systems!
Did you know that Mackay Insurance’s founder, the late and much-missed David Mackay, kept a home alarm system for many years and credited it with keeping his household safe and improving his own peace of mind?
You can watch Mr. Mackay share his story in this video: “How Alarm Systems Can Save You Money on Your Homeowners Insurance.”
Give Us a Call
Here at Mackay Insurance, we keep David Mackay’s legacy alive by keeping premiums affordable and customer service top-notch!
Today, Mackay Insurance has grown from a small local firm with just 35 clients to a regional brokerage serving the insurance needs of more than 5,000 residential and commercial customers!
Give us a call at 1-888-853-5552 or visit us online to get a free estimate on our insurance products!
Here in Ontario, if you ride a motorcycle you are required to have a valid motorcycle licence and carry motorcycle insurance. The same holds true if you drive a limited-speed motorcycle or moped.
Of course, just as with automobiles, the type of motorcycle you ride can impact what you pay for motorcycle insurance. So can your age, gender, rider training, driving record, driving patterns, and address.
No one loves paying for their insurance, and it can feel like you are spending money for something you never even use! To save on premiums, some people drop down to the bare minimum coverage. But if you do need to use your insurance, will the minimum motorcycle insurance coverage protect you adequately?
On the other hand, are you paying for coverage you do not need? Is there any way to drop or lower some coverage so you can use those savings to pay for coverage that is more important to have?
Read on to find out the answers to these timely questions about motorcycle insurance!
Minimum Required Motorcycle Coverage in Ontario
Each province is permitted to set its own minimum requirements for vehicle insurance. But in some areas of coverage, the minimum required coverage is absolutely not sufficient.
In Ontario, the current minimum required motorcycle insurance coverage is as follows:
Third-party liability coverage protects you if you are sued because you are involved in a motorcycle incident where another person's property is damaged or they are injured or killed. The legal minimum coverage of $200,000 is not adequate protection.
Statutory no-fault accident benefits provide protection if you are injured in a motorcycle accident. Coverage includes:
Income replacement of up to $400 per week.
Medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care coverage up to a combined total of $65,000.
Life insurance (if death results from a car or motorcycle accident) of $10,000 to a surviving dependent and $25,000 to a surviving spouse.
And other benefits
Direct Compensation for Property Damage
Called DCPD, this benefit protects you if you are involved in a motorcycle incident in which the other driver is at fault and that other driver has Ontario insurance.
This benefit protects you if you are injured in a motorcycle accident and the responsible other driver is not identified or not insured.
Should You Add Optional Coverage to These Basic Motorcycle Coverages?
Even a casual review of the minimum motorcycle coverage required for Ontario riders highlights areas where you need additional protection.
Every motorcycle owner should have increased coverage:
Increase liability coverage from $200,000 to a minimum of $1 million.
Review ALL available optional Accident Benefits coverages, and at a minimum increase the limit for Medical, Rehabilitation, and Attendant Care coverage.
Other optional coverages are personal decisions based on your specific circumstances. If you are a single person riding an older motorcycle, your coverage might look quite different than if you have young children at home and ride a $30,000 touring motorcycle.
Finding an insurance broker you trust is a key component of the selection process. You want to be able to talk openly about your situation without feeling pressured to purchase a specific level of coverage that you don't really need.
Ways to Save on Motorcycle Insurance Premiums
Many first-time riders pay more than they need to for motorcycle insurance.
Just as with auto insurance, driver training, bundling, the choice of bike, and how you pay, your other memberships and certain safety precautions can help you pay less for the same amount of insurance coverage.
1. Take a rider safety course
If you are a first-time motorcycle owner, a rider safety course is strongly recommended. There are courses that provide helpful safety training, and also a bike to ride for the training course and to get your M2 license. Get your M2 license before you rush out and buy a motorcycle that you will find it difficult or impossible to insure.
2. Bundle your insurance
If you already have auto insurance or home insurance, ask if you can get a discount by bundling in motorcycle insurance. Some insurance companies provide preferred prices on motorcycle insurance, but write motorcycles only if they also write the person’s car insurance.
3. Buy the right type of bike
Just as buying a sport automobile can mean higher insurance premiums, so too can some types motorcycles. Premiums, and which companies will even write the insurance, are different for a standard bike than for a high-performance or dual sport bike.
4. Pay cash for your bike
It goes without saying that if you can pay cash, you avoid paying interest. It also lets you decide what coverage you want to put on the motorcycle to protect it if it is stolen or damaged in an accident. If you borrow money to buy the bike, the lienholder will demand that you buy collision and comprehensive insurance.
5. Ask about discounts
Insurance companies may offer a discount for safety and anti-theft features, a clean driver record, being a senior, having a garage, and other things. Ask your broker.
6. Adjust your deductible
The deductible is the amount that you pay first if your bike is stolen or damaged. A higher deductible results in a lower insurance premium; a lower deductible results in a higher insurance premium.
Give Us a Call
Here at Mackay Insurance, we value each and every client we are able to serve. More than 5,000 people to date have trusted us to help them select just the right insurance coverage to fit their individual needs.
If you need help selecting motorcycle insurance, give us a call at 888-853-5552!
Ride sharing has become a big deal in recent years. Uber launched in 2009. EcoRide powered up in 2011. Lyft debuted in 2012.
More companies continue to join the ride-sharing revolution, and as they do they are recruiting more drivers to work part time or full time ferrying folks from place to place.
If you are currently working as a ride-sharing driver, you are likely using your personal vehicle. You may have assumed you were insured while on the job under your personal auto insurance policy. This is not necessarily the case.
Learn what you need to know to be protected while working as a ride-sharing driver!
What Is Ride Sharing?
Ride sharing is at heart a service industry. There are many benefits to the growth of the ride-sharing industry, from reducing roadway congestion and greenhouse gases to providing jobs and economical local taxi rides.
Ride sharing is essentially an arrangement between a driver and a passenger. The arrangement is made by using an app: this is how the driver and the passenger connect with each other. The app itself is managed and maintained by the company that hires the driver, and the driver typically uses their personal vehicle to transport the passenger.
In this arrangement, there are actually three parties involved in any ride: the driver, the passenger, and the ride-sharing company.
Does Your Ride Sharing Company Offer Commercial Coverage?
Ride sharing is a relatively new industry, and one which the insurance industry as a whole has been slow to recognize and respond to. In the meantime, ride sharing itself continues to expand, adding new service options on what sometimes seems like a daily basis!
While ride sharing has been available throughout North America for at least the past eight years, only recently did the Financial Services Commission of Ontario approve commercial auto insurance coverage for ride-sharing companies.
If you work for Uber, EcoRides, Lyft, RideCo, InstaRyde or Facedrive, the ride-sharing company provides a standard blanket commercial insurance policy provided by an insurance company.
If you work for another ride-sharing company, it will be up to you to talk with the company management and learn what, if any, commercial coverage protects you while driving on the job.
What About Your Personal Auto Insurance Policy?
Even though you have commercial coverage through your agreement with, say, Uber, you are still using your personal vehicle. That vehicle is insured by a regular insurance company when it is not being used for Uber driving and the fact that you do ride sharing must be agreed to by your personal insurance company.
It is critical that you talk with your agent or broker before you begin as a ride sharing driver. They may need to move you from an insurance company that does not allow ride sharing to one that does. And at this point, most insurance companies do not allow this use.
Making it even more complicated, your personal insurance company may allow use by one ride sharing company (e.g., Lyft) and not another (e.g., Uber). One of the reasons is that the insurance company covering your personal car needs to know exactly what the ride-sharing policy covers.
For example, let's say you are driving your vehicle on your way to pick up a passenger and you are involved in an auto accident. Who pays the claim? Are you a ride-sharing driver at that moment? Or are you a regular person until the customer gets into your car?
Your ride-sharing policy may cover you once you have received and accepted a ride request. But it may not cover you while you are waiting to receive a ride request or after you have received a ride request but before you have accepted that request.
In the same way, the ride-sharing policy may cover you while you are transporting your passenger. But the moment you drop off your passenger, and you are then waiting for another ride request to come in, you may not be covered.
Imagine the mess this could cause. Your personal insurance company saying you were working at the time an accident happened, and they won’t pay. Your ride-sharing insurance company saying you had not started working yet, and they won’t pay. In the meantime, your car is wrecked, or even worse, you are injured and have associated costs.
The only way for you to not be left with two insurance companies fighting over who should pay a claim is if they figure out the details in advance. That is why specific insurance companies who write the personal use of your vehicle have to go through what a specific ride-sharing insurance company does and does not cover, and agree to cover “the rest.”
Even though you make all your payments on time, you could get caught without insurance if you don’t work this out with your personal insurance company. The only way for you as a regular person to know that you won’t get caught without insurance is to talk with your agent or broker before you start doing ride sharing.
How Does Standard Ride-Sharing Coverage Work?
Okay, so you have talked with your broker. Your personal car insurance company is cool with you being a ride sharing driver with the particular ride-sharing company you have gone with. The ride-sharing company tells you that you are covered under their standard policy.
All is well, so time to stop worrying about insurance and go make some money. Right?
Well… almost right. Ultimately, making sure you have adequate auto insurance coverage in place to protect you while working as a ride-sharing driver is up to you. Even if your ride-sharing company does provide some type of standard one-size-fits-all insurance coverage to you as a contractor-driver, it may not be sufficient to fully protect you if you have an incident on the job.
For this reason, it is critical to read the fine print of the standard insurance protection issued by the ride-sharing company, so you know precisely what and how much coverage you have during the times you are covered while on the job. For example, what is the coverage and what is the deductible if your car is damaged? How about coverage if you are injured? Or if someone sues you?
The same important questions that you need to look at on your personal car insurance also apply to the commercial insurance you have through the ride-sharing company.
Get in Touch
If after reading all of this you are even more confused, give us a call or contact us online. The truth is that it is not simple. Bring in a copy of the insurance agreement from the ride-sharing company and let us help you understand the fine print on that policy.
Even though you do not get that insurance through us, helping people through mazes like this is exactly what we as brokers do. And we will be sure you are with a personal insurance company that allows ride-sharing with the ride-sharing company you are going with.
Here at Mackay Insurance, we help you understand what insurance you have and what you need. Give us a call at 888-853-5552 to learn more about ride-sharing insurance coverage.
If you can’t imagine doing business without your vehicle, chances are good your livelihood would suffer greatly if that vehicle became unavailable due to an accident or loss.
Regardless of how many commercial vehicles you own (one or several), you need to protect them as valuable business assets.
Commercial auto insurance functions similarly to personal auto insurance in that you can select the types and levels of coverage that are the best fit for your business and vehicle types.
The goal of commercial auto insurance is to ensure your business vehicles are protected on the road and while garaged, whether your trips stay local or eventually cross borders.
In this article, learn the basics of commercial auto insurance and how it can protect the vehicles you depend on to do business.
An Overview of Commercial Auto Insurance Coverage
When most people think about commercial auto insurance, they often assume it’s designed only for large fleets of big trucks.
While this is one use for commercial auto insurance, it is far from the only use. In fact, if you have any vehicle that you use for commercial (business) purposes—even if you also use that vehicle personally—it is eligible for commercial auto insurance.
Commercial or business auto insurance offers the same basic types of protection that personal auto insurance covers:
Comprehensive coverage. Protection if your business vehicle is damaged by something other than a collision (e.g., vandalism) or if it is stolen.
Collision coverage. Protection if your vehicle is damaged or totaled in an auto accident.
Liability coverage. Protection if your vehicle causes damage to other drivers or vehicles.
Accident Benefits coverage. Protection if you are injured in a vehicle accident.
Uninsured/underinsured coverage. Protection if the other driver has no coverage or insufficient coverage.
Commercial Versus Personal Auto Insurance
It is quite common to be confused about what separates commercial (business) auto insurance from personal auto insurance. After all, they sound identical on paper!
The difference boils down to what you are using your vehicle for. Even if you use your vehicle for personal use as well, if you use it in your business too, it needs to be insured accordingly.
This holds true even if you don’t use your personal vehicle to do business frequently. One of the “declarations” you make when you buy car insurance is the percentage it is used for business driving.
So: what if you already have personal insurance and begin to use your car for business driving after you bought the policy? You need to call your broker. There is fine print in every car insurance policy that requires you to promptly inform your broker or insurance company of any “material change.”
This means that if you don’t report the use of your car accurately, you could find yourself paying for a policy but not having coverage when you have a claim. It just isn’t worth the risk.
If you are not sure if what you do with your vehicle is considered business driving, call your broker.
How to Save the Most on Your Commercial Auto Insurance Policy
No one really gets excited about spending money on insurance. This is because purchasing insurance is not a luxury but a necessity. One terrible day on the road has the potential to make or break a business of any size, and that is a risk businesses can’t afford to take in today’s competitive marketplace.
But there are ways to pay less for your commercial auto coverage!
Here are some of the best methods to find discounts and savings on your commercial auto insurance policy:
Bundle your policy with other policies you hold with the same insurer. Some insurers offer loyalty discounts for customers who purchase more than one type of policy.
If employees drive your vehicles, look at applicants’ driving records as part of your screening process when hiring people. It’s simple: drivers with excellent safety records and no tickets on their record are less expensive to insure.
Choosing to install extra safety or risk management tools. These can range from in-vehicle alarm systems to driver monitoring systems, locked garaging to VIN etching, mandatory driver safety courses for your drivers, or daily mileage limits.
Check auto insurance coverage rates before investing in a new work vehicle. Just as with personal vehicles, in the business world, different types of vehicles may come with lower or higher premiums.
Give Us a Call
We are so honored that our owner and CEO, Bruce Mackey, was named 2017 Business Person of the Year by Quinte Business Achievement Awards (QBAA)!
Give us a call at 888-853-5552 or contact us online, and let us know how we can help with all your insurance needs in 2018!
This year has seen a tremendous amount of rain and hurricane activity south of our borders. Our friends in the United States have been buffeted by storms that broke records for rainfall, wind, and mass destruction.
But what is so amazing is that an estimated whopping 80 percent of homeowners in Hurricane Harvey's path alone didn’t have any form of flood insurance!
Those homeowners who didn’t have flood insurance now rely on government aid and private grants to help them rebuild their homes and lives. This makes for a timely reminder for Canadian homeowners to review policy coverages and make sure there are adequate protections in place.
Did You Know Flooding Is the No. 1 Naturally Occurring Threat in Canada?
If you are like many of our clients, you may not be aware that flooding is the most common natural disaster to strike Canadian homeowners. In fact, flooding has now overtaken fire as the most prominent risk faced by homeowners throughout Canada.
The reasons that flooding has become more severe of late vary. There are climate changes and warmer weather year-round. In many areas throughout Canada, outdated sewage systems and public works infrastructure can cause backup into basements and first-floor housing. New subdivisions are popping up on former swampland—and guess where the water still naturally runs!
In 2013, large portions of Calgary and other Alberta cities like High River were literally under water. A few weeks later, a record-breaking series of storms created flash flooding throughout the city of Toronto and surrounding boroughs. The 126-mm (4.9-inch) rainfall exceeded even that produced by legendary 1954 Hurricane Hazel, and meteorologists do not make light of this trend. These 2013 events also accelerated the Canadian conversation about flooding and insurance.
Flood Insurance: What It Is & What It Isn't
Until very recently, the only recourse for Canadians whose homes were damaged or destroyed by flooding was to submit a claim to Disaster Financial Assistance programs on federal, provincial, and territorial levels. But even with this recourse, in most cases proffered funds have not been sufficient to bring homeowners back to break even.
When polled, most Canadians reported one of three assumptions:
They thought they didn’t need flood insurance coverage.
They thought their homeowner’s insurance policy automatically covered flooding.
They thought they could get sufficient reimbursement from government-sponsored disaster relief agencies.
Unfortunately, not one of these three assumptions is accurate. Most homeowner’s insurance policies specifically exclude flooding.
Wait a minute, you may say. My neighbor had a flood in her house when the water line to the ice maker in her fridge sprang a leak and ran all weekend while she was away, and her insurance company fixed things right up for them...
But here is the most important part of this post: there are all sorts of different types of water damage. Some are covered on your policy. Some are not.
Most insurance policies give you the coverage you need to clean up the damage if a pipe bursts or a washing machine hose fails. Your policy would probably also cover water damage that resulted from a storm lifting shingles or, say, hail hammering your siding. If you purchase an optional rider, your policy would also cover your sewer or septic backing up.
What you did not have prior to 2015, though, because homeowner’s policies in Canada did not cover this peril, was flood coverage.
Overland Water/Flood Insurance: A New Homeowner’s Insurance Product
Beginning in around 2015, Canadian insurance companies began to offer a new type of water damage coverage—flood insurance. Many homeowners didn’t know they didn’t have it in the past, and some still don’t have it. Those who do have it may not know what it does and does not cover.
To know what coverage you do and do not have, you will need to know the meaning of an insurance term: “overland water damage.” This is damage caused by a body of fresh water (such as a lake or stream) overflowing its banks and water literally flowing “over the land.” Overland water damage can also happen when there is no creek but the rain is so heavy that it accumulates and makes its own creek. This is the coverage that a number of insurance companies have brought out recently.
It is important to know that Overland Water is just one of the ways flooding can happen—for example, a dam could burst or an underground stream could cave in the foundation of your house. Even though flood insurance is now available, not everything is covered. Every policy is different in exactly what it covers. Some types of flood damage are still not covered by any policy—for example, a tidal wave wiping out a shoreline community. Some insurance companies still do not offer flood insurance at all, though most now do. And for insurance companies that do offer flood insurance, there are differences between what one insurance company covers and what another one covers.
So how are you as a homeowner supposed to navigate these “waters”? One step is to assess what you need. Your needs are different if your house is on top of a hill or if it is waterfront property. However, don’t assume that only people who can throw a stone from their deck and hit a lake or a stream need flood insurance. Almost everyone faces some level of risk. A second step is to talk with an insurance professional about what coverage you need, what coverage you do or don’t have now, and what your options are.
Why Applying for Flood Insurance Is Now Critical
Before 2015, any homeowner who experienced flood-related home damage was eligible to apply for government aid.
But now that many insurers have started to offer flood insurance products as homeowner's insurance policy riders, eligibility standards for federal, provincial, and territorial disaster relief assistance are changing accordingly. Specifically, if you as a homeowner qualify for flood insurance and don’t know about it or choose not to apply, you may now be deemed ineligible for government aid in the wake of flooding. This leaves you without recourse in the event your home is damaged or destroyed by flood waters.
Weather Pattern Predictions in Coming Years
The federal government of Canada has now begun to study future weather-related risks in earnest. Steadily rising costs for annual federal disaster relief funding to various affected areas throughout Canada speak loudly of the need to revise policies and budgets for weather events in years to come.
For example, in 2004, the federal government paid out approximately $54 million in storm relief funds. In 2014, that number had risen to $410 million! Starting in 2017, the estimate jumped again to $673 million—and that is just for flood damages!
Key areas for further investigation include rising sea levels, glacial melting, erosion of coastal areas, flooding from storm surges, and related storms and severe weather event activity.
While certain parts of Canada are experiencing more rapid climate-related changes than others, there is no doubt at this stage that climate change has arrived and is here to stay. This requires action on everyone’s part, from individual homeowners to strategizing at the national level for how to afford flood insurance coverage for everyone who needs it.
Give Us a Call
If you are concerned about the risks of flood damage to your home, Mackay Insurance is here to help. We can set up a time to review your current homeowner's insurance policy coverage and riders, re-evaluate coverage levels, and discuss optional flood insurance coverage based on the risk level to your area.
Give us a call at 888-853-5552. You can also visit us online to chat with a broker live or send us an email.
A transcript follows below the video...
What is claims protection?
Claims protection is like a get out of jail free card for your first at fault accident.
In the event that you have an at fault accident, your driving record will remain the same, and you will not see an increase in your premiums due to that at fault accident.
This is an optional coverage that you must purchase in order to have on your coverage.
Please give us a call, or email us to discuss it further.
A transcript is available below the video...
You should consider adding bylaws coverage to your homeowners insurance policy.
What is Bylaws coverage? What is a bylaw?
Well, in some towns and municipalities they put an extra expense, or they ask you to build something bigger, better, or safer than you actually had in the first place. In some cases this will add expense, or an extra cost, to the reconstruction of your home.
For instance, let's say you have an 800 sqaure foot home. Your municipality in which you live says, "We're not allowing you to build anything less than a 1,000 square foot home". The difference that is incurred, is going to be incurred by you. Your insurance policy won't pay for any extra expense that comes out of an extra bylaw that your town puts upon you.
So, if you have an extra bylaws coverage endorsement, it will allow you to offset that expense for the extra construction cost. It's minimal, it only costs about $10 or $20 extra, and it could save you a lot in the long run.
So, if you want more information, please call your CSR, or give us a call at the office.
Transcript follows below the video...
I would strongly recommend that you would consider putting an alarm system in your home. I've had one in my own home for many years and there's a peace of mind factor that you cannot buy.
As well, you would get a discount on your insurance if you have a working alarm system in your house.
It would prevent claims and prevent having something stolen from your home that you cannot replace.