Mackay Insurance Blog
Starting a New Business During COVID? Protect Your Startup With The Right Insurance
It might seem counterintuitive to launch a new business venture during an unprecedented global pandemic.
For the millions who have been downsized during this past year, as well as for workers who can't get enough hours to make ends meet, launching up a startup is starting to look smarter and smarter.
The truth is, Canadians have a history of thriving during challenging times. Crisis can be the stuff of world-changing creativity and innovation.
And while insurance isn't the most exciting part of this type of venture, this is definitely not the year to start a new business without it.
If you are considering the launch of a new business or are already deep in the startup stage of a new business, this is definitely the article you want to read. Mackay Insurance in Belleville provides small businesses with the right insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario.m Let’s make sure that your new business is fully insured and your investment is protected in 2021!
New Business Startup Insurance: Cover Your Bases With Mackay Insurance
Starting a new business will always require business insurance. This is one thing that COVID-19 has not changed.
However, as we mentioned in the introduction here, what has changed due to COVID-19 is the number of workers who are launching businesses for the very first time.
So this section gives you a quick overview of business insurance basics you need to address to protect your hard work and investment.
These are the three basic categories of business insurance coverage that every small business (whether home-based or not) should consider:
1. General (commercial) Business Liability
Commercial liability insurance for businesses covers injuries that occur on the worksite. It sometimes also covers legal fees as a result of such injuries.
2. Business Property Coverage
Business property coverage typically protects against damage to the premises or the contents, which may range from equipment to inventory.
3. Business Interruption Coverage
As the name implies, business interruption coverage provides relief if the business is unable to operate for certain covered reasons as outlined in the policy.
Depending on the type of business and how/where you operate, here are some additional new business insurance coverage types you may want to consider.
Business (commercial) Auto Insurance
Commercial auto insurance protects you or workers using a vehicle for non-commuting business purposes.
Professional Liability (errors and omissions) Insurance
Professional liability insurance protects you or officers and directors from errors or omissions that result in legal fees.
Cyber Security Insurance
Data breaches are more and more common and this insurance can help offset the costs of suffering a data breach or cyber attack.
Accounts Receivable Insurance
If a major customer goes bankrupt, this insurance protects you from sudden loss of revenue.
Home Based Business Insurance Coverage
The start of winter saw another spike in COVID-19 cases here in Ontario. While this was not entirely unexpected, it has definitely put a damper on reopening plans for many brick-and-mortar business locations.
This has re-focused attention on the viability of home-based businesses, whether you are planning to launch or expand a virtual element to your existing business or proceed with starting a new virtual business.
Our brokerage team at Mackay Insurance recommends reading our blog post and reviewing the ins and outs of home based business insurance basics. If you have any questions regarding business insurance coverage or how to obtain it locally in Quinte, contact Mackay Insurance brokers today!
NOTE: The most important part of starting up a new home-based business is also the most-often overlooked part. Be sure the community where you live is zoned to permit home based business operations!
Small Business Insurance for Remote Workers
Running a business has never felt less secure or stable than it has this year. Many small businesses have made the leap to a remote workforce wherever possible. In some cases, the shift may become permanent.
One important aspect we take special care to mention each time we talk with one of our small business clients in Mackay Insurance is remote workforce insurance.
If your company had been operating out of a single location prior to 2020, it is definitely time to revisit your existing business liability coverage from every angle, including remote access to sensitive data and BYOD (bring your own device) policy coverage.
For businesses who are shifting to a remote model for the first time, be aware that you may need to change your coverage or add a relevant rider to protect remote work locations and/or work-related auto use that is not straight commuting (such as a new business delivery service).
We covered these topics in more detail in a blog post devoted to how businesses in transition may need to update business insurance coverage due to COVID-19.
COVID-19 Relief Business Insurance
Not surprisingly, Mackay Insurance has been receiving a large number of calls from our existing business clients asking about options for business relief insurance due to COVID-19.
The main challenge here is that the Canadian insurance industry has also been hard-hit by the global pandemic. Interest rates have plunged and claims have skyrocketed, with the predictable impact that premium prices are rising.
Earlier this year, many auto insurers initiated relief efforts to consumers struggling to pay their premiums. More recently in Ontario, a new relief effort began to support hospitality industry businesses who have been unable to obtain business insurance coverage.
Our brokerage team at Mackay Insurance is happy to talk with you about available options to obtain business insurance or apply for insurance relief.
We also highly recommend that you read our blog post about COVID-19 insurance relief.
Get in Touch With Mackay Insurance in Belleville Ontario
Here in Belleville, Ontario, Mackay Insurance is open to serve you! Let us know how you prefer to connect with us!
We are here to support home based businesses and small business owners with affordable insurance options to protect your present and your future.
Returning to the New Normal: What That Means For Your Insurance Coverage
Slowly yet surely, we are starting to emerge out of the firestorm of the global pandemic.
Many of our customers are returning to working outside the home, with their kids similarly preparing for a return to school.
The roads are more crowded now. Some of that traffic even represents seasonal cottage-holders finally able to make the trek to check on their properties and perhaps enjoy a long weekend away.
We may still feel a bit shaky, a touch uncertain about personal safety and next steps, but there is life to be lived and we want to live it.
And while insurance matters may not feel pressing in light of the other major issues we have faced as individuals, communities and a nation this year, this shift towards post-pandemic life also means it is time to revisit your insurance coverage yet again.
In this timely post, we highlight important insurance coverage tasks you may need to consider as we move into the fall and winter season here in Ontario.
Commuting Again? Make Sure Your Auto Insurance Has You Covered
Earlier this year, it came as a welcome relief for many of our customers when auto insurers dropped rates and offered rebates to reflect province-wide pandemic shelter-in-place orders.
You may have also had a conversation with your Mackay broker about reducing coverages based on reduced driving activity.
As the world opens back up again and you find yourself logging more commute time once more, be sure your auto insurance coverage reflects your actual use patterns.
Time to Make the Switch to Off-Season Cottage & Vehicle Insurance?
This hasn't been an easy summer season thus far for seasonal cottage owners and recreational vehicle owners.
In fact, with the majority of the brief warm season now behind us, our goals for getting the RV out of storage or taking a spin with our motorboat or jet skis may rapidly be fading as we move into fall.
However, with fall nearly upon us, our customers who own snowmobiles or ATVs may be eyeing those with unseasonal eagerness, imagining a winter with the pandemic firmly behind us at last.
In either case, make sure you update your seasonal cottage insurance and recreational boat insurance coverage accordingly. It is not too early to retire a recreational vehicle you don't anticipate using for the remainder of the summer season and reap the savings from that.
Similarly, if your cottage is typically inaccessible in winter, talk with your Mackay Insurance broker about transitioning to off-season coverage there as well.
Evaluate Business Insurance Coverage for a Remote Workforce
Whether your business is an entrepreneurship or a large company, the transition to a largely remote workforce can have a ripple effect on the types of business insurance coverage you need.
In many cases, business liability insurance is set up to reflect a group of workers operating out of a single location. The risk profile changes across the board when that same group of workers is now working from multiple locations.
Part of the increased risk comes into play due to the need to provide remote online access to secure company networks and databases that may contain sensitive or proprietary information.
Part of the increased risk arises from the use of a remote location as a "work site" and what might happen if the remote worker is injured on the job or causes harm or injury to another during scheduled work hours.
Another aspect to the increased risk comes from the need or choice to store company property, supplies, materials, devices or data in an off-site, remote location.
Yet, another issue that arises is when a remote worker needs to use their personal vehicle for non-commute-related company business or to transfer company property or data from one location to another, such as between a home office and the regular work site.
Each of these issues needs to be addressed in a thorough review of the current business insurance coverage - even more urgently if there is an ongoing semi-permanent or permanent transition to a remote workforce. Your Mackay broker in Belleville can help you review and adjust your business coverage policy to reflect these types of post-pandemic shifts.
Homeowners Insurance Policies May Not Cover a Home Office
Similarly, for remote workers who are using a portion of the home as a temporary (or transitioning to permanent) remote work site, it is vital to be aware of any coverage limitations under your existing homeowner insurance policy.
Your current homeowners insurance policy may contain a clause that expressly prohibits operation of a home-based business. Should a claim arise out of the choice or necessity of working remotely from home, it will be up to your insurer to decide whether that constitutes a violation of the policy exclusion or not.
And while it is true that many insurers have adopted a policy of leniency during these unprecedented crisis months, this should be viewed as a temporary laxity and never something you should count on.
It is worth a phone call or email to your Mackay Insurance broker to talk through any changes to your work site and possible risks that may open up when filing a homeowners insurance policy claim.
If necessary, your coverage can be adjusted to reflect your new use of a portion of your home space as a work site. Something as simple as an "incidental office use" rider may be all that is needed.
You may also need to adjust your personal riders to reflect use/storage of high-value business property like computers. If there is theft or loss, you want to be sure those items can be replaced without causing you to use your personal savings to do so.
Get in Touch With Your Mackay Insurance Broker Today
Mackay Insurance in Belleville, Ontario continues to work remotely and our qualified Mackay Insurance brokers are available to serve you by appointment, in person, as well as by phone, email, fax, social media and courier.
Relief for Seasonal Cottage Insurance
Now that summer is here in full force, we are getting calls from some of our customers who have seasonal cottages.
One of the hot-topic questions on the table right now is simply this: “if you are not allowed to use your seasonal cottage this summer season, will there be discounts or rebates on cottage insurance, recreational vehicle insurance or cottage rental (business use) insurance?”
If yes, how do you apply? If no, is it possible to cut back on coverage levels to control the costs of seasonal cottage coverage during COVID-19?
What about breaks on associated fees, such as marina use fees, property taxes and local services fees?
These are all great questions; however, with COVID-19 being an unprecedented and rapidly evolving situation, the answer is more complicated than we might like.
We will take a closer look at each question and give you the most recent, up-to-date information in this blog post. Keep reading!
Are There COVID-19 Related Discounts or Rebates for Seasonal Cottage Insurance?
Unlike with auto insurance, currently there are no province-wide or national mandates of any kind encouraging or requiring that insurers provide seasonal cottage insurance customers with rebates or discounts due to COVID-19.
This is in spite of the fact that many cottage owners are not able to even travel to their properties just to check the premises, let alone to enjoy time there or earn rental income by subletting to summer tenants.
There is a possibility that you could apply for a deferment of premium payments for reasons of financial hardship due to COVID-19. This is a decision that is being left up to each individual insurance provider. Find out more about your Mackay cottage insurance here.
Is It Okay to Cancel Seasonal Cottage Insurance During COVID-19?
If you can't visit your seasonal cottage due to COVID-19 restrictions and no one else (such as rental tenants) can either, then is it okay to cancel your seasonal cottage insurance to save money?
We completely understand that many of our customers have been severely impacted financially due to the economic shutdown here in Canada.
There are simply far too many unknowns to make it a smart plan to cancel your seasonal cottage insurance even if you can't enjoy your cottage right now.
It may, however, be possible to adjust your premiums based on adjusting the level of coverage you are carrying.
Can You Cancel Business Use Rider Coverage for a Seasonal Cottage Rental?
If you have been carrying a business use policy rider that permits you to rent your seasonal cottage for a more extended time period, it may be feasible to pause this seasonal cottage coverage.
If, however, your business use rider includes coverage for loss of rental income, you may not want to pause this coverage right now!
What Other Options Are Available to Make Seasonal Cottage Insurance More Affordable?
Here are some additional ways to adjust your policy premium costs to make continuing to carry seasonal cottage insurance more affordable during COVID-19:
- Increase your policy deductible.
- Install extra safety features at your cottage, such as a monitored alarm system.
At the very least, you still want to make sure your seasonal cottage, including the premises and possessions stored on that property, are insured against risks that COVID-19 will not impact, such as weather-related events, vandalism, theft and flooding due to pump or pipe malfunctions.
Can You Get a COVID-19 Deferral on Your Seasonal Cottage Premium Payments?
Another option to pursue if COVID-19 is stretching your budget too thin is to ask your insurer if it is possible to apply for a deferral of policy premium payments.
If you are experiencing financial hardship, it is possible you may be able to have your premium payments deferred for a limited period of time.
A premium payment deferment is not the same as a loan or a forgiveness of financial obligations. Rather, a deferment simply pushes back the due date of the next premium payment.
This may have the impact of extending the term of your policy and/or increasing the amount you have to pay for the remaining premium payments.
It is vital to understand the fine print of how any such deferred payment plan will work to be sure you are comfortable with the terms.
Can You Cancel Your Recreational Vehicle Insurance Policy?
If you have a boat, jet skis, off-road vehicles, fifth wheel or RTV, travel trailer or other type of seasonal recreational vehicle that you are not able to use right now, you may also be wondering if there are any auto-related insurance discounts for these.
While the auto insurance industry has been releasing some funds back to policyholders due to COVID-19, the same is not true for the recreational vehicle insurance industry.
Depending on how your policy is structured, it may be possible to reduce coverage based on reduced use. But here again, you want to make sure you retain coverage for damage or destruction due to events outside of your control such as weather or theft.
How to Find Out What Financial Support May Be Available to You
Right now, with the possible exception of auto insurance providers, it is pretty much up to each individual insurer whether to offer any type of financial support to customers hit hard by COVID-19.
The best way to find out what, if any, financial relief may be available is to reach out to your Mackay broker directly.
Together, you can review your coverage and identify where you may be able to cut back on coverage, apply for premium payment deferment or consolidate due to reduced use rates.
Get in Touch With Mackay Insurance
Here at Mackay Insurance in Belleville, Ontario, our offices are open by appointment only to serve you. Our brokers and support staff are also available by email and phone to support you in any way we can.
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?
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
Before the start of this pandemic, your vehicle was rated for particular usage:
Pleasure (For our Sunday drivers out there!)
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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
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.
Have you ever heard of “insurance potholes?” As their name implies, insurance potholes are unexpected coverage gaps that arise when you least expect them.
In the case of a travel trailer, camper or recreational vehicle, insurance potholes in your regular homeowners or auto insurance policy often aren’t noticed until it is too late.
You make a call to your insurer because your trailer has become damaged, destroyed, stolen or vandalized, only to be told you have no insurance coverage or only minimal coverage for such issues.
What now? What can you do? The answer is often, sadly, “not much.” We don’t want this to happen to you! This is why Mackay Insurance offers flexible, personalized coverage for these special types of non-motorized wheeled vehicles.
What Is Trailer Insurance?
Trailer insurance is a product specifically designed to cover a vehicle that is not really a vehicle – one that has wheels but doesn’t have a motor.
The exact configuration of what you are towing can vary – you may have a small pop-up camper, a large fifth-wheel trailer, a teardrop sleeper camper or some variation thereof.
As long as it has wheels but no motor and is designed to be towed, not steered, trailer insurance is the right policy to protect what you own.
What Types of Trailers Does Trailer Insurance Protect?
As we just outlined, trailer insurance is designed to protect wheeled vehicles that lack motors.
More specifically, these are the major categories of trailers that trailer insurance is designed to cover:
When Do You Need Trailer Insurance?
Depending on the details of your personal homeowners insurance and auto insurance, you may actually have some amount of coverage for these non-motorized, wheeled, recreational vehicles already.
But then again, you may not.
Before taking out a separate trailer insurance policy, be sure to talk with your Mackay broker and review what existing coverage you already have to see what is and isn’t covered.
What Is Included in a Trailer Insurance Policy?
Like other insurance products, trailer insurance can be personalized to a degree. This means you have flexibility when it comes to options like your deductible, coverage levels, types of coverage, seasonal coverage, etc.
These are the typical categories of coverage that trailer insurance is able to provide:
Emergency roadside assistance
Damage, destruction or theft of the trailer
Damage, destruction or theft of trailer contents (including perishables like food)
Water damage coverage
Debris damage coverage
Lock replacement coverage
Injury to people or pets
Extended warranty for parts or appliances
In addition, there are special riders available to cover less typical needs.
How Much Trailer Insurance Do You Need?
This is where you will want to look closely at any existing coverage you may have through your homeowners insurance or auto insurance policy.
For example, your homeowners insurance may offer coverage for damage, destruction or theft of some of the contents of your travel trailer. Your auto insurance may cover liability issues when you are on the road with the trailer hitched behind your vehicle.
But the only way to know for sure is to read the fine print and review policy details with your Mackay broker.
Whatever is not covered under any existing insurance policies you already have is what trailer insurance is designed for.
Here, as with other insurance policies, you will have a deductible. The deductible is designed to give you more control over your premium costs, but you don’t want to choose a higher deductible than your finances can comfortably accommodate.
So take a look at the full replacement value of your trailer, minus what existing insurance provides coverage for, minus any amount (if applicable) you can afford to pay out of pocket to fix or replace your trailer. That is the amount of coverage you need.
Should You Rely on Your Homeowners or Auto Policy?
One thing we always tell our clients here at Mackay Insurance is that sometimes purchasing more insurance is actually less expensive in the long run!
For example, let’s say your homeowners and auto insurance policies do provide some level of coverage for your trailer as well. So you assume you don’t need trailer insurance, but then something happens.
Now you are in the stressful position of having to make a claim on your existing homeowners insurance or auto insurance policies if something happens with your travel trailer.
These types of major insurance policies tend to be more expensive in every way, including the hike in premiums you are likely to face after making even a minor claim.
This is why we say that, often, it can be a safer bet for your finances to simply let a separate trailer insurance policy handle any claims you may need to make to repair or replace any aspect of your trailer.
How Much Does Trailer Insurance Cost?
As with other types of insurance policies, the cost of your trailer insurance will be based on the value of your trailer and its contents.
Let’s take a very general example just so you can get a sense of how this might work.
For every $10,000 of value, you can expect to add another $15 or so to your monthly premiums. So for a very basic trailer worth $10,000, your monthly premium would likely be around $15. For a trailer worth $20,000, your monthly premium would be around $30 per month, and so forth.
Do You Own a Travel Trailer or RV?
Mackay Insurance now provides a special type of insurance policy to ensure your travel trailer is protected.
Get in Touch
Contact us online or give us a call at 1-888-853-5552.
Being classified as a high-risk driver can impact your life in some surprising ways. Sure, you expected your auto insurance premiums to increase after that last accident.
But what you probably didn’t expect was to have your auto insurance policy cancelled!
Unfortunately, even as the entire landscape of Ontario auto insurance is changing (read our blog post about this change here), there isn’t much that can change once you are classified as a high-risk driver.
Once your status changes to high-risk, typically your sole goal becomes finding someone, anyone, who will issue you auto insurance.
In this post, find out what you need to know about high-risk auto insurance: what it is, who needs it and how can you get it.
What Is High-Risk Auto Insurance?
As the name suggests, high-risk auto insurance is designed to provide coverage to drivers who have been deemed a “high risk” on the roadways.
What may not be so clear, however, is that different insurers are permitted to create their own set of criteria for determining who falls into the high-risk category and what type of policy they will provide, if any.
For example, some insurers may base this designation solely on your driving record. Other insurers may factor in additional information such as demographics (vehicle type, vehicle age, payment history, etc.).
So while it is always smart to shop around and gather several quotes before choosing an insurer for any type of insurance product, this makes shopping around especially important if you have been designated as a high-risk driver.
Who Needs High-Risk Auto Insurance?
A number of different factors can play into who gets designated as a high-risk driver. While every case is different, let’s look at some of the most common reasons you may be reclassified as high-risk behind the wheel.
If you have a DUI (driving under the influence) charge on your driver record, even standard high-risk auto insurance may not be sufficient for your needs. DUI insurance is a special category of high-risk auto insurance that some insurers provide for this purpose.
Reckless driving, which may include careless driving and stunt driving, can quickly get your driver status reclassified to high risk. A number of insurance companies have started to treat a cellphone/distracted driving ticket as a major problem, the same as careless driving.
Driving a high-risk vehicle
These two get frequently confused (for obvious reasons), but driving a high-risk vehicle is not the same as being a high-risk driver.
However, both can end up placing you in the high-risk category when it comes to auto insurance. Insurers view driving a high-risk car as similar to exhibiting high-risk driving patterns – both can end up being expensive for them if you submit a claim.
If you own an exotic car, a vintage restored car, a rare car or a car that frequently tops car thieves’ lists of “most desirable car,” you may wind up paying high-risk insurance rates.
Ontario has elected to use the no-fault system of administering auto insurance claims. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be declared “at fault” by your insurer during the claims settlement.
More than 40 different accident classifications exist, including types where no one is at fault. But what is most important to know here is that you can be cited for being at fault in an auto insurance claim even though Ontario itself is a no-fault province.
Once you have been cited as at fault in a traffic incident, you can expect your premiums to increase. Different insurers have different criteria for when a driver is moved to the high-risk category for at fault accidents.
Another common reason drivers get reclassified as high risk is citation for other types of traffic incidents, including speeding and running red lights.
Other non-traffic reasons
If you are taking out an auto insurance policy for the first time, no data exists to help an insurer calculate their risk to insure you. This alone may place you temporarily in the high-risk category.
Still another reason you might find yourself in the high-risk insurance category is if you have credit issues. Many people do not realize that allowing an insurance policy to be cancelled because you do not pay the premium will become part of your insurance record the same as having an accident does, and can put you into a high-risk category.
How to Get High Risk Auto Insurance
Many insurers do offer high-risk auto insurance, although these types of policies are generally less well advertised than mainstream policies.
The best way to begin is to make a connection with an auto insurance broker and explain your situation.
By taking a more personal approach (versus just shopping around anonymously online), your broker can get to know you, learn the details about why you have been classified as a high-risk driver and advocate on your behalf to get you the best deal on a high-risk auto insurance policy.
This can be especially useful when you have been classified as high risk for non-traffic reasons!
As we shared in the introduction here, it can be beneficial to gather at least a few policy quotes so you can compare what each insurer has to offer. Your broker can assist with this process by reaching out to providers in their network to generate quotes on your behalf.
Get in Touch
Are you seeking high-risk auto insurance for yourself or a family member? We can help!
Reach out to us and one of our friendly Mackay Insurance brokers will be able to assist you with gathering high-risk auto insurance quotes and choosing the best policy to meet your needs.
Contact us online or give us a call at 1-888-853-5552.
Since early January of this year, Ontario’s leadership has been putting the entire auto insurance industry under a magnifying glass, beginning with a survey sent to current policyholders.
Its goal? To initiate reforms to lower premiums to a level in line with the relatively low volume of reported auto-related accidents and fatalities.
To that end, officials have been surveying customers to discover exactly what is – to use their precise words – “broken” in the auto insurance industry.
In this timely blog post, find out breaking news about these auto insurance changes that may impact what you pay, your coverage levels and your access to electronic resources for managing your auto insurance policy.
What Policyholders Had to Say About Navigating Auto Insurance
The January Ministry of Finance policyholder survey results didn’t surprise anyone who has ever had to navigate the increasingly complex and expensive world of Ontario auto insurance.
More than half of the respondents reported that they found the fine print on their own auto insurance policy too complicated to easily understand. A full 55 percent of respondents said there were few options to customize their auto insurance to their individual needs.
Even as the survey results were being tallied, a Newswire editorial simultaneously reported on continued auto policy rate hikes across Canada.
Some of the steepest hikes took place in Ontario, where policyholders saw increases of up to 9.06 percent. The report cited insurance fraud and increased claims as a reason for the hikes.
The New Proposed Plan: Putting Drivers First
In early April, the government unveiled the new auto insurance plan, entitled "Putting Drivers First."
Lots of proposed changes will be coming down the pike, each of which is designed to help Ontario drivers get lower rates and individually tailored coverage.
Here are five changes we feel are particularly relevant and compelling – be sure to discuss these changes and how they may impact your auto insurance policy!
Reducing Industry Regulation
With fewer auto industry regulations imposed from the provincial level down, insurers will be free to customize rate plans and policy benefits to a greater degree.
This will benefit policy holders by creating more healthy competition among insurers to create new tailored auto insurance plans and packages that appeal to different customer segments.
No More Postal Code Discrimination
Ontario officials have indicated their plans to stop rate increases that are based solely on the policyholder’s address.
Increasing Options to Trim Policy Costs
A number of options are on the table to potentially reduce the costs of issuing and administering auto insurance policies.
Among the most anticipated are two that many feel are long overdue in the industry.
Drivers will now be permitted to permit insurers to review credit scores and credit history to influence policy rates.
During the claims process, drivers will now be given options to use certain repair facilities or healthcare clinics and receive reduced policy rates.
Fraud Prevention Is a Priority
Ongoing issues with widespread auto industry insurance fraud has impeded the industry’s efforts to better serve customers.
Ontario officials plan to implement stricter controls to improve industry-wide customer data security, control escalating auto insurance claims-related legal expenses, institute new rulings on unfair practices in the industry, develop an online process for submitting and tracking claims and more.
Better E-Insurance Options
January customer survey respondents highlighted a lack of electronic options as a chronic source of frustration when managing their auto insurance policy information.
Officials have announced that customers will now be able to make policy payments online, access coverage details and documents, connect with their brokers, use e-POF (proof of insurance) documents as needed and communicate via email about auto insurance matters.
Streamlined Claims Processing
The current ponderous claims process has contributed to issues with auto insurance and medical fraud and has caused rising costs.
Under the new Driver Care Plan, benefit limits for catastrophic injury claims will be increased from $1 million to $2 million in benefits.
After filing an accident/injury claim, proposed changes include providing the insured with a type of insurance debit card that has been pre-loaded with funds that can be used toward covered medical expenses such as physical therapy.
What to Expect Over the Coming Months
With new rate hikes coming on the heels of the announcement of Ontario’s long-awaited auto insurance industry overhaul, it is hard to know exactly what we can expect in the coming months.
What we do know is that the proposed auto industry-wide reforms are designed to take place in a gradual rollout over the next few years to soften the impact to Ontario’s budget.
Officials cite the need to design, test and implement the proposed reforms, which have the potential to impact an estimated 10 million Ontarian policyholders, as another reason for the multi-year rollout.
Rest assured that we will keep all of our policyholders updated on important industry reforms that may affect their insurance rates and coverage, claims processes and policy benefits.
Do You Have Questions About Auto Insurance Policy Changes in Ontario?
If you have questions about options to lower your auto insurance policy rates, available discounts and credits, bundling options and family auto insurance plans, we invite you to give your broker a call or send us an email.
Remember to update your information if you have moved, added a new vehicle, changed your driving habits significantly or taken a seasonal vehicle out of storage for summer use.
Get in Touch
Are you shopping around for a new auto insurance policy? We can help!
Contact us online or give us a call at 888-853-5552.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, many recreational vehicle owners could be carrying the wrong type of auto insurance or not enough auto insurance.
Figuring out how to properly protect seasonal vehicles represents a common area of confusion for motorists, especially if you have one vehicle you drive year-round and other vehicles you drive only during a specific season.
If your seasonal vehicle isn’t carrying the right type of insurance, you may be putting your investment at great risk. In this article, learn the difference between storage insurance and standard auto insurance, how each product works and how to know which product you need!
What Is a Seasonal Vehicle?
The first information to sort out is the definition of a “seasonal vehicle.”
At its most basic, a seasonal vehicle is any vehicle that is not in use all year long. Common examples of seasonal vehicles include snowmobiles, recreational vehicles (RVs), classic cars, mopeds and motorcycles.
Most Ontarians put their seasonal vehicles into some type of secure storage during the off-season.
What Is Storage Vehicle Insurance?
Reducing insurance coverage while your vehicle is in storage may save you money.
When a seasonal vehicle is in use, you need full insurance coverage on it, including liability insurance. You also need to be sure the vehicle’s license plate sticker is current. These are legal requirements that protect you and others while you are operating that vehicle on or off the roadways.
However, when you put your seasonal vehicle into storage, you do not need coverage for road use. You may be able to remove liability insurance and collision coverage during the off-season and save money. Note that if your insurance coverage includes Comprehensive coverage (fire, theft, vandalism etc.) you should always keep this coverage on the vehicle while it is stored.
Some seasonal vehicle owners choose to let their insurance lapse or even cancel their policy for that vehicle during the off-season, but this is not advisable.
You don’t ever want to drop the comprehensive portion of your vehicle insurance policy, since this is your only protection against seasonal vehicle loss or damage due to fire, theft, natural disaster, vandalism and other non-collision threats.
When you are preparing to garage a seasonal vehicle for the off-season, you will need to call your broker to let them know you are ready to drop back to comprehensive-only insurance coverage.
Similarly, when you are preparing to take a seasonal vehicle out of storage for use again, you will need to make a note in your calendar to call your broker in advance to reactivate your standard vehicle insurance coverage.
When taking a vehicle out of storage, always be sure your license plate sticker on the car is current.
Note that there are circumstances when you will not simply be able to delete “driving coverage” from a seasonally used vehicle. You may need to pay the premium for full coverage and temporarily “suspend” the coverage you do not need. When full coverage is added back onto the vehicle, you will receive a credit/refund for the time the coverage was suspended.
What Is Included with Coverage Needed to Drive a Seasonal Vehicle?
When you are driving a seasonally used vehicle, the coverage you need is the same as for a vehicle used year round. There may or may not be coverage on the vehicle itself for collision, theft, etc. depending what you purchase. However, coverages that will always be included when a vehicle is insured to drive include:
Third-party liability coverage
Your third-party liability rider protects you if you cause harm or death to someone else or their property in an auto incident.
Statutory accident benefits coverage
Your statutory accident benefits protect you if you are injured in an auto incident regardless of who is at fault.
There are also a number of optional riders you can elect to purchase. You should review Accident Benefits options with your broker.
Direct compensation property damage (DC-PD) coverage
DC-PD provides you with compensation if your vehicle or its contents are damaged or lost due to the actions of another driver (if certain other conditions are also met).
Uninsured automobile coverage
Uninsured automobile coverage protects you against hit-and-run drivers and uninsured motorists.
Specialty Vehicle Vs. Seasonal Vehicle
Certain types of vehicles, such as motorcycles and snowmobiles, are seasonal by their nature. For these vehicles, the full premium is earned during the season they are typically used.
For example, traditional motorcycle insurance is designed to cover the policyholder year-round but is automatically prorated to account for storing the bike in the winter. It is not necessary to change the coverage seasonally, and there are no premium savings if you do.
Get in Touch
Here at Mackay Insurance, our knowledgeable, experienced team of brokers has more than 165 combined years of cross-disciplinary insurance industry expertise. We can get you the most insurance for the most competitive pricing with all the available discounts.
If you prefer, you can also use our easy online quote generator tool to receive a free insurance quote on the product of your choice within minutes.
Do you need individual guidance on how to ensure your vehicles are properly insured for year-round and seasonal use? Contact us online or give us a call at 1-888-853-5552 for fast, personalized service
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.