Mackay Insurance Blog
14 Valuable Cottage Insurance Tips For a Successful Cottage Closing
Summer is quickly coming to a close - bringing a sad so-long to the heat and adventures of summer. And after spending as many long weekends and vacation days at the cottage as possible, it’s time to shore the docks.
As a cottage owner, you know the importance of closing down your cottage for the winter. And as insurance brokers, we have all the tips you need to get the job done right!
In this article, we have 14 valuable cottage insurance tips that will help you,
- Close your cottage down successfully.
- Limit the risk of unnecessary loss and damage over the winter season.
- Ensure your cottage insurance coverage is up to date.
Ready? Let’s get your Ontario cottage safely into hibernation mode!
1. Get your wood stoves and other heating systems checked.
Seasonal cottages usually have their heat source(s) shut down during the off-season.
This saves money on unnecessary heating costs and prevents your cottage heating from becoming a fire hazard.
So during your last visit to the cottage, be sure to shut off and clean your heating system - whether it's a fireplace, furnace or space heater!
You’ll also want to shut off/disconnect any gas lines and fuel supplies.
2. Turn off your main water supply.
Keeping your water on over the winter months is just asking for trouble.
Not only can this cause expensive water damage repairs. But it can also bring about mould and mildew growth!
If left unchecked, mould growth can even lead to:
- Floorboards caving in
- Ceiling collapses and
- Crumbling walls.
And none of these vulnerabilities is something your insurance company wants to risk.
So, as you're shutting your cottage down for the season, don’t forget to shut off your main water supply too!
3. Empty your pipes, water tanks and drain lines.
Standing water in your pipes, tanks and lines can lead to freezing and even bursting - causing extensive home and plumbing repairs.
To avoid this issue, remember to drain your:
- Water Tanks
- Drain Lines
- Appliances etc.
4. Turn off your electricity.
Since there is no heat or running water in your cottage during the winter, turning off your electricity is the next obvious step.
According to the ESA, there are four critical steps in powering down your cottage:
- Unplug all appliances before powering down.
- Turn off each breaker before flipping the main breaker switch. This protects your large appliances from experiencing a damaging power surge when powered back up in the spring.
- Store extension cords safely in a waterproof and rodent-proof location.
- Check for tree branches near powerlines on your property to prevent electrical damage and fire hazards).
Note: Before turning off your electricity, remember to empty your fridge and freezer of any perishable goods.
5. Inspect your roof.
A damaged roof increases the risk of leaks and cave-ins over winter. That’s why repairing your roof before winter arrives is so important!
Heavy snow and high gusts of wind can cause severe damage to your home - both internally and externally - if your roof is not secure.
When inspecting your roof, look for:
- Broken or missing shingles
- Mould growth
- Sagging areas
- Rusted nails
- Insect/Animal infestation
- Dark patches
And while you’re up there, don’t forget to clear your gutters!
6. Clear out your eavestroughs and downspouts
Rain water can’t drain properly from your roof with clogged eavestroughs and downspouts.
This water buildup can cause expensive water damage to your home, both internally and externally.
Before leaving your cottage for the winter, ensure your roof’s drainage system is fully intact and cleared out. This will prevent water from pooling in and leaking into your home.
7. Trim overhanging branches.
Trimming large, overhanging branches on your property is incredibly helpful for more than one reason.
We already mentioned how trimming branches near power lines help prevent electrical damage and fire hazards. But those aren’t the only trees you have to worry about.
Overhanging branches around your home, boathouse and sheds can also present a problem. That problem could be the branches themselves falling on these structures or even heavy snow and ice falling off them.
8. Ensure unwanted critters can’t get into your cottage.
Over the winter months, most critters are looking for a warm escape, shielded from heavy snowfall.
Unfortunately, your vacant cottage is the perfect hideaway for mice, racoons, squirrels and even bats.
And all of these creatures can wreak havoc on your home, its structural integrity, furniture and other valuables.
To keep your cabin guest-free over the winter, follow these steps:
- Keep wood piles far away from your cottage.
- Clear out your gutters.
- Reapply caulking around pipes, dryer vents and gas lines.
- Check window and door seals.
- Use steel wool to fill in small holes.
- Cover your chimney.
- Seal foods like oats, pancake mix and pet food (or, better yet, take them home with you).
- Set traps in and around your cottage.
9. Store your boat and other recreational vehicles safely away.
To keep your water-crafts safe over the winter, we recommend storing them in a secure location and investing in boat insurance.
Are you planning on storing your boat on your cottage property over the winter? If so, you’ll want to ensure it’s well protected from harsh weather, uninvited critters and robbery.
This is why boat insurance is so important!
10. Remove the doc from the water.
As water freezes and unfreezes, ice expands and contracts. And, since wooden docks soak up water, this expanding and contracting can cause breakages.
Removing your dock from the water ensures it doesn’t get ruined over the winter months.
Note: If you plan to keep your dock in the water over the winter with water agitators, don’t forget to post a sign on its location! Snowmobilers and skiers who use the frozen lakes for recreational use over the winter never expect docks to lie in their path. So labelling the location of your dock helps keep them safe.
11. Go over your current cottage insurance coverages.
Once you've packed up your cottage, it’s time to review your current cottage insurance plan.
This is especially important if the usage of your cottage has changed recently. Having up-to-date coverages that reflect your specific needs helps ensure that you,
a) Have the right protection, and
b) Are not overpaying for any unnecessary coverages.
12. Speak with your insurance broker about recent or upcoming cottage renovations.
Have you made any recent changes to your cottage lately? Or plan to?
If these renovations are not currently reflected in your policy, they aren't protected. This means that they are not reimbursable in the event of damage or loss.
Making sure your insurance company is aware of these changes ensures your property is fully protected. And that includes any recent, pricy upgrades!
13. Remove all valuables from your cottage property.
As you’re doing a final sweep of the cottage, make sure you pack up all valuables. That includes expensive equipment, recreational vehicles (i.e. kayaks), landscaping tools etc.
Removing your valuables from your vacant cottage helps prevent break-ins and theft.
14. Secure your cottage.
Lastly, secure your cottage as best you can!
Cottage security tips:
- Lock all doors.
- Lock all windows.
- Draw your curtains so people can’t see indoors.
- Store outdoor ladders and furniture away from your cottage.
- Install a gate at the front of the driveway.
- Ask a nearby neighbour to check in once in a while.
- Install security cameras and an alarm system.
Need An Updated Cottage Insurance Policy? Contact Mackay Insurance in Belleville and Napanee!
At Mackay Insurance, keeping your family and home as safe as possible is our number one goal. And that includes your home away from home!
Want more information on our cottage insurance packages? Whether looking for a new policy or upgrading your current coverages, your Mackay broker can help!
Is Boat Insurance Still Useful In Winter When It's In Storage?
It’s tempting to cancel your boat insurance in the off-season. But should you?
Now that summer is ending and you’re getting your boat ready for storage, it probably seems natural to cancel your insurance coverage. After all, why would you need your boat protected when it’s not even on the water?
While some consider winter boat insurance coverage to be an unnecessary expense, it’s quite the opposite.
During the summer, your boat is likely skimming across the Bay of Quinte, carrying multiple passengers. And while it’s on the water, it’s obvious how much of a risk it can become - whether that’s to you, the boat itself, your passengers or even other boats on the water.
In this case, this insurance coverage makes absolute sense.
But is boat insurance still useful in winter, when the boat is in storage?
It may not put other boats and passengers at risk while stored away, other factors can put it at risk - like theft, vandalism, fire etc.
In this article, our Mackay Insurance brokers discuss the value of winter boat insurance - keeping your investment as safe and protected as possible during the off-season.
What Does Boat Insurance Typically Cover?
Boat insurance typically covers two things - the boat itself and your liability in the event of an accident.
Let’s break down these coverages in more detail below:
Physical Boat Coverage
Boat insurance coverage protects the physical boat and attached/onboard boating equipment, such as the hull, boat motor, sails and engine.
This all-risk boat insurance covers physical risks such as:
- Weather-related perils,
- Theft and
If your boat is no longer useable (due to one of the above events), your insurance plan provides a loss settlement.
In an Agreed Value policy, insurance companies provide the agreed-upon amount in the policy. Physical depreciation is not factored into the agreed-upon value.
Actual Cash Value (ACV)
In an ACV policy, insurance companies reimburse the current market value. In this case, the insurance company does factor in physical depreciation.
Additional Boating Insurance Coverage:
Most insurance companies also offer additional boating insurance coverages. These are add-ons to your existing policy and offer further protection.
1. Personal Property Coverages
Extra insurance coverage that many boaters invest in is personal items coverage. This coverage protects personal belongings aboard your boats - such as clothing or fishing equipment.
2. Emergency Towing & Assistance Coverages
Emergency Towing & Assistance coverage reimburses you for costs associated with emergency services. This could include towing, fuel delivery or even emergency repairs.
What happens if you experience a boating accident and another party makes a claim against you?
In this situation, liability boat insurance is imperative.
It financially protects you, the boater, if you cause injury or damage to another person’s property or boat.
Note: Liability boating insurance is not required by law. However, it is highly recommended.
5 Reasons Why You Should Insure Your Boat In The Off-Season
Now that you know what boating insurance covers, let’s explore why it’s useful to keep this insurance over the winter months.
1. Theft and Vandalism
Although the in-water risks associated with boating are extensive, out-of-water risks to your boat exist too.
Over the winter months, you can store your boat in several different locations:
- On your property (i.e. in the garage or a boathouse).
- At a marine.
- In a storage facility.
But no matter where you choose to store it, your boat is still at risk of theft, damage and vandalism.
Anyone can steal the boat from your property, vandalize it at a public marine or damage it in a storage facility.
Thankfully, boat insurance covers these types of losses.
But if you do not have boat insurance, you are responsible for repairing/replacing your boat out-of-pocket.
2. Weather Damages
Your boat may have an off-season, but weather conditions are ongoing.
Even if your boat is safely stored away, weather damages can occur.
While your boat may not experience the same weather damages as it would on the water, there are others to consider.
For example, fire and flooding are two high-risk weather events that can cause extensive damage and loss. And without coverage, these damages and losses are your responsibility alone.
3. Homeowners Insurance Might Not Cover Your Boat
If you choose to store your boat on your property, does your home insurance policy cover it?
Yes and no.
Homeowners insurance can cover damages to your boat while it’s on your property, but these coverages have a strict limit.
Smaller watercraft, like canoes and kayaks, are typically covered in full. However, powerboats, pontoons and sailboats are not - leaving you to pay for most of the loss yourself.
4. Some Lenders and Storage Facilities Require Boat Insurance
Although boat insurance is not required by law, some lenders, marines and storage facilities do require it.
These parties are protecting themselves and their investments, just as you should!
5. Canceling or Pausing Your Coverage Could Cost You More In the Long Run
It may seem like cancelling your boat insurance during the winter can save you money. But this is not always the case.
Firstly, you could experience cancellation penalties if you exit your insurance plan before the end of your policy term.
Secondly, insurance companies typically prefer to ensure a boat that has already had insurance coverage in the past.
And thirdly, many insurance companies reward clients with a reduced deductible for each claim-free year. Cancelling your coverage plan would eradicate this reward.
Contact Mackay Insurance For Your All-Season Boat Insurance
Your boat is a major investment. Just like your home, trailer or car is! Keeping it protected, whether it’s in use or not, is invaluable.
Learn more about your Belleville Boat Insurance options from our Mackay Insurance Brokers today! You can reach our Belleville office at 613-966-5740 or our Napanee office at 613-354-2555. We also offer free boat insurance quotes online!
Cottage Insurance: 10 Questions You Need To Ask Before Choosing a Policy
Your cottage is your safe haven. Your peace and quiet. Your vacation! But without the right cottage insurance coverage, your home-away-from-home might actually become:
a) A safety risk and
b) A Financial liability.
Are you investing in a new cottage property this year? Maybe you already have a cottage and a policy but aren’t happy with the cost or coverages you’re getting.
Now is the time to start thinking about (or re-thinking) your cottage insurance policy.
After all, your cottage policy is what protects your vacation home in the event of:
- Damage from falling objects
- Weather Damage
But not all cottage policies are the same.
Do you need help understanding cottage policies and how to choose the right one?
In this article, we explore some of the most important factors in choosing your cottage insurance policy. So you can make the best choice for your family, budget and investments!
Keep reading for 10 key questions you should ask BEFORE choosing your cottage insurance policy this year.
1. What are the policy differences between seasonal and year-round cottage insurance?
Do you have a seasonal cottage or a year-round cottage? This is a crucial detail for your insurance company to know. Especially if you’re looking to narrow down your coverage needs and reduce your insurance costs.
Seasonal cottages are not winterized and are only accessible for a part of the year.
Do you have a seasonal cottage? If so, our Mackay brokers recommend seasonal cottage insurance, also called basic coverage.
This basic insurance covers your seasonal cottage and belongings. But it does not automatically insure seasonal detached buildings (i.e. a boathouse). You can, however, add this coverage at an extra cost.
That’s why it’s considered a Named Perils Coverage plan. It only covers losses resulting from perils that are clearly identified in the policy.
Seasonal-use cottages are usually considered a higher risk because cottagers visit them less. Thus they are not maintained as regularly.
Year-Round (Second-Home) Insurance
If your year-round cottage is accessible 365 days of the year, your Mackay broker recommends broad coverage.
This policy includes protection for your cottage, detached buildings and belongings.
This form of coverage is commonly referred to as Second-Home Insurance. Why? It covers all risks associated with homeownership. Much like your Home Insurance policy does.
2. Does a cottage insurance policy cover a cottage located on an island or remote location?
While some cottagers choose a local, more public location for their vacation home, others prefer the off-grid lifestyle.
But will your insurance company still cover a cottage located on an island or other remote location?
That depends on which insurance company you work with.
While some Ontario insurance companies refuse to insure remote vacation homes, others specialize in it!
In this case, we recommend speaking with your insurance provider BEFORE purchasing your cottage.
They may agree to ensure you, but pay close attention to the insurance premiums they offer you. A cottage not easily accessed makes it an extremely high risk.
And many providers tend to increase insurance premiums for remote locations because they are not easily accessible by:
- Emergency Medical Services
- Fire Halls
- Fire Hydrants
3. Does an off-grid small cabin still need insurance?
The simple answer is no.
Smaller cabins (600 square foot buildings) deep in the woods and without power don’t legally need insurance.
But while cottage insurance is not required, third-party liability coverage is always a good investment.
Protecting yourself while another individual is on your property is always crucial.
And while we are on the topic of guests…
4. Do you need liability protection for cottage guests?
If you own a cottage, chances are you host many family and friend get-togethers every summer. After all, who wouldn’t want to share such a gem of a location with their loved ones?
But if you don’t have liability insurance, these events become a big financial risk.
As a cottage owner in Ontario, it is your legal responsibility to make your property as safe as possible. In fact, Ontario’s occupier’s Liability Act clearly states:
“An occupier of premises owes a duty to take such care as in all the circumstances of the case is reasonable to see that persons entering on the premises, and the property brought on the premises by those persons are reasonably safe while on the premises.”
This means you need to ensure all aspects of your cottage property are reasonably safe, including your:
Liability insurance protects you in the unfortunate event of injuries resulting from a slip, fall, drowning, watercraft incident…etc. on your property.
5. Does a cottage insurance policy cover renters?
Planning on renting out your cottage? Be sure to tell your insurance company!
Some providers don’t allow cottage rentals on their policies. So you may need to look for a different insurance provider if you plan to rent out.
On its own, your cottage policy does not usually cover renters. But for companies that offer it, adjustments to accommodate rental situations are usually an option.
6. What structures ( i.e. dock, boathouse) does your cottage insurance policy cover?
As mentioned before, the structures covered on your cottage insurance policy depend on what type of policy you choose.
Seasonal cottage insurance offers Named Perils Coverage. This usually includes attached structures like the garage and deck. It does not, however, cover other outbuildings unless otherwise noted.
On the other hand…
All-season cottage insurance is an All Risk policy, much like your home insurance policy. So it does cover unattached, outdoor structures, including:
- Detached Garages
7. Are cottage toys (i.e. boats) covered by a cottage insurance policy?
Most cottage toys require additional or separate coverage. This can include your:
- Jet Ski
- Inflatable Dock
- Paddle Board
- Water Trampoline…etc.
These items are usually not included in your cottage insurance. However, you must check with your insurance company on what is and isn’t covered.
8. Does cottage insurance include Replacement Costs or Actual Cash Value?
Every insurance company is different. So understanding the financial reimbursement factor of your cottage insurance coverage is crucial. After all, replacement costs and cash value are two potentially very different amounts. And you want to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your policy.
If your insurance company promises replacement costs, you’ll receive the repair costs or item replacement in full. With zero depreciation.
Actual Cash Value:
If your insurance company promises actual cash value, you’ll receive the current, depreciated value of the building.
9. Do your home and cottage insurance have to be with the same company?
Many insurance companies won’t insure your cottage unless you have existing home insurance with them. While others specifically specialize in vacation home insurance!
So before you start shopping for the best cottage insurance policy, be aware of your limitation. Ask your insurance company what their requirements are and proceed from there!
10. How do you keep a cottage insurance policy valid?
For your insurance policy to stay valid, there are usually a few requirements set out by your insurance provider.
Many companies insist their clients make regular visits to their seasonal cottage throughout the year.
Failure to make these regular visits could result in your policy becoming invalid.
If you’re unsure what your insurance company requires of you for a valid policy, ask your insurance broker! They will review your policy, or potential policy, with you to ensure you understand your role in the policy validation process.
Get The Right Cottage Insurance Coverage With Mackay!
Whether you have a cottage, a cabin, a lakehouse, a hunting camp or a chalet, we’ve got the insurance coverage you need!
Get in touch with your Mackay broker today to learn more about our cottage insurance options.
You can reach our Belleville office at 613-966-5740 or our Napanee office at 613-354-2555. You can even start your online application process for cottage insurance right away!
Happy Cottage Season!
The Reason You'll Need to Invest in Secure Special Event Insurance
It is exciting to watch our world open back up following the pandemic. Now, finally, we are seeing local special events happen again.
Are you making plans to host a special event? Do you have a private special event such as a wedding or birthday celebration? Is your business planning a grand reopening? Is your charity planning a nonprofit fundraiser?
Whether your event is local or virtual, you need to be sure your investment is protected by carrying special event insurance. Learn what type of insurance you need for your event and be sure it’s a flawless success!
Perils & Pitfalls of Virtual Versus Local Special Events
During the last year and a half, we have gotten very used to hosting and attending virtual events for personal and professional purposes. After all, what other option have we had?
But now we have options again. And this requires a consideration of the different risks that accompany these different types of special events. Let's take a look.
Risks of Virtual Special Events
In some ways, virtual special events carry quite similar risks to in-person events. For example, virtual special events can still be cancelled or postponed.
Typically this happens due to a speaker no-show or last-minute cancellation or transmission problems due to technology.
And in other ways, virtual special events actually carry a higher risk than local events do.
An example is the risk of cyber hacking that causes event disruption, such as the "Zoom bombing" that ruined many virtual meetings (and made international news headlines) during the early days of the pandemic.
Virtual events are also unusually vulnerable to other cybercrime activities, such as data leaks and identity theft.
Another thing to consider is whether your virtual event will include the participation of sponsors. Many corporate sponsors require proof of special event liability insurance (at a minimum) before they will sign on to sponsor an event.
Risks of In-Person Special Events.
As you can see, some of the risks of virtual events are the same as live local special events.
For example, there is still the risk of a speaker no-show or last-minute cancellation. There can still be the risk of technology malfunction that leads to event failure.
But there are other risks specific to local events, including the risk of cancellation due to bad weather or damage to the event venue.
There is always a risk that a guest, vendor, volunteer, performer or contract worker will get injured during your event. This risk escalates if you plan to have live music or any types of interactive events or games.
And if your menu includes liquor, your liability may extend to what happens even after your guests leave the premises. Special care is required here to avoid being held liable for any drunk driving accident that may occur after your event ends.
And sponsors will likely require proof of event insurance before signing on to participate.
Risks of Hybrid Special Events.
Hybrid special events include both a virtual and a local component.
An example might be a streaming virtual event from a live event location site. Often this is done with sporting events, conferences and many private events such as weddings and graduation ceremonies.
If you are hosting a hybrid special event, you will want to think through the risks for both components - virtual and local - and be sure you are carrying adequate special event insurance to protect your investment.
What If You Don't Know What Special Event Insurance You Need?
If you are reading through this blog post and thinking, "But I don't even know what kind of special event insurance I need”, don’t worry.
Every day, individuals and businesses begin planning an event for the first time. This learning curve is a necessary part of making sure your investment in your special event pays off for you!
So where should you start if you aren't sure what type and level of special event insurance you need?
1. Get your event details down on paper.
The first step is definitely to write down all the details of your special event.
- What is your event date?
- When will the actual special event start and end?
- When will setup and teardown for your special event start and end?
- What is the schedule of events?
- Will you have sponsors involved?
- Will you have volunteers at your event?
- Will you have performers or vendors at your event?
- Will your event include sports or interactive activities or games?
- Will liquor be served?
- Is your event local, virtual or hybrid?
- Will your event include or cater to minors?
- Will you rent a space for your event or host at your own space?
2. Schedule a call with your Mackay Insurance broker.
Special event insurance represents a mere fraction of the investment of time, money and sweat equity you are pouring into your special event.
Once you have all of the details of your special event down on paper, it is time to sit down with your Mackay insurance broker and have a conversation about how to protect your investment.
Here, our shared goal will be to identify the exact components your special event insurance package must include.
This way, you will not end up paying for coverage that doesn't apply to your event. And you will not end up going into your special event with coverage omissions that could leave you vulnerable to lawsuits.
Contact Mackay Insurance for Your Belleville and Napanee Ontario Special Event Insurance Needs
Here at Mackay Insurance, our friendly and experienced brokers are delighted to help you plan a successful, memorable and profitable virtual, hybrid or local special event!
Renter Insurance vs Tenant Insurance: Which Type Do You Need?
“Renter insurance” and “tenant insurance”...These two terms sound very much alike, but are they the same thing?
This is a great question!
Actually, here in Canada, renter insurance is not the same thing as tenant insurance. And you really do need to know the difference in order to be sure you are purchasing the correct policy type for your specific needs.
In this post, we break down the definitions of each insurance product, what renter insurance covers vs. what tenant insurance covers, and how to know when to purchase each!
Tenant Insurance vs. Renter Insurance: Definition of Terms
Tenant insurance is insurance that protects you while you are renting a home, condo, apartment or other type of living quarters.
You would want to purchase tenant insurance in order to protect your belongings from loss, theft, damage or destruction while you are living in a rented space.
Renter insurance is a term used to make your existing insurance carrier aware if you are renting out part of, or all of your home.
You would want to purchase renter insurance if you have, or are planning to have, a renter, lodger, AIRBNB or long-term boarder living on your primary or secondary property.
What Does Renter Insurance Cover?
Renter insurance is a special type of insurance product that is designed to provide property, liability and possible contents coverage for a number of perils.
Your renter would be responsible for their own tenants coverage, which provides protection for their own contents as well as liability coverage.
What Does Tenant Insurance Cover?
Tenant insurance is designed to provide coverage for personal property and possessions (items inside your rented space) only as well as liability protection.
Here, the property owner or landlord typically carries a separate insurance policy to protect the property and structure itself.
As the tenant (renter), your tenant insurance policy covers what the landlord's policy does not cover.
Examples of the types of items a typical tenant insurance policy will cover include:
- Musical Instruments
- Sports Equipment
Who Needs to Carry Renter Insurance?
Renter insurance is an insurance product designed with property owners in mind.
For example, let's say you have a home that includes a garage apartment or furnished basement that you rent out to tenants. Alternately, perhaps you rent out a room or suite in your home to a lodger or boarder.
You would want to carry a renter insurance policy as an add-on to your homeowner's insurance policy that protects you from liability related to your tenant's presence or personal possessions on your property.
Many people insure their homes as a principal homeowners policy and the company is not made aware that any portion is being rented. This could put the entire policy in jeopardy!
Who Needs to Carry Tenant Insurance?
Tenant insurance is an insurance product designed with renters, lodgers and boarders in mind.
For example, let's say you are paying rent to live in a traditional apartment, garage apartment, condo, basement, room or suite. Your landlord has homeowner's insurance to cover damage or destruction for the premises and structures.
But that policy doesn't protect you or your property!
You would still need to carry your own tenant insurance in order to protect anything you store inside your rented space, so if something happens you have coverage to replace damaged, lost or stolen items.
In addition, you may need coverage if you cause damage to the property or premises - even if you had no intention to cause harm.
One of the most common examples of unintentional harm is fire damage that results from an unattended burning candle or cigarette. Another common example is pipe damage caused by flushing impassible solid matter down a commode.
Finally, you may need to carry tenant insurance to cover costs for a temporary relocation if your unit or living space is damaged or destroyed.
How to Know How Much Tenant Insurance You Need?
When you are selecting your level of tenant insurance coverage, consider your needs in these key areas:
Contents (personal property)
Figuring out how much coverage you need for contents is as simple as calculating the value of your personal property.
For example, how much would it cost to replace your computer, phone, clothing and furniture? Be sure to consider what it would cost you to replace the item versus how much that item is currently worth after adjusting for deflation.
Third Party Liability
In most cases, third party liability coverage starts at $1,000,000. However, for only around $25 a year more, increasing this to a $2 million policy offers far more protection.
Additional Living Expenses (temporary relocation)
To calculate how much coverage you need for additional living expenses, consider what you would have to pay in rent and bills to temporarily relocate if your current space became uninhabitable.
What is the going rate for rent in your area? This should be your baseline for coverage.
Mackay Is Your Belleville Tenant Insurance Expert!
Reach out to your friendly and knowledgeable Mackay Insurance brokers to request a FREE QUOTE on affordable renter’s insurance and tenant insurance!
How To Obtain Camper Trailer Insurance For Your Summer Camping Plans This Year!
The great outdoors has always been great. But in the wake of the global pandemic, being outdoors has become positively spectacular.
This year, getting outdoors is the safest way to have fun, de-stress and see other actual human beings again.
And one of the best ways to get outdoors is to go camping with your COVID bubble or social pod!
As the warm season approaches in earnest, it will soon be time to pile your tents and all your gear into your camper trailer and head for one of the lush and lovely scenic sites Canada is known for.
But before you hit the road, there is one thing you absolutely don't want to forget to do. Be sure to insure your camper trailer! Learn everything you need to know to get the best deal on camper trailer insurance in this post.
What Is a Camper Trailer?
There are four basic types of trailers.
1. Classic Pop-Top Camper Trailer
This is often dubbed the "pop up trailer" because when the tent portion is stowed away out of sight, it looks like a small rectangle on wheels.
But pop the lid and voila! You've got a really neat, multifunctional cross between an RV and a tent.
2. Hard Top Trailer
Hard top trailers are also called teardrop trailers, standup trailers, compact hard wall trailers and variations of the same.
These are extremely small, lightweight hitch trailers with a small footprint. Many can take you into the backcountry!
3. Fifth Wheel Trailer
If you imagine the exact opposite of a compact, lightweight camper trailer, what you have is the fifth wheel trailer.
Fifth wheel trailers are basically like little homes on wheels. Some are spacious enough for families to live full-time, but others are used more seasonally. They attach to a suitable vehicle for hauling by means of a special mounted coupling.
4. Cottager Trailer
A cottager trailer is essentially either a fifth wheel trailer or a traditional trailer that has been mounted semi-permanently or permanently on some type of foundation.
What Is Camper Trailer Insurance?
Fundamentally, camper trailer insurance is a type of insurance product that protects a towed, non-motorized, recreational vehicle.
And now that you have a better picture of all the different types of recreational vehicles that this definition applies towards, it will make more sense when we tell you that camper trailer insurance is not just one product.
Rather, it is a suite of products offering different types and levels of insurance coverage for different needs.
In most cases, camper trailer insurance policies and riders can be customized to reflect add-ons and modifications (such as a sunroom or deck) that may be unique to your specific camper trailer.
How to Choose the Right Camper Trailer Insurance
How do you know what type of camper trailer insurance policy you need to protect your investment?
This is what we recommend.
1. First, verify your camper trailer's value.
The best place to start is to verify your camper trailer's current market value. You want to know how much your investment is worth.
Some of our clients have been surprised to discover that, far from depreciating over time, their camper trailers have actually appreciated in value as a result of the pandemic.
2. Next, identify your usage patterns.
Are you living in your camper trailer seasonally or full-time? Do you envision using it for occasional weekend getaways throughout the summer? Perhaps you plan to take it on an extended trip cross-country or internationally.
Where will you park it? How will you secure it? What possessions or valuables will you bring with you? Will you have any pets on board?
The answers to each of these questions give you a better idea of your financial exposure if your camper trailer and its contents is not adequately insured.
3. Match your camper trailer with the right method of insurance coverage.
Let's say you have a cottager (stationary) camper trailer and you live in it seasonally or full time.
In this case, rather than purchasing a standalone camper trailer insurance policy, you would want to modify your homeowners insurance policy to reflect the new addition.
If you have a lightweight pop up or hard top camper trailer that you haul with your commuter vehicle, you may have partial liability coverage through your auto insurance policy. But typically this only applies when the camper trailer is physically attached to the hauling vehicle.
In this case, you would want to look at whether adding a rider on to your existing auto insurance or homeowner's insurance policy would provide enough coverage. Alternately, you may find that purchasing standalone camper trailer insurance ends up being both more comprehensive and more affordable.
Finally, if you have a fifth wheel camper trailer, you will most likely need to purchase a complete standalone camper trailer insurance policy to obtain the level of coverage required to fully protect your investment and your family.
Camper Trailer Insurance Coverage Options
Camper trailer insurance coverage is flexible enough to reflect different usage patterns, garaging options and special risks related to a camper trailer's shape and size.
The major categories to consider include the following:
- Comprehensive and collision coverage
- Liability coverage
- Accessories (attachments) coverage
- Emergency coverage
Call Your Mackay Broker For Belleville Camper Trailer Insurance
We predict this will be the summer of the camper trailer - and you don't want yours to be uninsured! A camper trailer is a high value investment that needs to be protected from loss, theft and damage.
Get in touch with your friendly, knowledgeable brokers at Mackay Insurance by phone or email today. We will help you get the best deal on affordable camper trailer insurance so you can get back to planning your summer camping adventure!
COVID-19 Premium Relief for Auto Insurance Customers in Ontario
COVID-19 threw the whole planet a wildly unanticipated curve ball. Every industry has been impacted - some for the positive, but the majority for the negative.
For the most part however, it is individuals and families who have been hardest-hit by the pandemic.
From job pauses to outright losses, skyrocketing expenses with plummeting income streams, illness to the ever-looming threat of COVID-related fatalities, our stress levels and our bottom lines often feel inversely related.
Starting this quarter, some insurance companies are taking action to offer their loyal customers some relief.
At Mackay Insurance, we want to keep you informed about your options if you have fallen (or anticipate falling) upon financial hardship due to COVID-19.
This post has the latest auto insurance information!
Auto Insurance Companies Are Leading the Pack in Providing Premium Relief
We wish all insurance providers were as proactive and dedicated as the auto insurance industry in taking action to provide premium relief options.
Auto insurance Companies are stepping up to the plate and it is a welcome development.
As of this month, Intact Insurance is offering their customers one month of outright premium relief, due to COVID-19 related financial hardship.
It is also quite easy to qualify! Here is what you need to do:
- Download the Mackay Insurance free app (if you haven't done so already) and log in.
- You may also log in to your online account using any web browser.
- Select your auto insurance policy with Intact Insurance.
- Log in to your Intact Client Centre portal.
- Answer a single question to qualify for one month of auto insurance premium relief.
Additional Auto Insurance Companies Offering Relief Due to COVID-19 Financial Hardship
Exactly one year ago this month, we devoted an entire blog post to various COVID-19 related options you can pursue to reduce your auto insurance premiums.Many of these options are still on the table for the majority of our auto insurance customers.
Contact your Mackay Insurance broker to review your current Belleville car insurance coverage and explore options to reduce your premium payments.
As of this month, in addition to Intact Insurance, several other insurers have announced measures that may alleviate the financial burden of auto insurance coverage due to COVID-19.
Here are a few leading examples of how auto insurers are continuing to provide financial relief to customers in 2021.
Gore Mutual: the company continues to offer rate decreases and discounts. They offered a 1 time rebate of 20% reduction of 3 months premium as well as an overall 5% reduction
Economical: the company announced premium savings and a rate relief for eligible customers during the spring of 2020
CAA: the company announced a COVID-19 package that will provide more than $130 million in relief to customers impacted by the pandemic.
Western Assurance: that RSA will be implementing a rate decrease for Ontario personal auto customers on a temporary basis effective October 1, 2020 to June, 30, 2021 for 4%
To find out if your insurer is offering payment deferrals, skip-a-pay programs, additional discounts or incentives due to the continuing COVID-19 crisis, just contact your Mackay Insurance broker using any of the contact options you find on our home page.
Has Your Life Changed Due to COVID-19? Your Insurance Should Too!
Many of our Mackay Insurance customers have experienced minor or major upheavals to "life as usual" due to the ongoing global pandemic.
These are some of the most commonly reported life changes that may trigger a reduction in insurance policy rates and premiums as well as changing insurance needs:
- Became unemployed.
- Changed jobs or careers.
- Added a part-time job (in addition to an existing job).
- Started working from home.
- Started a small business (outside or inside the home).
- Changed driving habits.
- Kept seasonal cottage or property closed all year.
- Rented out your home and relocated to a new space and/or place.
- Sold a home and/or bought a home.
- Downsized living quarters.
- Divested assets such as rare, antique or collectible possessions.
- Welcomed a new family member (whether infant or elder).
- Added a new driver (whether partner or teen).
- Sold or acquired recreational property or vehicles (boat, RV, off-road vehicle, etc).
- Sold or acquired a vehicle.
- Became a homeowner or renter.
- Moved back home to live with extended family.
If you have recently experienced any of these or other types of life changes, it is definitely the right time to contact your Mackay Insurance broker to review your current insurance coverages.
In many cases, we are able to help our customers lower premium payments, take advantage of additional or emerging discounts, save with multi-policy discounts or family discounts and other money-saving strategies.
You won't know how you may save unless you ask!
Spring Means Cottage Season and Recreational Vehicle Use
It is true that our weather doesn't exactly feel like spring yet. But many of us are already starting to think about opening up our seasonal cottages and taking our seasonal recreational vehicles out of storage.
According to recent media reports, demand for seasonal cottage rentals is at an all-time high this year.
If you have plans to rent out your cottage and/or your recreational vehicles, or you plan to allow cottage tenants to use on-site recreational vehicles (including watercraft), you need to contact your Mackay Insurance broker right away.
In some cases, you may void your cottage insurance entirely if you are not carrying the proper coverages for longer-term or more frequent cottage rentals.
Your Mackay Insurance broker can review your coverages to better protect your cottage and vehicle investments.
Mackay Is Your Trusted Belleville Car Insurance Broker
Spring is a great time to review your current Belleville car insurance coverages and other insurance coverages, in order to make sure that you are taking full advantage of all available policy discounts - including COVID-19 related relief.
Get in touch with our Mackay Auto Insurance brokers by phone, or email us to schedule a virtual appointment. Ask us about our safe contactless insurance estimates, invoicing and payment options.
Do You Have Insurance for Emergencies and Natural Disasters in Canada
No matter where you look in the world today, it seems emergencies of all types are on the rise.
Changing weather and climate conditions, overloaded power grids in densely populated urban areas and an aging population are not a recipe for peace and ease, especially when the unexpected happens.
Add in a side order of COVID-19 and suddenly you may be wondering if you need additional insurance to protect your family or business from all the unknowns!
If this has been on your mind of late, your friendly Mackay Insurance brokers in Belleville crafted this post especially for you!
Insurance for Natural Disasters in Canada
Snow and ice. Wind and rain. Heat and humidity. Wildfires.
Canada may be best known for our winter sports and ski slopes, but the truth is, we get all kinds of weather events here in the far north.
And each type of natural disaster has its own perils, which is what the Canadian insurance industry calls an event that may be covered under an insurance policy or optional rider.
So, let's take a closer look at how natural disaster insurance works.
The Four Key Elements of Natural Disaster Insurance in Canada
There are four key elements that influence whether, how and how much insurance coverage may be available for different types of natural disasters, including weather events.
These are the four major factors you can discuss with your Mackay Insurance broker in Belleville.
1. The specific category of natural disaster.
While there is no single universal insurance policy that will simply cover you for everything, everywhere, all the time (wouldn't that be wonderful!), there actually is quite a for more coverage options than most people realize.
Let's take a look at the major weather events that are typically covered if you have the right type of insurance policy or rider:
- Fire (insurance coverages for home fires or wildfires).
- Ice and snow (including insurance coverage for frozen/burst pipes).
- Hail (damage coverages to vehicle roof damage).
- High winds (insurance coverage for damages caused by high winds)
- Rain (including insurance coverage for water damage caused by structural and roof leaks).
- Weather events (including insurance coverages for hurricanes, tornadoes etc.).
There are some types of weather related natural disasters that are typically excluded from insurance coverage protection, including these categories:
- Flooding (from natural overland flood events).
More on this in the very next section here.
2. The area where you live and/or work.
It probably won't surprise you to learn that different geographic areas may have different insurance coverage options for natural disasters.
For example, if you live in a flood plain, your options for flood insurance will typically decrease because this is a known peril associated with choosing to live in that specific area or region.
This is not to say you have zero insurance coverage options, although sometimes this is the case. The best way to find out is to contact your Mackay Insurance broker in Belleville to talk through your concerns and coverage options.
3. The coverage options based on your property type and personal circumstances.
In a similar way, the type of structure you own and the property it sits on can influence what insurance coverage may be available for certain categories of weather events and natural disasters.
Also, the age of your building or home and its value (based on the estimate) will have an impact on coverage options and their costs.
4. The insurance provider you select.
Last and certainly not least, different insurance providers may offer a different menu of coverage options for your specific concerns, or perils.
While many aspects of the entire insurance industry here in Canada will be regulated at the provincial level, insurance providers do have some flexibility to bundle or package their coverage products differently.
Some insurance providers may opt not to offer certain types of coverage while others may choose to specialize in certain categories of insurance coverage.
This is where it really pays to talk with your Mackay broker and shop around until you find the insurance provider with the right suite of insurance policies and riders that meets your specific needs!
Don't settle for the first or even the second natural disaster insurance quote you receive.
It is very smart to ask your Mackay Insurance broker to gather several quotes and estimates. This way, you get a good sense for what the current insurance marketplace is offering and which provider gives you the best coverage for the right price.
Don't Forget About Disaster Coverage For Your Home Insurance, Car Insurance and Life Insurance
There are three other places you don't want to forget about when searching out the most comprehensive coverage for emergencies and disasters.
All three types of policies typically offer a certain level of coverage, plus optional riders to address the unexpected.
For home insurance, an example might be a sudden and accidental burst pipe that causes water damage.
For vehicle insurance, an example might be coverage for an unexpected hail storm that cracks your windshield.
For life insurance, an example might be accidental injury from being caught out in severe weather.
NOTE: This does not usually include work-related incidents, for which you will need to look at specific business insurance riders that are relevant to your industry and type of business.
2 Steps to Get the Right Type of Canada Emergency and Natural Disaster Insurance
Here is the best way to find the right insurance coverage.
1. Make a list of your specific concerns and needs.
2. Make an appointment to review this list with your Mackay broker.
Get in Touch With Your Belleville Ontario Mackay Insurance Broker
Get in touch with us by phone or email us to schedule a virtual appointment. Ask us about our safe contactless insurance estimates, invoicing and payment options.
Protect Your Company from Cyber Crime With the Right Business Insurance
The worldwide pandemic has followed us straight into 2021.
While the disruption to our personal lives has been significant, COVID-19 has also caused equal upheaval in business sectors.
Here is one example: many people have now transitioned to working from home indefinitely or even permanently.
Whether you are running your own company from home or working to launch a new business while we shelter in place, it is important to know that the risk landscape for business owners has also changed due to COVID.
While cyber crime was already a top concern for businesses of all sizes prior to 2020, in 2021 it ranks in the top two risks for businesses today.
In this article, our Mackay Insurance brokers walk you through what you need to know and do to protect your startup, solopreneurship, small business or corporation with appropriate cyber liability insurance coverage.
Cyber Crime Is On the Rise In Our New Remote Workforce
The Insurance Bureau of Canada recently reported on how the sharp increase in Canada's remote workforce has delivered a correspondingly sharp increase in cyber crime.
Cyber criminals are targeting businesses of all shapes and sizes with attacks designed to snag sensitive data and exploit it.
Why now, you may be wondering?
The reason is simple.
Most companies have been forced to make rapid pivots to accommodate emergency lockdown measures. As such, employers and employees alike have been making use of personal devices to access secure servers from remote locations.
While this represents a risk management headache for your company, it represents an exciting new opportunity for cyber criminals.
The more devices used to access secure servers to upload, edit, download and share sensitive documents and information, the more vulnerable entry points get created all along the data pipeline.
Skilled cyber criminals can make use of these new vulnerabilities to hack into your networks and leak, steal, compromise or destroy confidential data.
There are two main methods you can use to cope with this unavoidable business risk:
Improve your online security protocols.
Add a cyber liability insurance policy to your business insurance coverages.
For new business owners in particular, it may be helpful to know that the first step to improving your online security is assessing the risks.
The risks you identify will drive the types of security protocols you choose to implement.
As an Insurance company, assessing risks is what our Mackay Insurance brokers do every day! Read on to learn about cyber liability insurance, what it is, what it offers and how to choose a policy.
What Is Cyber Liability Insurance?
While the name makes its purpose seem obvious, it is important to first talk about what cyber liability insurance (sometimes called cyber crime insurance) is and also what it is not.
Cyber liability insurance is an insurance product designed to protect your business from the financial impact of a data breach.
Here are just a few examples of how your company can be negatively impacted financially as a result of a data breach:
- Loss of income.
- Loss of customers.
- Loss of time.
- Loss of reputation.
- Loss of licensing and credentialing necessary to do business in your industry.
What Does Cyber Liability Insurance Cover?
As we mentioned here earlier, cyber liability insurance is designed to cover a standard menu of protections.
But if you need different or extra protections, most insurers provide additional insurance coverages on a per-protection basis.
It is important to know that, like most insurance products, cyber liability insurance often comes with a deductible - an amount your business must pay out of pocket before your benefits kick in.
These are the two types of coverages a basic or standard cyber liability insurance policy will typically offer you. Our Mackay Insurance brokers in Belleville have labeled these below for our business owners:
First Party Coverage
First party coverage reimburses your company for internal operating expenses you incur related to dealing with the data breach.
Here are some examples of how first party coverage can protect you after a data breach:
- Cost reimbursement to restore your electronic systems or compromised data.
- Reimbursement for loss of income while you deal with the breach.
- Cost of extortion payments and expenses related to that.
- Reimburse you for the expense of notifying affected parties.
- Reimburse you for reputation management following the breach.
Third Party Coverage
Third party coverage reimburses your company for expenses arising from claims made against you by those injured through the data breach.
Here are some examples of how third party coverage can protect you after a data breach:
- Claims made by customers whose private sensitive data was exposed or stolen due to the data breach.
- Claims made by regulatory agencies in the form of fines or penalties your company must pay due to the data breach.
- Claims made by customers, vendors, partners or other companies whose private data was made public due to the data breach.
Here, it is vitally important to review the "covered perils" in any cyber liability insurance policy you consider purchasing.
This is because if your company incurs any claims or expenses from cyber crime that falls outside of the covered perils, the policy will not cover those costs.
Do You Need Help Choosing Cyber Liability Insurance in 2021?
Do you work from home, own a home-based business or allow your employees to work remotely? Our experienced Mackay Insurance brokers can help you identify the right level of cyber liability coverage for your company and industry.
Customized cyber liability insurance can help your company pivot safely and securely in the new virtual workplace.
NEW! Get Valuable Multi-Policy Discount Savings with Mackay and CAA
Now you can qualify for multi-discount savings when you sign up for a CAA membership through Mackay Insurance.
Claim your discounts HERE!
Get in Touch With Your Belleville Ontario Mackay Insurance Broker
Get in touch with us by phone or email us to schedule a virtual appointment. Due to the current stay at home order, our offices remain closed to walk-in visits until further notice.
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.
Traveling Within Canada for the Holidays? First Step Is Travel Insurance
This has been some year, hasn't it! Just when we think the worst is finally in our rearview mirror, we have another spike in COVID-19 cases here in Ontario.
Looking back now, it becomes clear that nearly every aspect of daily life has been altered in some way this year - from how we shop for groceries, to how we work, to how we keep in touch with family and friends.
And now the holidays are nearly here!
If your typical holiday plans include travelling out of the province, it is time to start considering whether you may need to purchase supplemental travel insurance in advance of your trip. At Mackay Insurance in Belleville, Ontario, we work with a great company in providing travel insurance. Click Here for more information on Travel Insurance through Mackay Insurance providers.
In this post, we walk you through how to evaluate your travel insurance options and make the safest choice for your finances and family.
First, Make Sure You Understand Your Current Coverage
This is the right time to download, print out and review all that boring fine print that came with your health insurance policy
In particular, you are looking for any exclusions that apply starting when you travel out of the province.
Let's say you have a provincial health insurance plan and you are planning to travel with your family from Ontario to Quebec to visit relatives.
Here, what you are looking for in the fine print of your policy is coverage exclusions related to out-of-province medical or dental needs.
If you get sick - from COVID-19 or something else - and need special medical attention, will your provincial health insurance policy cover that?
In particular, look for health insurance coverages details about the following:
- Emergency medical transportation for any reason (including pregnancy).
- Diagnostic tests such as X-rays.
- Extra services such as wheelchairs, casts or splints.
- Services specific to COVID-19, such as a ventilator or a stay in the ICU.
- Prescription medications.
- Emergency oral health care.
- Treatment for recurrence of a pre-existing condition.
- Expenses related to having relatives travel to get you if you are hospitalized.
- Expenses related to your family's needs if someone gets sick while you are traveling.
- Coverage benefits for health needs if there is a re-enactment of out-of-province travel bans while you are out of province.
- Costs of enforced quarantine if you contract COVID-19 while out of province or if another lockdown prevents you from returning home for a time.
- Special coverage caps that relate only to COVID-19 treatment or detainment.
These are just some of the special health coverage considerations to ponder if you are planning an out-of-province trip in the near future.
While the fine print in your policy should always provide answers to these questions, it is not always so simple to identify the relevant passages and accurately interpret their meaning.
Your friendly and knowledgeable Mackay Insurance brokers in Belleville, Ontario, are happy to review your existing insurance coverages with you and talk through any limitations or exclusions that may be relevant to your holiday travel plans this year. For more information on travel insurance, contact our team directly or visit our travel insurance page.
Are You Relying on Travel or Health Coverage Through Your Credit Card or Airline?
It can feel very reassuring to know that you have travel insurance coverage through a credit card or through your airline carrier.
Once again, however, the good feelings may quickly evaporate when you take the time to read the fine print to discover limitations or exclusions.
For example, some airline carriers are now offering a limited amount of coverage if you contract COVID-19 while aboard a flight, but how much coverage is offered? What conditions must be met in order to receive that coverage?
If your credit card offers coverage, the first thing you want to check for is that the coverage provided will follow you if you travel outside the province versus outside the country. Many cardholders realize only too late that their coverage only applies to international travel.
Will Supplemental Travel Insurance Make Up the Difference?
Now that the international travel ban has been largely lifted, supplemental travel insurance is back on the table.
Yet here again, you want to be sure that the policy you purchase is actually worth all that fine print you just had to read through.
When reviewing all your options for travel and health insurance, the goal is to put together a complete picture of all the types of coverage and care you may potentially need.
That care doesn't all have to come from one provider, although for simplicity's sake this is always ideal.
Ultimately, you just want to be sure you have the coverage you may need for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-related health and travel claims if you choose to travel out of the province this winter.
For instance, let's say you are waiting to board your flight only to discover the flight was overbooked and you've been bumped off of it. You contact your supplemental travel insurance provider to file a claim.
It is only then you discover that claims made for overbooked travel are specifically excluded from your policy coverage.
This is unfortunately quite common, because the insurer will say the airline carrier is at fault and you will have to apply to them for reimbursement (in which case, good luck).
Get in Touch With Mackay Insurance, Belleville
Mackay Insurance in Belleville, Ontario continues to work remotely at this time. Our qualified Mackay Insurance brokers are available to serve you by appointment, in person and by phone, email, fax, social media and courier. Don’t forget to check out our travel insurance page for more information on our travel insurance options!
Seasonal Cottage Closing Time Means Insurance Updates: Get Yours Now
This has been a tough year for seasonal cottage owners and visitors. Throughout much of this year, we have simply been unable to enjoy "cottage season" the way we typically do.
With only 1-2 months of warm weather here in Ontario, you may be facing a choice:
Should you open up your seasonal cottage at all or simply keep it closed and wait for spring?
In this post, our experienced Mackay Cottage Insurance experts review our recommendations for seasonal cottage customers and give you information about possibilities for adjusting your seasonal cottage insurance.
Is Your Seasonal Cottage Standing Unoccupied, But Not Vacant?
The first big question to ask yourself is this: is your seasonal cottage standing unoccupied, but not vacant right now - and is it likely to stay that way throughout 2020?
Here is why this is an important question to ask.
From the perspective of an insurance underwriter as well as a cottage owner, there are different risk levels associated with a truly vacant structure and a structure that is not vacant, but is standing unoccupied.
Depending on who your insurance provider may be, the definition of each term can also vary. For some cottage insurance brokers, the change in cottage status for 2020 may constitute what is called a "material change in status."
If this applies to your coverage, this can trigger a revision in the type and level of cottage coverage you are eligible for as well as how your claims may be handled.
There is also a lot more that you, the cottage owner, can do to minimize risk for a structure that is not vacant, but is simply standing unoccupied at the moment.
The more you choose to do to minimize risk of weather damage, theft, vandalism and other risks that increase when a structure is continually unoccupied for an extended time period, the less you risk denial of claims or increase of insurance premiums.
Insurance Concessions May Be Available Due to COVID-19
Just the idea that your seasonal cottage insurance premiums might increase on top of the financial concerns that 2020 has already presented may be enough to tempt you to shut your browser window and stop reading this post.
Please do not do this - at least not yet!
It is quite possible that insurance providers may be willing to provide concessions due to the extraordinary financial burdens 2020 has imposed.
Concessions may conceivably include each of the following options:
Deferral of premium payments due to COVID-related financial hardship.
Here, "deferral" is not the same as "forgiveness." Rather, deferral simply means that your policy period gets pushed back by the amount of time you are granted before resuming your regular premium payments.
While deferral is more the order of the day with Canadian underwriters when reviewing COVID-related relief requests, some insurers may be open to an outright forgiveness, or the waiving of any missed payments.
The only way to know for sure is to contact your Mackay Cottage Insurance broker so that we can investigate the possibilities on your behalf. Do you need more information on your recreational cottage insurance coverage this year? Contact Mackay Insurance in Belleville online or give us a call at 888-853-5552.
Rate review based on owner's plan to secure the premises through year-end.
If your insurance provider does decide that 2020's unusual cottage usage patterns constitute a "material change in status," this may trigger an automatic policy review and a subsequent rate increase.
From what we have seen thus far, however, the majority of local Quinte insurance providers we work with are more than willing to back off on proposed rate increases provided that the cottage owner can demonstrate a plan-in-progress to enhance security measures at the property.
For example, many of our seasonal cottage owners have not been able to do much more than make a quick run to check up on their seasonal cottage. Some have not even been able to do that much until quite recently.
Examples of enhanced security measures that could stave off any premium increases might include each of the following:
- Installation of a remote security monitoring system.
- Early cottage winterization preparations to protect the structure from damage.
- Hiring a local security company to monitor the cottage on the owner's behalf.
- Hiring a local individual to check on the cottage regularly.
- Upgrades to the structure itself to prevent seasonal weather damage.
- Upgrades to the HVAC, plumbing, septic and/or sump system to guard against water damage, especially freezing.
Just the choice to install a remote security monitoring system might even be good for a discount of up to 15% off your annual policy rates.
Note - Linking that system to a local company that can follow up will probably be your ticket to the rate decrease.
Review Your Coverage and Make Sure It Protects You & Your Cottage Investment
At Mackay Insurance in Belleville, Ontario we are encouraging all of our seasonal cottage insurance clients to take this opportunity to review their cottage insurance coverage in light of the unusual circumstances of 2020.
We have released an entire post that walks you through the steps to do this.
There are many different levels and types of seasonal cottage insurance based on the type of property, usage patterns and other considerations.
We warmly invite you to connect with your Mackay Cottage Insurance broker to discuss all of your options for adjusting your seasonal cottage insurance in a way that is most favourable for your personal finances.
What If I Rent Out My Cottage Part-Time? How Does This Affect My Insurance Coverage?
In the sharing economy, many cottage owners have transitioned to renting their cottages out during different parts of the season. If you rent out your location, you need to make sure that your insurance company is well aware. In some cases, policies can be endorsed to cover rental for up to 2 weeks. If you are renting out your cottage for more than 2 weeks per year, it may have to go on a more commercial based plan. Talk to our team of qualified cottage insurance brokers today about your options.
Get in Touch With Your Mackay Cottage 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.
Need cottage insurance? Complete our short, easy application now!