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Returning to the New Normal: What That Means For Your Insurance Coverage

Returning To The New Normal: What That Means For Your Insurance Coverage

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.

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

 

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Relief for Seasonal Cottage Insurance

Relief for seasonal cottage insurance with Mackay Insurance in Belleville

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.

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

 

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COVID-19 Insurance Relief for Individuals & Businesses

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

COVID-19 Insurance Relief for Individuals & Businesses

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Get in Touch 

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

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

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

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COVID 19 and Your Mackay Home Insurance

Mackay Insurance Belleville Provides Home Insurance Updates During COVID-19

COVID 19 and Your Mackay Home Insurance

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

Home Insurance - Working From Home

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

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

Home Insurance - Business Tools

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

Home Insurance - Business Property

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

Home Insurance - Renovations

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

Review Your Property Policy

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

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

Home Run Business Packages

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

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


 

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COVID-19 and Your Mackay Auto Insurance 

Mackay Insurance Belleville, Rate Changes During COVID-19

COVID-19 and Your Auto Insurance 

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

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

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

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

 

How Is Your Mackay Auto Insurance Affected During COVID-19

Vehicle Use 

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

  • Pleasure (For our Sunday drivers out there!)

  • Commuting

  • Business

  • Delivery 

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

Delivery

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

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

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

Annual Kilometers

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

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

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

Pay By Use

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

 Drivers

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

Accident Benefit 

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

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

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

Combining and Saving

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

 

Contact Mackay Insurance in Belleville

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

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

 

Be Sure, Insure with Mackay Insurance!

 

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May 15 CSR Team Update - Working From Home

Our CSR Team

Hi!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be safe, and let’s stop this virus!

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May 15 Sales Team Update - Working From Home

Our Sales Team 

Hi!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be safe and let’s stop this virus!

 

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April 24 Update - Check Your Business or Home Daily

Transcript

Hi again everyone, Bruce Mackay from Mackay Insurance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please be safe.

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

Transcript

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Mackay Insurance Update April 9 - From Bruce Mackay

Mackay Insurance Update April 9 - From Bruce Mackay

Video Transcript

Hi There. Thanks for joining me today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be safe everyone.

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Take Water Safety to a Whole New Level With Boat Insurance

knot on dock

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

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

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

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

What Is Boat Insurance?

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

The main categories of covered watercraft include:

  • boats (both motorized and non-motorized)

  • watercraft (like jet skis, inflatables)

  • motors

  • equipment (GPS equipment, dinghies)

  • boat trailers

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

What Does Boat Insurance Cover?

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

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

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

Liability

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

Emergencies

Emergency services can include coverage for boat repairs or towing.

Damage to the boat itself

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

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

Do You Really Need Boat Insurance?

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

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

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

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

How Much Boat Insurance Do You Need?

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

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

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

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

Are There Discounts for Boat Insurance?

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

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

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

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

  • Power Squadron or other boat safety courses

  • Homeowners insurance discount 

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

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

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

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

Get in Touch

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

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

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Special-Event Insurance: When You Need It & How to Get It

special event insurance

Special-event insurance is a less well-known product – in fact, most people don’t even know they need it until after their event date has passed!

But depending on what you’re planning, you really may need it. In this litigious society we live in today, you just never know when an unexpected oops might turn into a headline-making lawsuit.

In this post, find out more about what special-event insurance is, when you need it, how much insurance you need and how to get it.

What Is Special-Event Insurance?

Special-event insurance might more accurately be named “special-event planner insurance.” It could also be called “one-day event insurance,” since in most cases it is active only for the time the event is taking place.

The primary purpose and goal of this type of insurance product is to protect you, the event planner, from any event or action that might cause you financial or personal distress.

More specifically, special-event insurance is designed to cover anything and everything that might occur during your special event that no other existing insurance policy will cover.

What Does Special-Event Insurance Cover?

Special-event insurance, like most insurance products, can be customized to some degree. This means the answer to the question of when you need special-event insurance may not be clear-cut at first.

It is always smart to talk with your Mackay broker to share the details of the event you are planning and discover if special-event insurance is a smart choice.

For general purposes, special-event insurance is designed to cover issues such as the following:

  • Damage/destruction of rented property (i.e., venue, tables, chairs, tent, vehicles)

  • Bodily injuries sustained by bystanders, participants, staff or you

  • Extra costs sustained by last-minute vendor cancellations or changes

  • Financial losses due to participant cancellations (permits, security deposits, etc.)

  • Issues related to alcohol (this often requires a special rider on the policy)

  • Event cancellations due to weather, fire, power outages and other unforeseen issues

When Do You Need Special-Event Insurance?

Here are some common event-planning scenarios to help you think through whether or not you may need a special-event insurance policy.

You are hosting an event at your home

In general, if you are hosting small events in your home, your homeowner’s insurance policy will probably be sufficient to cover you.

Here, you want to read the fine print of your policy, because sometimes there are exclusions for gatherings over a certain number of people, where alcohol will be served, specific types of gatherings (such as bachelor/bachelorette parties) and similar limitations.

If you will be bringing in a band, a DJ, portable bathrooms, a tent, valet parking attendants or any similar additions, you may also need one or more permits from your municipality.

And if you are hosting a party where most of the guests are personally not known to you, be sure to talk with your Mackay broker to find out if you need special-event insurance to increase liability coverage during the event.

You are hosting a personal event at a rented space

Purchasing special-event insurance is always a smart move if you are hosting an event at a rented space. If alcohol will be served, be sure to mention this when you take out your policy. Often this will require a separate policy rider.

Here, it does not matter whether the event will be private (invitation-only) or open to the public. In either case, and especially in the latter case, unless the rental venue specifically states otherwise, purchasing your own independent special-event insurance policy is a protection you don’t want to be without on the day of your event.

You are hosting an event for work

If the event you are hosting is for your employer and is part of your job description, it is quite likely your employer already has insurance that will protect you, but be sure to ask!

If the event you are hosting is for your own small business, talk with your Mackay broker about whether your existing small-business liability insurance policy is sufficient to protect you or if you need to add a separate event insurance policy for the day.

How Much Special-Event Insurance Do You Need?

As with any insurance policy, you have options when it comes to purchasing your policy. In general, event insurance is an inexpensive product and also one you have a great deal of control over.

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