Mackay Insurance Blog
Spring Maintenance Tips To Help You Prevent Home Insurance Claims
Have you begun your spring cleaning checklist yet? We have a few more valuable tips you can check off!
Spring cleaning helps spruce up your home’s appearance and cleanliness. But, at Mackay Insurance, we think it should do more than that.
Your spring cleaning checklist should also,
- Prevent damage,
- Fortify your living space,
- Protect your home’s value, and
- Prevent unnecessary home insurance claims.
It’s common to find seasonal wear and tear in and on your home after a long winter. This could be a disconnected downspout, loose siding or even wind damage on your roof.
But did you know minor repairs like these can help prevent common home insurance claims?
It usually doesn’t cost much to ensure your home is well-fortified for the next season.
Plus, all the minor repairs you make now can help lower the risk of more serious and costly repairs in the future.
That’s what our brokers are all about - lowering your risk.
Check off each item on the list below to ensure max safety and cost-saving benefits!
Replace Batteries In Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Carbon Monoxide Alarms
According to the Ontario Building Code, CO alarms are mandatory in Ontario homes that have,
a) Fuel-burning appliances,
b) Fireplaces or
c) Attached garages.
Homeowners must also install them next to each sleeping area.
These alarms warn you of rising CO levels in your home. This gas is odourless and colourless but can lead to long-term health damage or even death.
We recommend changing your CO alarm batteries annually and replacing the device every 7-10 years.
Note: If you have an existing detector in your home, check the expiry date. If it’s a 2010 model, immediately replace it.
According to the Ontario Fire Code, Smoke alarms are also mandatory in Ontario homes. Homeowners are to install them on every storey and outside all sleeping areas.
Smoke alarms detect smoke and alert you immediately - saving countless lives. But only if they’re properly installed and maintained.
The Canada Safety Council states, “a dead unit is worse than none at all - it can give you a false sense of security”.
For this reason, we recommend,
- Changing the batteries twice a year
- Testing monthly, and
- Replacing the unit every 10 years.
Schedule HVAC Preventative Maintenance
When did you last schedule a tuneup for your heating, cooling and air quality systems?
We recommend booking a tuneup with your local HVAC company once a year.
Besides the benefits of peak performance and efficiency, a yearly tuneup can also,
- Save money on hefty repair bills,
- Prevent gas leaks.
- Prevent fire hazards.
- Ensure proper air circulation in your home.
As you may have guessed, gas leaks and fire hazards in your home are our top safety concerns for your HVAC. Ensuring your systems get necessary maintenance can help prevent both from happening!
Clean Out Your Dryer Lint
According to the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office, appliances like dryers cause at least one fire a day in Ontario.
Regular maintenance on your dryer lowers the risk of it becoming a fire hazard.
As your dryer runs, it accumulates lint - one of the leading causes of dryer fires. It’s a highly flammable material that can enter your exhaust system and heating element.
While cleaning the lint screen between each load can help prevent some accumulation, it doesn’t stop it.
Here's what else you can do!
Remove lint from the,
- Metal ducts
- Exhaust vent/hood
- Dryer vent hose
We recommend cleaning out your dryer lint in these areas at least once a year. This can help decrease the risk of a dryer fire occurring!
Inspect Your Lawn
It’s crazy how much you can find lying around your yard once the snow melts.
After a long season of snow storms, you’re bound to find:
- Fallen/Falling trees
- Dirt and Debris,
- Rotten trees.
Removing debris from your yard ensures it doesn’t become a slip, trip and fall hazard.
Removing fallen or rotten trees near your home or power lines can help prevent a fire.
Clean The Gutters
Gutter maintenance and repairs are crucial.
Over time, gutters fill with leaves, dirt, sticks and other debris - clogging the water flow.
Clogged gutters can cause,
- Foundation problems
- Broken gutters
- Wall/Ceiling damage
- Wet basements
- Insect Infestation
Your insurance company is not responsible for gutter-related home damages.
This means you’re responsible for all costs associated with the damages caused by a clogged or faulty gutter system. And the results can get pricy!
Prevent these costly water damages by clearing out your gutters as often as needed.
Check Your Foundation
Did you know that water damage is the most common cause of home damage? It accounts for about 50% of home insurance claims costs!
Most home insurance policies cover accidental or sudden water damage. They also offer add-ons for more serious coverage - like sewer backup and overland water insurance.
This coverage helps protect your home from heavy rainfall or rapid snow melt.
You could potentially make a home insurance claim if your basement flooded because the drainage system couldn't keep up.
But your insurance company won’t cover you if you haven’t taken the right precautions.
Foundation Maintenance Tips:
- Check your foundation for cracks.
- Keep melting snow away from the foundation walls and basement windows.
- Ensure proper grading for water to drain away from your home.
Contact your Mackay broker to learn more about our overland water insurance coverages.
Check Your Roof
Inspect your roof for cracked, lifted or missing shingles. If you don’t replace these shingles, they can 100% lead to leaks - causing more water damage to your roof.
In certain unpreventable scenarios, home insurance companies cover roofing repairs/replacements. But you’ll have to speak with your Mackay insurance broker for the full details.
Want to avoid making a home insurance claim for roofing repairs? We recommend replacing missing shingles and fixing small leaks as needed.
Note: We don’t recommend doing this yourself unless you take all the necessary safety precautions. Hire a professional if you are able.
Repair Driveways and Walkways
Was your driveway or walkway damaged over the winter? Maybe from weather-related incidents or even a snowplough?
We recommend making the necessary repairs right away!
These damages can easily lead to a slip, trip and fall claim due to personal injury on your property.
Freshen up your outdoor woodwork (i.e. decking) to ensure its structural integrity.
- Cleaning the woodwork
- Checking for rotting wood or loose materials
- Checking for loose nails or wobbly railings.
- Making any necessary repairs.
- Re-staining if necessary.
These steps help fortify your home and keep your home insurance valid.
Clean Up Your Insurance Policies
While you’re checking off your list, don’t forget to note any changes, questions and concerns along the way.
Spring is the perfect time to re-evaluate your insurance policies and ensure everything is up to date.
Have you made any repairs, replacements or renovations to your home?
Do you have the right home coverage (i.e. overland water coverage)?
Do you need to revisit the terms of your policy?
These questions may affect your policy validation, future home insurance claims and liability.
Contact Your Mackay Insurance Broker Today!
Contact our Mackay Insurance brokers in Belleville and Napanee to learn more about our home insurance packages.
Our Belleville Office: 613-966-5740
Our Napanee Office: 613-354-2555
You can also visit our website to get a free quote on home insurance!
Peace of Mind While You're Away - Home Insurance Belleville Ontario
Taking a well-deserved vacation this winter? Take us with you!
Just kidding…but seriously.
While we would love to join you on your Southern excursions, we won't fit in your suitcase. But your insurance policy will!
Your home insurance policy is always there for you - whether you’re at home or not!
It will protect your home 24/7/365, so you can enjoy your home away from home. That is, as long as you have taken all the necessary precautions that your policy outlines.
So before you say sayonara, make sure you have checked off your vacation to-do list - and read the fine print of your insurance policy too!
What Does Your Home Insurance Policy Cover While You’re Away?
Your home is probably your biggest investment, financially speaking. But it should never hold you back from investing time in your family or health.
Taking a vacation can do wonders for your health and relationships. But if you’re constantly worried about what’s happening at home, it can be more stressful than relaxing.
That’s where your home insurance policy comes in!
This policy covers the home itself, its contents and your personal liability.
Your policy covers the physical structure of your home from loss or damage. Although your policy may vary, most standard versions have general insured perils.
In most cases, this would include loss or damage caused by:
- Falling Objects
- Plane or Vehicle Impact.
Note: Your Mackay Home Insurance policy may outline specific restrictions to these coverages.
Your policy also insures the contents of your home - including things like:
- Sports Equipment
Your policy covers the costs of your belongings if they become lost, damaged or vandalized.
Note: Your Mackay Home Insurance policy may outline specific restrictions to these coverages.
Lastly, your home insurance policy protects your personal liability. This policy covers legal and medical costs if someone becomes injured on your property.
We discussed this coverage in more detail in one of our recent blogs about slips, trips and falls on your property.
Note: Your Mackay Home Insurance policy may outline specific restrictions to these coverages.
Extra Coverages (Endorsements)
Other optional coverages under your home insurance policy include:
- Sewer backup
- Equipment breakdown
- Guaranteed Replacement Cost etc.
Do you have any questions about extra coverage on your policy? Contact your Mackay home insurance broker for more information.
Your Vacation To-Do List
It’s crucial to prepare your home before you leave on vacation. Proper care ensures your house is in good condition when you go and when you return. It also prevents countless avoidable disasters and secures your policy.
Your Mackay Home Insurance in Belleville, Ontario, has specific requirements if you plan on leaving home. Whether it’s a 3-day weekend trip or a month-long vacation, your house must be properly cared for.
If you don’t take proper care in preventing avoidable disasters, you could face,
a) Higher insurance claims, or
b) A void insurance policy.
In other words, your relaxing vacation can quickly turn into an expensive disaster.
That’s why you must know the precautions outlined in your policy before going.
But not all requirements are the same!
Many are similar, and most are common sense. But each insurance company has different requirements. So be sure to read the fine print on your Mackay home insurance policy before you begin your prep.
Below are a few of the most important steps in preparing your home for vacation. While not all are mandatory in your policy, they do ensure your home is well-cared for and safe for your return.
Contact your Mackay Insurance broker.
Always let your Mackay Insurance broker know if you’ll be away from home for an extended time.
We can help walk you through the mandatory precautions and ensure your policy isn’t affected.
Arrange for a house sitter.
In all home policies, having somebody stop by every 48-72 hours is actually mandatory. But it’s also something we’d recommend, even if it weren’t required.
Having a trusted family member, friend or neighbour over while you’re away can help prevent damage and theft.
Don’t spread the word.
We recommend only telling close family, friends or neighbours about your vacation plans. We also suggest you do not post vacation photos on social media until you return home.
Letting everyone know you’re not home could increase the risk of break-ins and theft.
Make it look like someone is home.
Making it appear as though someone is home can help deter intruders.
Set up timers on your indoor lighting or have your neighbour park their car in your driveway.
Install security cameras and lighting.
On that note, you also want to invest in a home security system. That could include indoor/outdoor security cameras, lighting or alarms. Or all of the above!
Depending on your chosen security system, you can also watch your security footage from your phone.
Put all valuables in safe storage.
Be sure to lock up valuable possessions before you leave the house. This could include jewellery, important documents or electronics (i.e. desktop computers).
Reset your thermostat.
Lowering your thermostat won’t affect your insurance policy. But it can help lower your heating bill!
Lowering your thermostat by just a few degrees can help cut your bills while still preventing mould and mildew growth.
Do a deep clean of your house (including the garbage - in and out!).
Cleaning your home before you leave will help ensure you don’t come home to any surprises.
Leaving food on the counter or garbage in the bin can cause unwelcome odours and rodents. Neither of which is very welcoming for your return home.
Unplug non-essential appliances.
Unplugging your non-essential appliances can,
a) Help you save on energy, and
b) Protect them from a power surge.
Non-essential appliances include things like:
- Computer chargers
10. Prepare your plumbing.
Unless you have someone living in your home while you're away, turn off the plumbing.
This includes shutting off your water and putting your water heater in vacation mode. You'll also want to ensure your pipes are completely dry before leaving to avoid frozen pipes.
11. Double-check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.
Always ensure your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors have fresh batteries.
If your neighbour hears your smoke alarm go off, they can make emergency calls.
And if you have a house sitter in your home, these devices are also imperative to their safety.
These detectors are also mandatory in all Ontario homes. So ensuring they’re working properly will ensure you aren’t found negligent in the event of a fire or CO leak.
Protect Your Home With Mackay Homeowner’s Insurance!
Is your home insurance policy up-to-date? Do you have the coverage you need for your extended family vacation?
Contact your Mackay broker for home insurance in Belleville, Ontario! We offer instant online home insurance quotes.
Does My Home Insurance Plan Cover Slips and Falls On My Property?
Autumn is quickly turning into winter here in Quinte, Ontario. And now that most of the leaves have fallen, homeowners are preparing their properties for the first snowfall. That means goodbye leaf rakes and hello snow shovels!
As you prepare for winter, don’t forget to focus on slip and fall prevention. Although many of us like to prepare for the winter season with holiday decor, the more crucial step is to ensure your property is safe for your family and guests.
Did you know accidental falls are the most common cause of hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits? According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), there were 654,000 ED visits caused by accidental falls in 2016-2017. And resulting injuries varied from fractures to more extreme head injuries.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has also noted that Ontario's snowfall and warmer winter temperatures increase the risk of these fall-related ED visits.
This means homeowners need to be extra cautious when that first November snowfall does hit. Heavy snowfall paired with a mild climate can make for a treacherous landscape.
Don’t get caught off guard with a slip, trip and fall claim! Know what your home insurance policy covers and learn how to prepare your property for the unpredictable snowy season ahead.
Your Home Insurance Plan Covers Medical Payments and Personal Liability
Your home insurance plan protects against numerous types of loss and damages, from theft to house fires, fallen trees, accidental falls etc.
Typically when we think of the term damages, we think of structural damages. Those caused by wind, rain or vandalism. But in a legal case, damages actually pertain to the amount of money compensating for loss, medical expenses, and suffering.
As a homeowner, you are responsible for keeping your property safe. This means keeping up with proper maintenance and ensuring safe conditions.
If someone slips, trips or falls on your property due to dangerous conditions, they could very well sue you! And if you are negligent or at fault for those injuries, you’re held liable.
This is where your home insurance policy comes in!
Your home insurance helps cover medical payment expenses and protects you if you are found liable.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical payment coverage helps pay for medical expenses related to the injury on your property.
This can include:
- Hospital stays
- ER visits
- Ambulance rides
- Physical therapy etc.
Personal Liability Coverage
Personal liability coverage protects you financially if you are negligent or at fault.
How do you know if you are legally responsible for the injuries obtained on your property? Answer the following questions to find out!
- Did you cause dangerous conditions on your property?
- Did you fail to fix unsafe conditions on your property?
- Should you, as a reasonable person, have known about and repaired hazards on your property?
You could be found negligent if you answered yes to any of the above questions.
Negligence means you failed to reasonably take care of something - causing damage or injury to someone else.
If you are found negligent, your home insurance will help cover you with personal liability coverage. This coverage helps pay for legal expenses, settlement costs, lost wages etc.
Someone Just Slipped and Fell On My Property! What Should I Do?
First and foremost, make sure they’re okay. Call an ambulance or find medical treatment if necessary.
Write everything down! This includes a complete accident description from the injured person and all witnesses. Don't forget to jot down the necessary witness contact information as well!
Contact your insurance provider and transfer all further discussions to them. You will also want to provide them with all the details you collected in Step 2 and any other information they request.
Take photos of the injury, the area where the injury occurred and any other necessary components.
Find out why the injury occurred and learn how to prevent future accidents.
How To Prevent Slip and Fall Accidents On Your Property
As mentioned above, you are responsible for ensuring the safety of your property. While this applies to indoor and outdoor areas, this article focuses on your outdoor property.
Outdoor Winter Property Maintenance Tips:
- Install railings where necessary.
- Shovel and salt your driveway and walkway as necessary.
- Provide sufficient lighting for your walkway.
- Fix any wear, tear and damage to your property (i.e. an uneven or cracked sidewalk).
Even leaves and other debris can cause a hazardous walkway for visitors. So keeping your walkway clear before the snow comes is just as important!
You may be responsible for maintaining your rented property as a tenant. If you’re unsure, review your tenant contract or clarify these details with your landlord. And don’t forget to get their answer in writing! You may be found responsible if someone injures themselves on your rented property.
Invest In Complete Coverage With a Mackay Home Insurance Plan!
Accidents happen. But they’re not inevitable!
Contact your Mackay Insurance broker today to discuss your home insurance needs! We're committed to protecting your home - for you, your family, your visitors and your wallet!
You can contact us online or call one of our two Quinte office locations below!
Our Belleville Office: 613-966-5740.
Our Napanee Office: 613-354-2555.
Don't Be Fooled! Protect Your Privacy This Year With Complete Home Cyber Security Insurance
There are many benefits that come from the rise of global connectivity. But increased home security isn't necessarily one of them.
"But wait!" you may be saying to yourself. "Didn't the internet bring us smart home security systems?"
Yes, it did. But it also brought cybercriminals with an eye towards hacking those same home security systems.
Internet, Wifi, GPS and other digital aids open up a whole new world of potential home security risks.
Luckily, there is a new breed of home insurance coverage designed to protect you from these risks.
What Is Cyber Security Insurance?
We have to admit, home cyber security insurance is a mouthful. So what precisely does this insurance protect you from?
Home cyber security insurance protects you from cyberattacks.
Cyberattack occurs through what is called access points.
Access points are points of entry online where a cybercriminal could breach your home's digital defences.
Examples of access points include your:
- Desktop computer
- Gaming system
- WiFi hotspot
- Smart home monitoring or security system
- And more!
Anything with the ability to connect to the internet is a potential access point where cybercriminals could breach and access your digitally-stored valuables.
Cyber security insurance protects you from these threats.
It is worth mentioning there are two different types of cyber security insurance:
- Commercial cyber security insurance
- Residential cyber security insurance
For the purposes of this blog post, we are addressing the home edition of cyber security insurance.
How Does Home Cyber Security Insurance Protect You?
Imagine if you left the house and accidentally left your home's front door unlocked all day.
How calm and focused would you feel running errands, attending classes or sitting at your desk at work once you realized your mistake?
Of course, that is what your homeowner's insurance policy is there for....to protect you in the event there is a breach of premises that causes theft, loss, damage or destruction to your home or property.
Now imagine that, rather than your physical home premises, we are instead referring to your digital home online.
All of the same sorts of risks are present when a digital breach occurs. Yet your existing homeowner's insurance policy is not going to protect you from loss of your sensitive personal or financial data.
Your homeowner's insurance policy won't protect you from the time and financial costs of any of the following issues commonly associated with cybercrime:
- Initial and ongoing data breach response.
- Data fraud.
- Identity theft.
- Cyberbullying or deception.
- IoT (internet of things) device implementation or mitigation.
- Cyber extortion.
- Costs of system repair, restoration and/and recovery.
- Digital forensic investigation.
- Legal and notification expenses.
- Reparation to other affected parties.
But home cyber security insurance can and will protect you from each of these threats and more.
3 Main Threat Protections of Home Cyber Security
Starting this year, Mackay Insurance in Quinte, Ontario, is proud to bring you leading edge digital insurance protection through Cyberboxx Home Edition.
Cyberboxx, newly available here in Ontario, provides three main threat protections to all of our Mackay Insurance customers.
Specialist Cyber Insurance
Cyberboxx provides a standalone insurance product to protect families and individuals from the impact and aftermath of cybercrime.
There is also the potential for employers to offer Cyberboxx protection to their employees as a benefit.
If you are employed, and especially if you are currently working remotely, ask your employer if they will be making Cyberboxx available as an employee perk.
If you are like so many today, you are aware cybercrime is a threat but are not clear about exactly how it can happen or how to prevent it.
Digital wellness is a component of Cyberboxx home security insurance. It helps you reduce your personal and family risk of being victimized by cybercrime. This digital wellness starts with knowing the warning signs of a breach.
As a Cyberboxx customer, you will also receive ongoing membership in the premium tier credit monitoring service through Equifax.
Cybercrime Incident Response
Timely detection and rapid response are the two keys to minimizing damage from a digital breach.
In the event of a digital breach, Cyberboxx offers all of their home insurance customers 24/7 support through their incident response team, Hackbusters (TM).
Is Cyber Security Insurance Required for Your Homeowners Insurance?
Home cyber security insurance is not yet a requirement for an active homeowners insurance policy here in Ontario. However, if there is one tenet the insurance industry as a whole exists for, it is this: lower risk equals greater savings.
This is especially true for homeowners who may be working from home during the pandemic or permanently. It is also a major consideration if your children attend school online or are homeschooled in a digital environment.
All that to say, it is worth a conversation with your Mackay Insurance broker to find out if adding home cyber security insurance to your existing suite of coverages may net you additional savings.
And for home-based business owners vulnerable to a data breach, cyber security insurance can make the difference between staying in business and going out of business.
Mackay Insurance in Napanee and Belleville Keeps Your Home Safe
Like practically everything else about life today, the insurance industry has had to mobilize quickly to keep pace with the ongoing changes in our rapidly evolving world.
As we increasingly move towards a remote workplace and home life, it is vital to consider how your whole life might be different after a digital security breach.
Should you be worried? Statistics say YES. But we can help minimize the risks.
Reach out to your knowledgeable Mackay Insurance brokers today. We can help you identify digital risks and implement insurance protection that gives you daily peace of mind for the whole family.
Avoid These Homeowner Insurance Pitfalls When Purchasing Your Home Insurance Policy
As a homeowner, why would you want to buy a home insurance policy? Is it just because the lender requires it? After all, it is not a mandatory purchase here in Canada.
Yet the vast majority of homeowners - even those who own their homes outright - still carry a policy. Why?
Because you want protection, of course. You want to be protected in case your home or its contents are damaged or destroyed. You want protection from third party liability in case a visitor trips and sues you.
Most of all, you want protection from the perils you don't know you need protection from - especially the ones that could cause your insurer to drop you entirely!
So let's find out what those are and explain what you need to do to make sure you are covered.
Home Insurance and Wood Stoves
Homeowners love wood stoves. They are efficient, economical and extremely homey to enjoy when it is cold outside.
Insurance companies do not love wood stoves because, well, fire. Wood stoves are among the leading causes of home fires each year. And home fires generate home insurance claims.
So it just makes sense that your insurance company would be less enthused about your wood stove than you are. In fact, we made a whole video about the topic!
Some insurers outright refuse to issue policies when wood stoves are involved. Most of the time, this is because the wood stove does not meet minimum safety standards according to current building codes and certifications. Most insurance companies will accept it when it’s auxiliary heat but if you are burning too many cords of wood, it could be considered primary heat and not insurable by many insurance companies.
But most insurers simply tack on a surcharge.
How much extra will you pay?
You can expect to pay at least 10% more on your annual premiums. Alternatively, your homeowners insurance provider may simply assess you an annual flat fee on top of your annual premium.
And if for any reason your home does catch fire and the inspection later indicates the wood stove was to blame, you may find yourself paying out of pocket for damages.
All this to say - be sure to talk with your Mackay Insurance broker before choosing a wood stove to meet your cooking or heating needs.
Home Insurance and Dogs
Everyone loves dogs. Dogs are the number one choice of companion animal here in North America and in many places around the world.
Most homeowners do not initially link homeowners insurance and their canine family members together. How on earth could these two be related?
Insurers do not like dogs for the same reason they do not like wood stoves - because of liability. However, not all dog breeds are treated equally for the purposes of a homeowners insurance policy.
Certain dog breeds have become staples on so-called "dangerous dog lists" here in Canada and across the globe. These dog breeds are the ones that consistently outrank the others in terms of confirmed dog bite cases.
Here in Ontario, there are four breeds or categories of canines that are now banned or heavily restricted. Currently, these breeds include the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier and Pit Bull Terrier.
This can get more confusing still because if you are a dog lover, you know that the "pit bull" is not a dog breed, per se, but rather a category of dogs that have similar physical characteristics and may have some bulldog or terrier in the genetic makeup.
Why is this important to know when you are applying for homeowner's insurance?
Basically, if you do not disclose the presence of a dog that fits the criteria of a dog that is banned or regulated, your insurer can refuse to pay damages arising from a dog-related claim and may also cancel your policy.
Home Insurance and Home Based Businesses
The global pandemic has changed a great deal about our daily routines. One of the biggest changes is the number of individuals who are now working remotely or even running new businesses out of a home space.
If this describes you, it is time to check in with your homeowners insurance provider to let them know. If you are currently shopping for a policy and plan to run a business from your new home, you definitely want to mention this up front.
What could happen if you don't? Your homeowners insurance policy provider could refuse to pay any claims that arise from damages to your home based business equipment, supplies or inventory. You may also find yourself with a voided policy.
Home based business owners need a separate home based business insurance policy to cover business operations and liabilities that can sometimes arise.
Home Insurance and Vacancy or Renovations
While you may not think to notify your homeowners insurance provider if you are away from home for an extended time period, an extended vacancy can sometimes result in denied claims.
In the same way, failing to alert your provider of upcoming renovations to your home may mean unpaid claims or even a dropped policy.
In both cases, the provider is reacting to an increased safety risk these two events can pose. Leaving your property vacant or opening up the premises to workers can each trigger an increased risk of insurance claims.
What should you do if you plan to be gone any longer than a week or have any upcoming home renovations?
Call your Mackay Insurance broker in Quinte to discuss whether you need to notify your homeowners insurance provider in advance. You may need to make additional advance plans to be sure your policy stays active.
Contact Mackay Insurance For Your Napanee and Belleville Home Insurance Needs
Looking for a quick home insurance quote near you? Your friendly, knowledgeable Mackay Insurance brokers can help!
Mackay Insurance works with a number of homeowners insurance providers to make sure you always get the most competitive policy quotes in the industry. We can also work with you to be sure you are fully covered for perils both known and known.
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!
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Condo Insurance: What You Don't Know Could Cause Your Rates to Increase
Do you understand your condo insurance? Many condo owners remain in the dark about important policy information impacting their rates.
For example, did you know that your condo is actually covered by two different insurance policies?
The majority of condo owners do not realize this.
Do you understand why your insurance premiums keep going up, and up, and up?
Most owners don't understand this either.
Mackay Insurance can help! This article explains both mysteries so you will be better informed and better protected.
Condo Insurance Is Two Policies, Not One Policy
When you decide to purchase a condo, you are responsible for taking out a condo insurance policy.
That is one of two policies that covers your condo in case of loss or damage.
Your condo corporation (sometimes called syndicate) also takes out a condo insurance policy.
This is the second policy that covers your condo in case of loss or damage.
Condo Corporations Are Facing Premium Increases on Condo Insurance Too
Understanding what the condo corporation policy covers and excludes is critical to selecting the right type and amount of condo insurance for you.
Various factors can influence pricing for annual insurance premiums on syndicate and individual condo insurance policies.
As syndicate insurance premium prices increase, your syndicate may elect to drop or reduce certain coverages.
Alternatively, your syndicate may decide to offer incentives to condo owners who implement individual unit risk reduction strategies against constant cash drains such as water damage claims.
This becomes especially pertinent as condo structures continue to age at the same time severe weather increases province-wide.
Not only can aging alone cause syndicate condo-wide insurance premiums to increase, but as structures age and claims increase, premiums may increase yet again as a result.
And when you add in the increase in new condo construction and increasing demand for condo insurance as a result, you can see even another increase in insurance premiums.
As if that wasn't already enough, investors into the condo insurance may choose to divert funds towards less costly, lower risk investments, causing a scramble within the condo insurance marketplace for new sources of funding.
Syndicates, like individuals, have options to try to control annual premium costs, including raising their deductible, dropping certain coverage riders and limiting coverage for certain categories of claims.
It is important to take time each year to review what your condo corporation's insurance policy covers and to then review your own individual condo insurance policy in light of that.
If you need help comparing what each type of policy covers for your condo, your friendly Mackay Insurance broker is happy to help.
What to Look For When You Review Your Condo Insurance Coverage
The generic individual condo insurance policy typically consists of seven parts:
- Interior condo upgrades.
- Contents inside the condo.
- Liability (third party).
- Theft (condo).
- Locker (theft).
- Assessments rider.
- Additional living expenses.
Whether you opt to purchase all seven of these coverages, and how much coverage you elect for each, can and should be adjusted based on what the condo corporation's own policy covers.
In other words, why pay money every month for coverage that is also included in the condo corporation's coverage benefits?
You will also want to take some time to read the fine print explaining how the condo corporation handles deductible payments.
For instance, it is vital to find out if you may be responsible for reimbursing the condo corporation for your portion of the corporate deductible for certain categories of claims and losses.
Specific Features & Benefits of Condo Insurance Solutions:
- All risk coverage and replacement costs on contents are covered
- Debris removal for an additional 10% of the contents limit is covered
- Credit card coverage (up to $10,000 per occurrence)
- Coverage for electric vehicles
- Satellite dishes are included automatically, at no additional cost
- Food freezer installation ($3,000, no deductible applies)
- Premium discounts
- Lock replacement ($1,000 with no deductible)
Be Aware of These Big Changes In Corporate Condo Insurance Policies
Recent industry reports highlight a worrisome trend among condo corporations to downsize their own liability, shifting that responsibility over to individual condo owners.
Well-publicized recent changes include shifting responsibility for maintaining insurance coverage for damage to floors and countertops to individual condo owners.
Water damage claims are another hot button area where condo corporations are increasingly attempting to shift responsibility over to individual condo owners.
Structural claims such as water damage can become particularly problematic to resolve when the damage affects more than one condo in the building.
For example, if a wall pipe bursts and causes damage to both your condo unit and a neighbour's unit, the claims filing and payout process can quickly get complicated.
Condo insurance as a product is designed to minimize such headaches. But it can only do its job well to serve your interests when the coverages you select effectively plug up any coverage holes in your condo corporation's own policy.
Three Condo Insurance Riders You May Regret Not Having
These three condo insurance riders are all too commonly overlooked, either because the owner does not think they are needed or because the owner mistakenly believes the condo corporation is providing coverage.
According to a recent insurance industry survey, a full one-third of condo owners do not carry any insurance coverage for water damage.
Water damage is the number one condo insurance claim.
If you are keeping high-value possessions such as instruments, collectibles or jewelry in your unit or locker, be aware that your standard condo insurance may not cover these items.
If you have roommates or tenants (whether long-term or short-term renters), you need to make sure they carry their own separate tenant insurance policy.
This is especially the case if you plan to participate in home-sharing (i.e. Airbnb), which could void your coverage entirely if not disclosed.
Give your friendly Mackay insurance broker a call to review your current condo insurance coverage against coverage provided through your condo corporation and make sure your policy fully protects you.
Optional Condo Coverage Add-Ons:
- Claim Free Discount Protector (protects the claim fee discount following the first claim)
- Personal Umbrella Coverage (as high as $9,000,000)
- Enhanced Special Limits (doubles the special limits noted in the policy)
Mackay Is Your Napanee and Belleville, Ontario, Condo Insurance Broker
Worried about your skyrocketing condo insurance rates? We may be able to help! Reach out to schedule a virtual appointment by phone, email, Zoom, Skype or chat.
Here are some Points For Protection to help keep your condo investment safe:
- Place all valuable jewelry and other expensive items in a safe location (ie. not in the master bedroom)
- Review and practice your basic fire safety plan (with all family members)
- Always keep an up-to-date inventory on all large purchases (ie. televisions, furniture)
- Always always always turn off the water before you leave for vacation!
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.
November is a time for remembering. As we have just held our memorial services and practiced our two minutes of reverent silence on November 11th, we are reminded of our troops and the sacrifices they make for our freedom. As we near December and prepare to close 2020, we are also reminded of the many changes this year has brought each of us - the good times and the bad times. We remember cycles, the ebb and flow of changing seasons, as winter begins to roll in - mighty and brave as ever. By recalling the cycles of our lives, we are reminded of this key point - bad times are always followed by the good times. As 2020 comes to its close, let’s remember to look forward to the good times of 2021.
Something else we want to remember as we are heading into this new season are a few important tasks related to preparing our homes for the upcoming winter months. November is hitting us in full force this year with the occasional flurry of snow, frosty windshields and heating bills appearing in our mailboxes. At Mackay Insurance in Belleville, Ontario, we recognize these little hints far too well as the beginnings of a cold winter approaching. Is your home ready for it?
With the COVID-19 pandemic sticking around for the remainder of 2020, there are many individuals who continue to spend the majority of their time quarantining indoors. Whether you have a home office or run homeschooling from your kitchen table, the comfort of your home during these upcoming winter months is imperative.
At Mackay Insurance, the comfort and safety of your home is extremely important to us! We hear questions about winter home insurance and readying homes for those upcoming cold months all the time . This is why we have come up with a simple list of November To Do’s that you can follow in order to get your home ready for winter!
How To Ensure Your Home Is Prepared For Winter
There are a few key steps in preparing your home for winter - steps that should never be missed! We’ve outlined these winter prepping steps below:
- Remember to clear your gutters and downspouts and extend your downspouts away from the house.
- Check foundations for exterior cracks and ensure that those are properly repaired as soon as possible.
- Check that there is 20cm. between the bottom of your window(s) and ground/bed(s).
- Check your batteries on your smoke detector and back up sewer systems.
- Check your basement and storage areas. Consider not storing things of value down in the basement and consider buying totes for anything stored in crawl spaces.
Mackay Insurance understands the value of your household and we strive to protect that value for you. By following the above steps, you are aiding in loss prevention - meaning that you are ensuring that your home is protected from any potential losses.
During the winter months in eastern Ontario, there are many potential household losses and damages that can occur:
- Flooding caused by melted snow)
- Damages caused by heavy or fallen snow
- Burst or frozen pipes
- Fallen gutters
- And more!
Is Your Home Insured For Potential Winter Damages?
Does your home insurance cover potential loss and damages caused by seasonal effects? Contact your home insurance brokers at Mackay Insurance today to discuss your home insurance coverages this winter!
Located in Belleville, Ontario, and serving the Quinte region and beyond, our goal is to provide our community with a safe and comfortable winter. Let us handle the stress and worry of keeping your house protected so that you can enjoy the season!
From all of us at Mackay Insurance, we hope you stay safe and have a great day!
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.
COVID-19 Insurance Relief for Individuals & Businesses
If there is one COVID-19 fact everyone around the world easily agrees on, it is this: the new novel coronavirus is wreaking havoc with budgets and bottom lines worldwide!
This includes individuals, small businesses, big businesses and not-for-profit organizations of all sizes. It seems no individual or business is immune to the effects. The economic ripple effect from the unexpected pandemic is only now starting to make its impact felt.
In fact, 95% of the calls we are receiving right now are calls to inquire about insurance for income loss and/or business interruption, auto insurance discounts and personal insurance benefits.
Callers want to know if the insurance they have been faithfully paying for all these months, or years, can help them in this time of near-universal struggle.
In this post, CEO Bruce Mackay of Mackay Insurance will answer your most frequently asked questions about insurance policy benefits as they may relate to COVID-19 relief.
NOTE: Do you have a question that we didn't answer in this post? Use the contact information at the end of this post to send us your question!
Question #1: Auto Insurance Discounts - Are You Going to Get One?
The short answer to this question is "it depends on the insurer.
Ontario province has adjusted regulations to permit auto insurers to offer discounts and/or rebates to customers who are driving less, due to COVID-19. This option will continue to extend for a full 12 months after the pandemic is officially over.
But officials have left it up to each individual insurer to decide if and/or how to administer financial relief to policyholders.
Some insurers are choosing to be proactive and simply issue blanket financial relief to all policyholders. Some insurers are choosing not to offer relief at all. Some insurers are only administering rebates or discounts on a case-by-case basis - and often only if you, the policyholder, call them first to ask for these benefits.
The best way to find out if your auto insurer is providing rebates and/or discounts due to reduced mileage or changes in vehicle use is to contact your Mackay Insurance broker right away.
NOTE: You can find additional information about coronavirus-related changes to auto insurance in this blog post.
Question #2: What Happens If You Can't Pay Your Policy Premiums Due to COVID-19?
An enormous number of people in Ontarian are struggling to pay for essentials due to the pandemic shutdown. So it is easy to see how paying for insurance premiums might become a serious economic hardship.
Currently, it is up to each individual consumer or business insurance provider to decide how to handle requests for payment deferments and/or premium discounts due to COVID-19 related economic hardship; however, from what we have seen thus far, the majority of insurers are doing their best to provide special concessions to policyholders who are severely impacted by COVID-19. Many insurers are providing policyholders with generous deferments (where you can simply resume paying for your premiums at a later date) upon request.
The best way to find out what, if any, type of economic relief may be available if you can't afford to pay your insurance premiums on time is to contact your Mackay Insurance broker.
Question #3: Will Business Interruption Insurance Cover You for COVID-19?
Recent events have conspired to make this the most controversial and hotly contested question in the insurance industry right now.
Traditionally speaking, the business interruption clause in most commercial insurance policies has not been designed to cover pandemic disruptions, at least according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).
As Insurance Business Magazine points out, a recent Supreme Court ruling has rekindled hope that commercial insurers might provide benefits for coronavirus-related business interruption. However, since this ruling was not related to COVID-19, it may be a long road to try to apply this case as precedent to seek coronavirus business interruption benefits.
Because so many businesses are being economically impacted by pandemic-related shutdowns, we expect much more dialogue and debate on this question in the coming weeks and months.
For now, the individual wording of each commercial insurance policy is still the ultimate determinant of whether a pandemic-related shutdown constitutes business interruption for the purposes of triggering insurance benefits.
Some companies and business owners are choosing to take the matter to court, and at least one class action is in process due to denial of business interruption benefits coverage.
The best way to find out if your particular commercial insurance policy may provide benefits for a pandemic-induced business interruption is to contact your Mackay Insurance broker to review your policy.
Question #4: Should You Get Travel Insurance If You Need to Travel During the Pandemic?
Here in Ontario, the travel insurance industry is closely linked to official travel advisories and border closures.
Starting on March 13, 2020, when Canada officially posted the non-essential travel advisory, the majority of insurance providers stopped issuing travel insurance policies regardless of the reason for the trip.
While some boutique insurers may still provide travel insurance policies for international travel outside of Canada, it is important to verify with the insurer that coronavirus-related travel delays and cancellations as well as medical benefits are included within the policy.
If travel is a requirement for your job, your employer may provide travel insurance benefits to you as a part of your employment package.
If your travel is of a personal nature, the best way to find out the most up-to-date information about available travel insurance benefits is to contact your Mackay Insurance broker.
Get in Touch
Do you have other questions about how the insurance industry is changing in response to the global pandemic crisis?
Do you need help applying for insurance premium payment deferment or filing a claim related to the current economic shutdown here in Canada?
COVID 19 and Your 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:
- When was your roof last updated?
- How old is your furnace?
- How old is your wiring?
- How old is your plumbing?
- 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!