Mackay Insurance Blog
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!
COVID-19 and Your Auto Insurance
On March 11, the global pandemic was issued with respect to COVID-19 - and our world, as well as our normal employment practices changed dramatically.
On March 16, the office culture of Mackay Insurance changed dramatically when the majority of our staff began working from home, rather than from our Belleville office location.
We understand that these times are confusing, as we’ve experienced the struggle of unknown ourselves as well, but we want to assure you that Mackay Insurance has you covered. We know the importance of having up-to-date knowledge in the insurance sector - including general news, changes in rates, updated policies etc. - and we are here to provide you with that knowledge so that you can feel safe - even amidst this unknown time.
Our Quinte drivers have frequently been asking us about their auto insurance policies and how their rates have, or will be, affected since the COVID-19 pandemic continues. In order to ease your worry and provide some helpful knowledge on the topic of Quinte auto insurance and COVID-19, our team of brokers at Mackay Insurance have compiled the most important factors for you to review!
How Is Your Mackay Auto Insurance Affected During COVID-19
Before the start of this pandemic, your vehicle was rated for particular usage:
Pleasure (For our Sunday drivers out there!)
Many of our Mackay Insurance clients are now inquiring, however, whether their auto insurance rates will be affected with the stay-at-home order. The short answer is yes, depending on what you are using your vehicle for currently and what it was used for previously, your auto insurance rate might be affected. If you have more questions regarding your own Mackay Auto Insurance rate changes, please contact one of our insurance brokers and we will be happy to discuss these changes with you further!
Currently, if you are a business owner in Quinte and have been forced to allow for minor amounts of delivery within your business (ie. delivering essential services and products), Mackay Insurance will amend your policy so that these factors are included.
Once the pandemic is over, however, you will need to advise your insurance provider about the continued deliveries and your rate will be adjusted accordingly.
If you have further questions regarding these policy and rate changes, or how they might affect your current vehicle deliveries, let us know and we will clear this up as soon as possible with you!
Many people show their annual kilometers at 20,000, 16,000 or 10,000. This is definitely a rating factor that should be reviewed every year, as we have found that most people will actually lower the number of kilometers driven this year, due to COVID-19. At Mackay Insurance, we strongly recommend each renewal cycle to review, assess and adjust accordingly.
It is important to note that this year may indeed cause your kilometers to be quite a bit lower in comparison to other, more ‘normal’ years. In this case, you would need to contact your insurance company directly in order to adjust for this decrease.
Each year, however, is subject to change and differs from what the previous year’s average might have been. For this reason, it is crucial that you contact your insurance company on the basis of any change so that they are able to adjust your rates accordingly.
Pay By Use
CAA insurance has just introduced a product called MyPace Insurance. This product basically allows you to pay for the exact amount of kilometers you drive. This product is unique to the Ontario market and should be considered if you drive under 9,000 km on an annual basis. If you drive more than 9,000 km annually, however, our brokers at Mackay Insurance recommend that you stay with your current insurance ratings. If you would like to analyze your situation further with us, please let us know and we would be glad to go over these details with you!
When reviewing your policy, it is very important to ensure that all drivers within your household are known and listed on that policy. Many people try to save money by not listing a particular driver who holds a negative driving record - whether that be from an accident or a ticket - in order to save on their premium. Unfortunately, if this is the case within your household, you could be put in the uncomfortable position of material misrepresentation and/or voiding of your contract when it comes time to a claim. Take our advice and don’t put yourself in that position. Simply review your drivers and your policy regularly so that you are constantly aware of the expectations and requirements.
When was the last time you reviewed your optional accident benefits? Perhaps you had a job which included disability or benefits before, but now, due to COVID-19 or employment downsizing, you have been forced to become an independent contractor with zero benefits. This could impact your auto insurance.
If you have reviewed your Mackay auto insurance before, but have recently experienced an employment change, we highly recommend that you review with us again.
Disability benefits cap out at 70% of your gross income to a maximum of $400 a week. If you don’t have a group benefits plan, this limit may be highly inadequate.
Combining and Saving
Now is the time to review and adjust your policy limits and coverages with your insurance provider. By increasing your deductibles, combining property and auto insurance, and updating your usage, you could also save quite a bit of money!
Contact Mackay Insurance in Belleville
Our team of brokers at Mackay Insurance are here to walk you through these insurance processes, to review and customize to your specific needs and help you find the auto insurance coverage that fits you best. During COVID-19, we want to ensure that you are getting the best package to fit your needs.
Although we are working from home, we are just as committed as ever in providing you with the best possible solutions for your specific needs.
Be Sure, Insure with Mackay Insurance!
Questions and Answers About Life Insurance and COVID-19
It is the topic we all put off talking about until a pandemic suddenly unfolds. All at once, you may find yourself asking the question: is it too late to enrol in life insurance now? The answer, thankfully, is no; however, continuing to delay your enrolment to see how things play out may put you and your family at risk of coverage exclusions related to the new novel coronavirus.
Right now, health insurance providers are scrambling to calculate risk and overhaul policy terms accordingly. These new terms are likely to impact future policyholders of all ages, since COVID-19 and its secondary complications do not discriminate based on age.
How Will Coverage Be Handled For My Existing Life Insurance Policy?
If you have an existing, active life insurance policy right now, you are unlikely to experience any difficulties with coverage for COVID-19 related claims, provided you meet all other policy requirements. If you have questions about this, please contact us at Mackay Insurance and we can assist you in understanding your life insurance policy.
My Life Insurance Coverage Is Deferred - What If I Need to Make a Claim?
If your life insurance policy is deferred, your coverage will not activate until that period has concluded. It is, however, unlikely that COVID-19 related claims will be handled differently than other "death by natural causes" claims that relate to disease or illness.
I Want to Enrol in Life Insurance, But Will Coronavirus Claims Still Be Covered?
At this point in time, there is no vaccine for the new novel coronavirus. The pandemic is creating an unusually high demand for life insurance products - and for good reason.
As of time of publication, Canadian insurance companies (including Mackay Insurance in Belleville, Ontario) that offer life insurance products have not yet changed terms to exclude COVID-19 related claims.
There is no guarantee, however, that they will not choose to do so in the future, especially if available data indicates the outbreak is worsening.
What you need to know right now is that if you choose to enrol in a life insurance policy today, you will likely receive the same coverage terms that current policyholders have - all other aspects remaining equal.
I Have Tested Positive for COVID-19 - Can I Still Enrol in Life Insurance?
This is a slightly more complicated question, since different insurance providers may choose to handle this sensitive issue differently.
Speaking in the most general terms based on what is known right now, the most likely outcome is that you will be able to enrol in life insurance, even if you have tested positive for COVID-19 and are showing symptoms.
It is equally likely that the policy issuer will place your policy into a deferral period, pending the outcome of your diagnosis. If this is the case, it is not different from how insurance providers have handled policy issuance in the past when a serious illness or disease has been involved.
I Returned From China Recently - Can I Still Enrol in Life Insurance Now?
To date, it has become standard practice in the insurance industry to ask applicants to share details about recent or upcoming travels. Generally, these inquiries are limited to the past quarter or near future.
If you have recently returned from any region reporting a high incidence of COVID-19 cases, or if your near-future travel plans are taking you into such a region, the insurance provider may elect to place your policy into a deferral period.
I Have a Disability Insurance Policy - Can I Make a COVID-19 Claim Under That Policy?
This is a good question. Here, the claim would relate to loss of income due to COVID-19 diagnosis.
The type of policy you have (short-term, long-term) and the waiting period (typically anywhere from one week to two years) will dictate what coverage you receive.
The best-case scenario is this: if you have lost income due to COVID-19, and your waiting period has expired, and your disability insurance policy is still in force, it is likely your claim will be honoured.
It may also be worth asking your insurance company to waive the waiting period.
I Have a Critical Illness Insurance Policy - Can I Make a COVID-19 Claim?
If you have a current active critical illness insurance policy, your policy likely outlines the specific health conditions that qualify you to make a claim against your policy.
Since COVID-19 is a newly identified illness, it will not be listed. This means insurers will likely elect to exclude COVID-19 related policy claims.
You may have some wiggle room here if you contract a serious secondary complication due to being diagnosed with COVID-19.
In this case, as long as the secondary complication itself is on the approved list of covered critical illnesses, it probably will not matter that COVID-19 came first - your claim will most likely be approved.
Is Now the Right Time to Purchase Life Insurance in Ontario, Canada?
Here in the province of Ontario, the coronavirus pandemic is still a rapidly evolving situation. It is very hard to make any predictions about the progress of the virus even for the near future.
This means that the basic reasons to apply for life insurance remain the same, but may perhaps be more urgent now.
If you are newly married, caring for dependents (whether young or elderly), have children or are concerned about loved ones bearing the cost burden of your burial and funeral, this is an excellent time to consider enrolling in life insurance.
Perhaps the greatest value of a new life insurance policy is simply knowing your loved ones are protected.
Get in Touch
Do you have more questions about applying for life insurance and how that process might be affected during COVID-19? Our team at Mackay Insurance continues to work remotely, but we are here for you. You can read more here about how to reach out to your broker via phone.