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Auto Insurance

High-Risk Auto Insurance: What It Is, Who Needs It & How to Get It

auto insurance text

Being classified as a high-risk driver can impact your life in some surprising ways. Sure, you expected your auto insurance premiums to increase after that last accident.

But what you probably didn’t expect was to have your auto insurance policy cancelled!

Unfortunately, even as the entire landscape of Ontario auto insurance is changing (read our blog post about this change here), there isn’t much that can change once you are classified as a high-risk driver.

Once your status changes to high-risk, typically your sole goal becomes finding someone, anyone, who will issue you auto insurance.

In this post, find out what you need to know about high-risk auto insurance: what it is, who needs it and how can you get it.

What Is High-Risk Auto Insurance?

As the name suggests, high-risk auto insurance is designed to provide coverage to drivers who have been deemed a “high risk” on the roadways.

What may not be so clear, however, is that different insurers are permitted to create their own set of criteria for determining who falls into the high-risk category and what type of policy they will provide, if any.

For example, some insurers may base this designation solely on your driving record. Other insurers may factor in additional information such as demographics (vehicle type, vehicle age, payment history, etc.).

So while it is always smart to shop around and gather several quotes before choosing an insurer for any type of insurance product, this makes shopping around especially important if you have been designated as a high-risk driver.

Who Needs High-Risk Auto Insurance?

A number of different factors can play into who gets designated as a high-risk driver. While every case is different, let’s look at some of the most common reasons you may be reclassified as high-risk behind the wheel.

Impaired driving

If you have a DUI (driving under the influence) charge on your driver record, even standard high-risk auto insurance may not be sufficient for your needs. DUI insurance is a special category of high-risk auto insurance that some insurers provide for this purpose.

Reckless driving

Reckless driving, which may include careless driving and stunt driving, can quickly get your driver status reclassified to high risk. A number of insurance companies have started to treat a cellphone/distracted driving ticket as a major problem, the same as careless driving.

Driving a high-risk vehicle

These two get frequently confused (for obvious reasons), but driving a high-risk vehicle is not the same as being a high-risk driver.

However, both can end up placing you in the high-risk category when it comes to auto insurance. Insurers view driving a high-risk car as similar to exhibiting high-risk driving patterns – both can end up being expensive for them if you submit a claim.

If you own an exotic car, a vintage restored car, a rare car or a car that frequently tops car thieves’ lists of “most desirable car,” you may wind up paying high-risk insurance rates.

At-fault accident

Ontario has elected to use the no-fault system of administering auto insurance claims. However, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be declared “at fault” by your insurer during the claims settlement.

More than 40 different accident classifications exist, including types where no one is at fault. But what is most important to know here is that you can be cited for being at fault in an auto insurance claim even though Ontario itself is a no-fault province.

Once you have been cited as at fault in a traffic incident, you can expect your premiums to increase. Different insurers have different criteria for when a driver is moved to the high-risk category for at fault accidents.

Traffic tickets

Another common reason drivers get reclassified as high risk is citation for other types of traffic incidents, including speeding and running red lights.

Other non-traffic reasons

If you are taking out an auto insurance policy for the first time, no data exists to help an insurer calculate their risk to insure you. This alone may place you temporarily in the high-risk category. 

Still another reason you might find yourself in the high-risk insurance category is if you have credit issues. Many people do not realize that allowing an insurance policy to be cancelled because you do not pay the premium will become part of your insurance record the same as having an accident does, and can put you into a high-risk category. 

How to Get High Risk Auto Insurance

Many insurers do offer high-risk auto insurance, although these types of policies are generally less well advertised than mainstream policies.

The best way to begin is to make a connection with an auto insurance broker and explain your situation.

By taking a more personal approach (versus just shopping around anonymously online), your broker can get to know you, learn the details about why you have been classified as a high-risk driver and advocate on your behalf to get you the best deal on a high-risk auto insurance policy.

This can be especially useful when you have been classified as high risk for non-traffic reasons!

As we shared in the introduction here, it can be beneficial to gather at least a few policy quotes so you can compare what each insurer has to offer. Your broker can assist with this process by reaching out to providers in their network to generate quotes on your behalf.

Get in Touch

Are you seeking high-risk auto insurance for yourself or a family member? We can help!

Reach out to us and one of our friendly Mackay Insurance brokers will be able to assist you with gathering high-risk auto insurance quotes and choosing the best policy to meet your needs.

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

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Auto Insurance In Ontario Is Changing: What You Need to Know

auto insurance policy

Since early January of this year, Ontario’s leadership has been putting the entire auto insurance industry under a magnifying glass, beginning with a survey sent to current policyholders.

Its goal? To initiate reforms to lower premiums to a level in line with the relatively low volume of reported auto-related accidents and fatalities.

To that end, officials have been surveying customers to discover exactly what is – to use their precise words – “broken” in the auto insurance industry. 

In this timely blog post, find out breaking news about these auto insurance changes that may impact what you pay, your coverage levels and your access to electronic resources for managing your auto insurance policy.

What Policyholders Had to Say About Navigating Auto Insurance

The January Ministry of Finance policyholder survey results didn’t surprise anyone who has ever had to navigate the increasingly complex and expensive world of Ontario auto insurance.

More than half of the respondents reported that they found the fine print on their own auto insurance policy too complicated to easily understand. A full 55 percent of respondents said there were few options to customize their auto insurance to their individual needs.

Even as the survey results were being tallied, a Newswire editorial simultaneously reported on continued auto policy rate hikes across Canada.

Some of the steepest hikes took place in Ontario, where policyholders saw increases of up to 9.06 percent. The report cited insurance fraud and increased claims as a reason for the hikes.

The New Proposed Plan: Putting Drivers First

In early April, the government unveiled the new auto insurance plan, entitled "Putting Drivers First."

Lots of proposed changes will be coming down the pike, each of which is designed to help Ontario drivers get lower rates and individually tailored coverage.

Here are five changes we feel are particularly relevant and compelling – be sure to discuss these changes and how they may impact your auto insurance policy!

Reducing Industry Regulation

With fewer auto industry regulations imposed from the provincial level down, insurers will be free to customize rate plans and policy benefits to a greater degree.

This will benefit policy holders by creating more healthy competition among insurers to create new tailored auto insurance plans and packages that appeal to different customer segments.

No More Postal Code Discrimination

Ontario officials have indicated their plans to stop rate increases that are based solely on the policyholder’s address.

Increasing Options to Trim Policy Costs

A number of options are on the table to potentially reduce the costs of issuing and administering auto insurance policies.

Among the most anticipated are two that many feel are long overdue in the industry.

  1. Drivers will now be permitted to permit insurers to review credit scores and credit history to influence policy rates.

  2. During the claims process, drivers will now be given options to use certain repair facilities or healthcare clinics and receive reduced policy rates.

Fraud Prevention Is a Priority

Ongoing issues with widespread auto industry insurance fraud has impeded the industry’s efforts to better serve customers.

Ontario officials plan to implement stricter controls to improve industry-wide customer data security, control escalating auto insurance claims-related legal expenses, institute new rulings on unfair practices in the industry, develop an online process for submitting and tracking claims and more.

Better E-Insurance Options

January customer survey respondents highlighted a lack of electronic options as a chronic source of frustration when managing their auto insurance policy information. 

Officials have announced that customers will now be able to make policy payments online, access coverage details and documents, connect with their brokers, use e-POF (proof of insurance) documents as needed and communicate via email about auto insurance matters.

Streamlined Claims Processing

The current ponderous claims process has contributed to issues with auto insurance and medical fraud and has caused rising costs. 

Under the new Driver Care Plan, benefit limits for catastrophic injury claims will be increased from $1 million to $2 million in benefits.

After filing an accident/injury claim, proposed changes include providing the insured with a type of insurance debit card that has been pre-loaded with funds that can be used toward covered medical expenses such as physical therapy. 

What to Expect Over the Coming Months

With new rate hikes coming on the heels of the announcement of Ontario’s long-awaited auto insurance industry overhaul, it is hard to know exactly what we can expect in the coming months.

What we do know is that the proposed auto industry-wide reforms are designed to take place in a gradual rollout over the next few years to soften the impact to Ontario’s budget. 

Officials cite the need to design, test and implement the proposed reforms, which have the potential to impact an estimated 10 million Ontarian policyholders, as another reason for the multi-year rollout.

Rest assured that we will keep all of our policyholders updated on important industry reforms that may affect their insurance rates and coverage, claims processes and policy benefits.

Do You Have Questions About Auto Insurance Policy Changes in Ontario?

If you have questions about options to lower your auto insurance policy rates, available discounts and credits, bundling options and family auto insurance plans, we invite you to give your broker a call or send us an email. 

Remember to update your information if you have moved, added a new vehicle, changed your driving habits significantly or taken a seasonal vehicle out of storage for summer use. 

Get in Touch

Are you shopping around for a new auto insurance policy? We can help!

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

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Standard Vs. Storage Auto Insurance: Which Product Do You Need?

car stored in garage

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, many recreational vehicle owners could be carrying the wrong type of auto insurance or not enough auto insurance.

Figuring out how to properly protect seasonal vehicles represents a common area of confusion for motorists, especially if you have one vehicle you drive year-round and other vehicles you drive only during a specific season.

If your seasonal vehicle isn’t carrying the right type of insurance, you may be putting your investment at great risk. In this article, learn the difference between storage insurance and standard auto insurance, how each product works and how to know which product you need!

What Is a Seasonal Vehicle?

The first information to sort out is the definition of a “seasonal vehicle.”

At its most basic, a seasonal vehicle is any vehicle that is not in use all year long. Common examples of seasonal vehicles include snowmobiles, recreational vehicles (RVs), classic cars, mopeds and motorcycles.

Most Ontarians put their seasonal vehicles into some type of secure storage during the off-season.

What Is Storage Vehicle Insurance?

Reducing insurance coverage while your vehicle is in storage may save you money.  

When a seasonal vehicle is in use, you need full insurance coverage on it, including liability insurance. You also need to be sure the vehicle’s license plate sticker is current. These are legal requirements that protect you and others while you are operating that vehicle on or off the roadways.

However, when you put your seasonal vehicle into storage, you do not need coverage for road use. You may be able to remove liability insurance and collision coverage during the off-season and save money. Note that if your insurance coverage includes Comprehensive coverage (fire, theft, vandalism etc.) you should always keep this coverage on the vehicle while it is stored.

Some seasonal vehicle owners choose to let their insurance lapse or even cancel their policy for that vehicle during the off-season, but this is not advisable.

You don’t ever want to drop the comprehensive portion of your vehicle insurance policy, since this is your only protection against seasonal vehicle loss or damage due to fire, theft, natural disaster, vandalism and other non-collision threats.

When you are preparing to garage a seasonal vehicle for the off-season, you will need to call your broker to let them know you are ready to drop back to comprehensive-only insurance coverage.

Similarly, when you are preparing to take a seasonal vehicle out of storage for use again, you will need to make a note in your calendar to call your broker in advance to reactivate your standard vehicle insurance coverage.

When taking a vehicle out of storage, always be sure your license plate sticker on the car is current.

Note that there are circumstances when you will not simply be able to delete “driving coverage” from a seasonally used vehicle. You may need to pay the premium for full coverage and temporarily  “suspend” the coverage you do not need. When full coverage is added back onto the vehicle, you will receive a credit/refund for the time the coverage was suspended.

What Is Included with Coverage Needed to Drive a Seasonal Vehicle?

When you are driving a seasonally used vehicle, the coverage you need is the same as for a vehicle used year round. There may or may not be coverage on the vehicle itself for collision, theft, etc. depending what you purchase. However, coverages that will always be included when a vehicle is insured to drive include:

Third-party liability coverage

Your third-party liability rider protects you if you cause harm or death to someone else or their property in an auto incident.

Statutory accident benefits coverage

Your statutory accident benefits protect you if you are injured in an auto incident regardless of who is at fault.

There are also a number of optional riders you can elect to purchase. You should review Accident Benefits options with your broker.

Direct compensation property damage (DC-PD) coverage

DC-PD provides you with compensation if your vehicle or its contents are damaged or lost due to the actions of another driver (if certain other conditions are also met).

Uninsured automobile coverage

Uninsured automobile coverage protects you against hit-and-run drivers and uninsured motorists.

Specialty Vehicle Vs. Seasonal Vehicle

Certain types of vehicles, such as motorcycles and snowmobiles, are seasonal by their nature. For these vehicles, the full premium is earned during the season they are typically used.

For example, traditional motorcycle insurance is designed to cover the policyholder year-round but is automatically prorated to account for storing the bike in the winter. It is not necessary to change the coverage seasonally, and there are no premium savings if you do.

Get in Touch

Here at Mackay Insurance, our knowledgeable, experienced team of brokers has more than 165 combined years of cross-disciplinary insurance industry expertise. We can get you the most insurance for the most competitive pricing with all the available discounts.

If you prefer, you can also use our easy online quote generator tool to receive a free insurance quote on the product of your choice within minutes.

Do you need individual guidance on how to ensure your vehicles are properly insured for year-round and seasonal use? Contact us online or give us a call at 1-888-853-5552 for fast, personalized service

Click here for a free, instant, online, no obligation auto insurance quote.

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Motorcycle Insurance: Is Minimum Coverage Enough?

motorcycle front

Here in Ontario, if you ride a motorcycle you are required to have a valid motorcycle licence and carry motorcycle insurance. The same holds true if you drive a limited-speed motorcycle or moped.

Of course, just as with automobiles, the type of motorcycle you ride can impact what you pay for motorcycle insurance. So can your age, gender, rider training, driving record, driving patterns, and address.

No one loves paying for their insurance, and it can feel like you are spending money for something you never even use! To save on premiums, some people drop down to the bare minimum coverage. But if you do need to use your insurance, will the minimum motorcycle insurance coverage protect you adequately?

On the other hand, are you paying for coverage you do not need? Is there any way to drop or lower some coverage so you can use those savings to pay for coverage that is more important to have?

Read on to find out the answers to these timely questions about motorcycle insurance!

Minimum Required Motorcycle Coverage in Ontario

Each province is permitted to set its own minimum requirements for vehicle insurance. But in some areas of coverage, the minimum required coverage is absolutely not sufficient.

In Ontario, the current minimum required motorcycle insurance coverage is as follows:


Third-party liability coverage protects you if you are sued because you are involved in a motorcycle incident where another person's property is damaged or they are injured or killed. The legal minimum coverage of $200,000 is not adequate protection.

Accident Benefits

Statutory no-fault accident benefits provide protection if you are injured in a motorcycle accident. Coverage includes:

  • Income replacement of up to $400 per week.

  • Medical, rehabilitation, and attendant care coverage up to a combined total of $65,000.

  • Life insurance (if death results from a car or motorcycle accident) of $10,000 to a surviving dependent and $25,000 to a surviving spouse.

  • And other benefits

Direct Compensation for Property Damage

Called DCPD, this benefit protects you if you are involved in a motorcycle incident in which the other driver is at fault and that other driver has Ontario insurance.

Uninsured Motorist

This benefit protects you if you are injured in a motorcycle accident and the responsible other driver is not identified or not insured.

Should You Add Optional Coverage to These Basic Motorcycle Coverages?

Even a casual review of the minimum motorcycle coverage required for Ontario riders highlights areas where you need additional protection.

Every motorcycle owner should have increased coverage:

  1. Increase liability coverage from $200,000 to a minimum of $1 million.

  2. Review ALL available optional Accident Benefits coverages, and at a minimum increase the limit for Medical, Rehabilitation, and Attendant Care coverage.

Other optional coverages are personal decisions based on your specific circumstances. If you are a single person riding an older motorcycle, your coverage might look quite different than if you have young children at home and ride a $30,000 touring motorcycle.

Finding an insurance broker you trust is a key component of the selection process. You want to be able to talk openly about your situation without feeling pressured to purchase a specific level of coverage that you don't really need.

Ways to Save on Motorcycle Insurance Premiums

Many first-time riders pay more than they need to for motorcycle insurance.

Just as with auto insurance, driver training, bundling, the choice of bike, and how you pay, your other memberships and certain safety precautions can help you pay less for the same amount of insurance coverage.

1. Take a rider safety course

If you are a first-time motorcycle owner, a rider safety course is strongly recommended. There are courses that provide helpful safety training, and also a bike to ride for the training course and to get your M2 license. Get your M2 license before you rush out and buy a motorcycle that you will find it difficult or impossible to insure.

2. Bundle your insurance

If you already have auto insurance or home insurance, ask if you can get a discount by bundling in motorcycle insurance. Some insurance companies provide preferred prices on motorcycle insurance, but write motorcycles only if they also write the person’s car insurance.

3. Buy the right type of bike

Just as buying a sport automobile can mean higher insurance premiums, so too can some types motorcycles. Premiums, and which companies will even write the insurance, are different for a standard bike than for a high-performance or dual sport bike.

4. Pay cash for your bike

It goes without saying that if you can pay cash, you avoid paying interest. It also lets you decide what coverage you want to put on the motorcycle to protect it if it is stolen or damaged in an accident. If you borrow money to buy the bike, the lienholder will demand that you buy collision and comprehensive insurance.

5. Ask about discounts

Insurance companies may offer a discount for safety and anti-theft features, a clean driver record, being a senior, having a garage, and other things. Ask your broker.

6. Adjust your deductible

The deductible is the amount that you pay first if your bike is stolen or damaged. A higher deductible results in a lower insurance premium; a lower deductible results in a higher insurance premium.

Give Us a Call

Here at Mackay Insurance, we value each and every client we are able to serve. More than 5,000 people to date have trusted us to help them select just the right insurance coverage to fit their individual needs.

If you need help selecting motorcycle insurance, give us a call at 888-853-5552!

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Ride Sharing Auto Insurance: Are You Protected While On the Job?

ride sharing

Ride sharing has become a big deal in recent years. Uber launched in 2009. EcoRide powered up in 2011. Lyft debuted in 2012.

More companies continue to join the ride-sharing revolution, and as they do they are recruiting more drivers to work part time or full time ferrying folks from place to place.

If you are currently working as a ride-sharing driver, you are likely using your personal vehicle. You may have assumed you were insured while on the job under your personal auto insurance policy. This is not necessarily the case.

Learn what you need to know to be protected while working as a ride-sharing driver!

What Is Ride Sharing?

Ride sharing is at heart a service industry. There are many benefits to the growth of the ride-sharing industry, from reducing roadway congestion and greenhouse gases to providing jobs and economical local taxi rides.

Ride sharing is essentially an arrangement between a driver and a passenger. The arrangement is made by using an app: this is how the driver and the passenger connect with each other. The app itself is managed and maintained by the company that hires the driver, and the driver typically uses their personal vehicle to transport the passenger.

In this arrangement, there are actually three parties involved in any ride: the driver, the passenger, and the ride-sharing company.

Does Your Ride Sharing Company Offer Commercial Coverage?

Ride sharing is a relatively new industry, and one which the insurance industry as a whole has been slow to recognize and respond to. In the meantime, ride sharing itself continues to expand, adding new service options on what sometimes seems like a daily basis!

While ride sharing has been available throughout North America for at least the past eight years, only recently did the Financial Services Commission of Ontario approve commercial auto insurance coverage for ride-sharing companies.

If you work for Uber, EcoRides, Lyft, RideCo, InstaRyde or Facedrive, the ride-sharing company provides a standard blanket commercial insurance policy provided by an insurance company.

If you work for another ride-sharing company, it will be up to you to talk with the company management and learn what, if any, commercial coverage protects you while driving on the job.

What About Your Personal Auto Insurance Policy?

Even though you have commercial coverage through your agreement with, say, Uber, you are still using your personal vehicle. That vehicle is insured by a regular insurance company when it is not being used for Uber driving and the fact that you do ride sharing must be agreed to by your personal insurance company.

It is critical that you talk with your agent or broker before you begin as a ride sharing driver. They may need to move you from an insurance company that does not allow ride sharing to one that does. And at this point, most insurance companies do not allow this use.

Making it even more complicated, your personal insurance company may allow use by one ride sharing company (e.g., Lyft) and not another (e.g., Uber). One of the reasons is that the insurance company covering your personal car needs to know exactly what the ride-sharing policy covers.

For example, let's say you are driving your vehicle on your way to pick up a passenger and you are involved in an auto accident. Who pays the claim? Are you a ride-sharing driver at that moment? Or are you a regular person until the customer gets into your car?

Your ride-sharing policy may cover you once you have received and accepted a ride request. But it may not cover you while you are waiting to receive a ride request or after you have received a ride request but before you have accepted that request.

In the same way, the ride-sharing policy may cover you while you are transporting your passenger. But the moment you drop off your passenger, and you are then waiting for another ride request to come in, you may not be covered.

Imagine the mess this could cause. Your personal insurance company saying you were working at the time an accident happened, and they won’t pay. Your ride-sharing insurance company saying you had not started working yet, and they won’t pay. In the meantime, your car is wrecked, or even worse, you are injured and have associated costs.

The only way for you to not be left with two insurance companies fighting over who should pay a claim is if they figure out the details in advance. That is why specific insurance companies who write the personal use of your vehicle have to go through what a specific ride-sharing insurance company does and does not cover, and agree to cover “the rest.”

Even though you make all your payments on time, you could get caught without insurance if you don’t work this out with your personal insurance company. The only way for you as a regular person to know that you won’t get caught without insurance is to talk with your agent or broker before you start doing ride sharing.

How Does Standard Ride-Sharing Coverage Work?

Okay, so you have talked with your broker. Your personal car insurance company is cool with you being a ride sharing driver with the particular ride-sharing company you have gone with. The ride-sharing company tells you that you are covered under their standard policy.

All is well, so time to stop worrying about insurance and go make some money. Right?

Well… almost right. Ultimately, making sure you have adequate auto insurance coverage in place to protect you while working as a ride-sharing driver is up to you. Even if your ride-sharing company does provide some type of standard one-size-fits-all insurance coverage to you as a contractor-driver, it may not be sufficient to fully protect you if you have an incident on the job.

For this reason, it is critical to read the fine print of the standard insurance protection issued by the ride-sharing company, so you know precisely what and how much coverage you have during the times you are covered while on the job. For example, what is the coverage and what is the deductible if your car is damaged? How about coverage if you are injured? Or if someone sues you?

The same important questions that you need to look at on your personal car insurance also apply to the commercial insurance you have through the ride-sharing company.

Get in Touch

If after reading all of this you are even more confused, give us a call or contact us online. The truth is that it is not simple. Bring in a copy of the insurance agreement from the ride-sharing company and let us help you understand the fine print on that policy.

Even though you do not get that insurance through us, helping people through mazes like this is exactly what we as brokers do. And we will be sure you are with a personal insurance company that allows ride-sharing with the ride-sharing company you are going with.

Here at Mackay Insurance, we help you understand what insurance you have and what you need. Give us a call at 888-853-5552 to learn more about ride-sharing insurance coverage.

Click here for a free, instant, online, no obligation auto insurance quote.

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What is Claims Protection on Insurance?

A transcript follows below the video...

What is claims protection?

Claims protection is like a get out of jail free card for your first at fault accident.

In the event that you have an at fault accident, your driving record will remain the same, and you will not see an increase in your premiums due to that at fault accident.

This is an optional coverage that you must purchase in order to have on your coverage.

Please give us a call, or email us to discuss it further.

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Is Your RV Sufficiently Insured? Here is How to Know!

rv insurance

According to RV Business, every year more than 1 million (yes, million!) RVs traverse Canadian roads.

An estimated 14 percent of all Canadians own RVs for living, camping, leisure, and fun. To this end, Canadians spend more than $4 billion annually on new RVs, RV maintenance, upgrades for owned RVs, RV storage and accessories, and more.

But how protected is your treasured RV from weather, accidents, theft, vandalism, and the sheer unknowns of life? This is an especially critical question to ask if you have just acquired your first RV and are unsure how to proceed to protect it.

In this article, learn more about the best way to insure your RV and ensure you have the right, sufficient coverage to protect your investment.

What Class Is Your RV?

In general, a recreational vehicle, or RV, is any type of portable accommodation. Some RVs are all-inclusive in that they serve as both transportation and living space. Some RVs, however, are more specialized.

Knowing what class your RV falls into is the first step towards obtaining the right type of insurance to protect it.

Here are the basic classes of RVs according to the Canadian Recreational Vehicle Association (CRVA):

  • Class A Motorhome. This is the "King" of RVs in terms of size, space, and luxury. It is fully motorized.

  • Class B Motorhome. Sometimes called a "camper van," this RV is built on a basic van structure with a raised roof.

  • Class C Motorhome. Often termed a "mini motorhome," this RV is based on a vehicle chassis with sleeping quarters above the driver and front passenger areas.

  • Travel Trailer. Sometimes called a "conventional travel trailer," this RV needs to be hauled via an attached hitch. (These tend to be the most popular choice, especially for those new to RVs.)

  • Fifth Wheel. As its name suggests, the fifth wheel RV is equipped with a fifth-wheel coupler hitch for towing by a pickup truck.

  • Folding Camper. The popular "pop-up" trailer is also called a folding camper or a fold-down camper. Designed to be lightweight and easy to tow, the sides are collapsible for easy transport and storage.

  • Toy Hauler. A toy hauler is more commonly called a "specialty hauler" and is often acquired for dual-purpose use to transport off-road ATVs and motorcycles during the day and accommodations at night.

  • Truck Camper. This small, detachable RV can be attached to a pickup truck bed for use and removed for storage.

  • Hybrid Trailers. Frequently termed the "expandable travel trailer," this RV has a sturdy main structure with ends that fold out into sleeping quarters.

  • Park Model. A park model could be considered a semi-permanent RV. It is wheel-mounted and can be moved, but is designed to stay stationary for periods of time, such as for summer camping.

The Basics of Saving Money on RV Insurance

Depending on the type of RV you own, you will need a basic RV insurance policy. This basic level of coverage can often be bundled in with other existing policies, such as auto and homeowners, to save money.

Specialty RV Insurance Issues

Of course, the type of RV you have selected and the way you plan to use it can make it a smart choice to acquire additional insurance as well.

Here are some common issues to talk through with your insurer:

International travel

Are you planning to travel outside of Canada? If so, make sure you have insurance that covers you when you are out of the country. As an example, vehicle insurance purchased in Ontario does not cover you if you cross into Mexico.

Emergency roadside assistance

If you experience a flat tire or engine trouble while out on the open road, you can purchase insurance that covers repairs and emergency assistance.

Personal property

Do you plan to transport off-road (ATV) vehicles, motorcycles, personal valuables, or other high-value items in your RV? Talk to your insurance broker and be sure these items are correctly insured.

Customizations and modifications

If you have taken the time (and expense) to equip your RV with special luxury accessories such as awnings, satellite and Internet antennas or dishes, high-value electronics, and other upgrades, be sure your insurance policy will cover theft, vandalism, and damage to or destruction of these items.

Disaster insurance

Fire, flooding, snow and ice, hail, trees falling, and airborne or roadway debris are all priority concerns, especially when your RV doubles as your residence part-time or full-time. Make sure you have sufficient coverage for these types of incidents that cannot be predicted in advance.

Additional Living Expense

If you live in your RV part-time or full-time, it is functioning as a place of residence. What will you do if it is stolen or becomes uninhabitable? Here, you will want to look at a more comprehensive rider that more closely resembles homeowners insurance in case you need to arrange for alternative accommodations while your RV is being repaired or replaced.

Contact Mackay Insurance Brokers for Help

Here at Mackay Insurance Brokers, we bring our combined 165 years of insurance expertise to bear on your behalf. We want you to feel confident that your insurance needs are well understood and provided for with an affordable policy that fully meets your needs.

To learn more and receive a FREE insurance quote for any of our products, you are warmly invited to contact us at 613-966-5740 (1-888-853-5552 for long distance) or online.  

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8 Ways to Keep Student Auto Insurance Premiums Low

student auto insurance

As a student, you certainly are no stranger to financial pressures. And if you are like many Canadian college and university students today, you can expect to graduate with a rather sizeable student loan bill to repay.

The key to navigating the “starving student years” and emerging with the means to repay your student loans and keep monthly bills reasonable is research.

Specifically, you can use the same skills that helped you get into university and earn good marks to get the best rates on auto insurance and other legally required expenses.

In this post, learn 8 key ways to keep your student auto insurance premiums as low as possible.

1. Buy only as much car as you can afford to insure

Just as a diamond will cost more to insure than a cubic zirconia, certain cars just cost more to insure than others.

This variance involves everything from the age and mileage of the vehicle to the engine power and number of special or after-market features added.

Too many Canadian drivers today have purchased their "dream car" only to discover after the fact that the insurance for that car puts them over budget.

In general, a four-door compact sedan with good gas mileage and a 4-cylinder or hybrid engine will likely be the most economical type of car to insure.

2. Earn high marks in school

While you are still a student, many insurers will offer you insurance discounts for keeping good grades in school. The main reason for this is that insurers see a correlation between being a good student and being a good driver.

So in this case, getting high marks will not only give you the best array of options in life, but it will also save you money on car insurance premiums.

3. Stay out of trouble on the road

If there is one thing you can count on, it is that getting into an accident or being cited for a moving violation will trigger an increase in your auto insurance premiums.

Since drivers ages 24 and under are considered to be the highest-risk drivers to insure, being involved in any type of traffic or driving violation will also cause your insurance payments to be higher than they would be for getting into the same types of trouble later on in life.

4. Get a policy as soon as possible

As soon as you start driving either part-time or full-time, your driver safety record starts building. This record will follow you from year to year, so you want to keep it as clean as possible.

You also want to begin building a safety record as soon as possible, because it will benefit you with lower rates as you age. Better to have a five-year clean record, say, from age 16 to 21, and be granted a lower insurance rate then, than to be 21 with no driver record history yet.

5. Get a rider on your parent's’ policy instead of your own policy

If you can begin your driving days by being listed as an occasional driver under your parents' auto insurance policy, you will pay less for auto insurance than if you took out an independent insurance policy as a young driver.

There are two main reasons for this:

  • Your parents will likely get a multi-policy discount, which will impact both your insurance rates and theirs.

  • You will be insured only as an occasional or secondary driver, which comes with a lower risk, since it implies less road time.

6. Be sure to ask about all possible discounts

Insurance companies today are highly regulated from province to province regarding the basic minimum insurance each driver is legally required to carry.

But where one insurer can differentiate themselves from the competition is with the discounts and perks they offer. Don’t assume they’ll tell you what those are: be sure to ask about all the discounts you are eligible for before you pick a policy.

Reasons for discounted insurance aside from the ones already mentioned in this post include the following:

  • Vehicle safety features (car alarm, VIN tracking, air bags, etc.).

  • Garaging (if your car is kept in a locked garage rather than parked on the street)

  • Membership affiliations (if you belong to an association that has a discount arrangement with that insurer)

  • New car

  • Low car mileage

  • Hybrid fuel

  • Usage (requires installing a mileage tracking device on your vehicle)

  • Winterizing (if you use winter tires)

7. Complete an accredited driver safety course

Most insurers reward drivers who complete an accredited driver safety course with a discount on the amount of their annual auto insurance premiums. Of course, this is because you learn safe driving tips by taking such a course.

You will need to provide your course completion certificate to quality.

8. Stay with the same insurer during your student years

In the ultra-competitive world of auto insurance today, insurers are keen to retain their customers in any way they can.

One newer discount that has emerged as a result of this is the insurer loyalty discount. Different insurers may have a different minimum as far as what constitutes loyalty (for example, three or five years with the same insurer).

But once you qualify, staying with the same insurer can net you this discount.

Click here for a free, instant, online, no obligation quote.

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6 Tips to Get the Most Mobile Home Insurance for the Money

mobile home insurance

The estimated 33 percent of all Canadians who live in Ontario are lucky. In addition to permanent housing communities, Ontario features a wide assortment of seasonal RV and mobile home parks, many located in some of Canada's most beautiful natural spaces.

Whether you want to live year-round in a mobile home or you just want to take seasonal trips with your home in tow, one thing is for sure: you will want to bring mobile home insurance coverage along for the ride.

In this article, learn 6 key ways to get the most mobile home coverage for the least cash.

Tip 1: Know what you really need in a mobile home insurance policy

Mobile (alternately, manufactured) homes present different benefits and challenges than traditional foundation homes. So the policy you purchase for your mobile home should be tailored to address the risks you are most likely to encounter, as follows:

Trip Collision

Essentially, a mobile home is a home that can be moved. You may move your home frequently or rarely, but this makes the risk of collision more likely than if you had a home that was built to stay put.

What to look for in your policy: The option to purchase trip collision coverage.

Weather damage

Of particular concern here is wind, whether on its own or from hurricanes, tornadoes, or strong thunderstorms. Using tie-down straps can reduce but not eliminate the risk, especially if the weather is an earthquake!

What to look for in your policy: Options to increase the minimum coverage levels for your dwelling (structure).


The risk of damage from fire is increased when you live in a mobile or manufactured home. The major risks come from electrical distribution and cooking activities.

What to look for in your policy: Options to increase the minimum coverage levels for your dwelling and personal property.

Tip 2: Consider adding extra coverage for special circumstances

Perhaps you plan to live in your mobile home full-time. Or maybe your major use will be seasonal, for family trips. Or perhaps your mobile home will serve as a home office or workshop instead.

In each of these cases, the type of mobile home coverage you want may look slightly different. What is important here is to know whether your insurer offers riders to cover your specific use plans.

What to look for in your policy: Ask about secondary residence coverage, and if your mobile home will be a part of conducting your business, ask about adding on a rider for business liability insurance.

Tip 3: Know what your plan is if your mobile home gets destroyed

This is not ever something anyone likes to think about. But the truth is, Mother Nature happens when and where she pleases, and sometimes we just get inadvertently caught in the crossfire.

Because of this, think about what your situation might be like if your mobile home is rendered unlivable due to an insured accident or natural disaster. Where will you live? How will you pay your bills (especially important if your mobile home serves as a home office)?

What to look for in your policy: A replacement cost coverage rider and a rider for additional living expenses while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.

Tip 4: Consider protection if you plan to welcome house guests or visitors

Unless you plan to take your mobile home out into the wilderness and live there alone, it is quite likely you will want to welcome guests and visitors from time to time. As well, you may have other persons who venture onto your property, whether it is at your invitation or not.

If one of these persons falls and is injured or becomes ill while on your grounds or inside your mobile home, they may decide to pursue you for damages. It is definitely in your best interest to consider protecting yourself from these types of future unknowns!

What to look for in your policy: Ask about personal liability coverage.

Tip 5: Talk to your current insurers first to get a policy quote

If you already have an auto, commercial, life, or homeowners policy with an insurer, it is always a good idea to approach that insurer first and ask if they offer discounts for policy bundling.

Purchasing more than one type of insurance coverage with an insurer means there is the option to bundle them together as a package. Some insurers provide financial incentives to do this. It also works in your favor because to update your personal and billing information, renew your policy, ask questions, or make changes, there is only one call or online stop you have to make.

What to look for in your policy: Ask what incentives exist if you bundle mobile home coverage together with an existing policy.

Tip 6: Ask about what other discounts you may be eligible to receive

Provinces are permitted to set their own insurance minimums, which means it isn't always possible to get a lower price by lowering the minimum. But insurers can help you keep costs low by offering proprietary discounts, such as for paying in one lump sum, signing up for auto-renewal, having an excellent driving record, and more.

What to look for in your policy: Ask about any available discounts before you purchase a policy.

Contact Us for a Free Quote

Mackay Insurance Brokers Inc. has been successfully operating for nearly 40 years, and our clients in Belleville and Napanee now number 5,000+. With a jaw-dropping 165 years of combined insurance expertise between our staff, we are eager to help you get the most coverage at the most competitive price.

Contact Mackay Insurance today.

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5 Ways to Save the Most on Auto Insurance

auto insurance

In the world we live in today, insurance is a fact of life. We need insurance for our homes, our possessions, our vehicles, and even our lives.

Shopping for insurance of any type also comes with a learning curve. For example, the first time you buy an auto insurance policy, you may overpay. But as you learn the ropes, you pick up tips for how to get the most insurance for a lower rate.

In this post, shorten your learning curve by finding out what questions to ask and what perks to look for to save the most on the auto insurance you need!

Tip 1: First, check rates with the insurer you’re with

Let's say you already have a homeowners insurance policy with a particular insurer. But now you need auto insurance as well. Before you start calling around to gather quotes, check with the insurer you already do business with.

Often, a current insurer can help you save money through a multi-policy discount. This means that you get a discount for adding another insurance product to your account. This is called "bundling" or "consolidating," and it may save you as much as 10 percent on the combined cost of your insurance policies.

Not all insurance companies offer perks for bundling, but by choosing an insurer that does, you stand to save more than just cash. It is often simply easier to juggle insurance renewals, premiums payments (especially if you use direct deposit or e-pay), information updates, and other chores when you only have to work with one insurer.

After all, your time has a dollar value too, and if you can spend less of it managing your insurance products, even better!

Tip 2: Choose the right level of coverage for your vehicle and driving habits

Regardless of where you live in Canada, you will be subject to certain minimum auto insurance requirements. These minimums vary by province. You can use this helpful resource to find out what the minimums are in your province.

Beyond these minimums, you still have a menu of options to pick from based on your garaging situation, driving habits and vehicle type. These options should reflect what insurers call your "risk tolerance." For example, if you have an older vehicle that is paid off, you may want to retain only the province minimum insurance levels. But if you own a vintage or high-value vehicle, or you still owe a lot of money on the vehicle, you may want to add extra insurance in case you are involved in an accident.

Choosing the right level of coverage is not always about finding the cheapest possible price—it should be about covering your risk without putting you out of pocket, and having a deductible you can afford should anything happen.

Tip 3: Ask your insurer about family auto insurance plans

If you have young drivers and/or occasional drivers in your family, you may be able to save money by purchasing a family auto insurance plan instead of buying individual plans.

For young beginning drivers in particular, taking an accredited driving course often qualifies them for lower insurance rates on their first auto insurance policy. As well, according to the Globe and Mail, when your young driver works hard to keep excellent grades, drives only during certain hours or days, has no driving incidents (of course), and is listed as a secondary occasional driver on your household's primary vehicle, these can all help in getting you the most affordable family auto insurance policy.

By asking the right questions of your insurance provider and educating your young driver about how they contribute to rate changes on the family auto insurance policy, you can make sure you get the best rate of insurance for the most expensive kind of driver—a young driver.

Tip 4: Check auto insurance rates first before buying a new vehicle

If there is one thing that feels really awful, it is finding out you just purchased more car than you can financially afford to insure. The Toronto Star calls this "The Porsche Factor," citing statistics on the frequency of theft as one way to gauge your level of risk when purchasing a new car.

Some vehicles are simply more expensive to insure. This can be due to poor crash safety test ratings, a more powerful engine, special after-market modifications that may be more costly to repair or replace, a vintage status, or other factors.

Price out the cost of insuring a new vehicle before you sign the purchase agreement. This way, you ensure you haven't just bought too much car for your budget!

Tip 5: Consider adding extra safety features on your vehicle

While this may require an initial upfront investment on your part, it benefits both you and your insurer to make your vehicle as theft-resistant as possible.

Insurers are often willing to provide policy discounts in exchange for insuring a more theft-resistant vehicle, because their risk of having to pay out on policy claims decreases correspondingly with each additional theft deterrent option your car carries.

Contact Mackay Insurance Brokers Today

If you have questions about auto insurance and other insurance products, Mackay Insurance Brokers is here to help! We are a family-owned and -operated business with 35 wonderful years under our belt, serving customers throughout the Belleville and Quinte, ON, areas.

We offer a variety of individual and bundled insurance products, including auto, motorcycle, home, mobile/RV, commercial, and life insurance policies. You can generate a free quote right from our website! If you prefer, we can talk you through policy options and discounts over the phone or in person. Contact us at 888-853-5552 or online.

Click here for a free, instant, online, no obligation quote.

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