Q: Are fees charged for quotes?
A: Absolutely not. We provide a free quoting service, whether online, email or over the phone. You can get unbiased quotes – sorted by price – for auto, home, commercial, motorcycle, RV and collector car insurance. The online quoting service is also free.

Q: How can I contact you ? What information do I need to provide if I'm interested?
A: Let us know either via email or phone and we will arrange the policies for you. We will ask for the V.I.N. or serial number of your vehicles, driver’s licenses for all drivers, your banking information (if you plan to pay monthly) and previous home insurance policy number when we speak. We’ll also arrange a time for you to come in and sign the paperwork.

Q: I found a lower rate elsewhere. Can you match it?
A: We offer quotes from many of Canada’s leading insurance companies, but not all of them. If you have rates through a group program or enjoy discounts from your current provider because you’re a longstanding customer, you may find better rates elsewhere. However, as rates change all the time, it’s best to check back with us often.

There could be a number of other reasons why the rates you’re paying with your current insurer and the rates you obtained online are different. In most cases, it can be narrowed down to online options differing from those of your current policy. Example, for an auto insurance quote:

– The year, make and model of the vehicle differs.
– Deductibles are set to different levels, or additional optional coverage were included on the quote inadvertently.
– The annual commute and business kilometers entered (if applicable) differs.
– Driving history information like tickets or accidents differs.
– The license date(s) and insurance history information differs.
– The quote you obtained includes information not yet reflected on your current policy.
– Discounts, like the multi-line discount, have not been included in the quote.

Q: Why can't I find my vehicle model in the pick list?
A: Most vehicle makes and models are available on the website. However, the following scenarios may occur:

– Your vehicle’s model year is older than the oldest year available in the list. Continue with your quote; but select the same or closest model of the first available year. The reason: often when the car is slightly older (say from the late ’80s or early ’90s), the premium difference between one year over the other is often minimal. When you are confirming your rate with the licensed insurance broker, they can update the year of your vehicle and let you know of any rate adjustments.
– It’s a brand new vehicle. If the vehicle you’re looking to get a quote for is brand new on the market, select the same or closest model from the previous year and continue with your quote. Then, when you are confirming your rate with the licensed insurance broker, they can update the year of your vehicle. They will also let you know of any rate adjustments, if they are necessary.
– Your vehicle is an antique, classic or collectible, has been appraised and is driven less than 5000 km per year. If this describes your vehicle, you should use the collector car quote maker. Simply select collector car from the “slice-of-life” wheel and click on request a quote.

Q: Which auto coverage is best for me?
A: Our quotes include all the mandatory coverage legally required in your province. The others are optional and should be selected based on your individual needs. You can always refer to your existing auto policy for help, or you can confirm your choices with a licensed insurance broker when you request a policy.

Q: How do I update my policy?
A: You can email us, phone a broker here at the office or fax us.

Q: If my circumstances change, do I need to review my insurance?
A: Yes. A change of circumstances may mean the insurance you have in place is no longer current. It may be that your circumstances change in a way that means your risk is reduced and you’re paying too much, or that your risk is increased and you’re exposed to uninsured losses. Either way, advising your broker of your changes will allow them to review your insurances and ensure your policies remain relevant. It’s advisable to review your insurance regularly – at the very least annually – because changes may have taken place that alter your risk profile. The policies available to cover your risks may also have changed.

Q: How do I make a claim?
A: Please see the Claims section of the website for a complete listing of all insurance companies we represent, and their claim numbers.

Q: How do I make sense of all the different terms insurers use for their policies? How do I make the right choice?
A: Companies may give their policies different names for marketing reasons, but contracts generally fall into three main categories:

– Some policies only cover “specified perils.” In other words, if the peril (the cause of damage) is not indicated in the contract, it’s not covered.
– Other policies cover named perils for the contents of your home as well as all perils for the building itself. An “all perils” policy covers loss from a wide range of causes but instead of listing the perils, it lists the EXCLUSIONS, or what is NOT COVERED. This is generally known as “broad” coverage.
– Another category of policies covers all perils that could affect the building or its contents – again with certain exclusions. This is known as “comprehensive” coverage.

Q: Is sewage backup covered?
A: Generally, no. But it is available upon request, for an additional premium.

Q: On what are claim settlements based?
A: In home and property insurance, most claims are settled based on repair or replacement cost, meaning that the damaged article will be repaired if it can be, or replaced by a new one as similar as possible to the original in terms of use and quality. Some policies, however, provide only the value of the object on the day of the loss, taking wear and tear, and depreciation into account.

Q: Can I move forward with the repairs myself?
A: Before doing anything, talk to your insurance company. If you have to make emergency repairs, keep your bills and take photos before and after the repairs.

Q: Can I choose my repair company and the store where I go to replace the items?
A: Generally, yes. However, you would be best to discuss it with your insurer before going ahead since policies can vary from one company to the next.

Q: Do I have to replace the damaged or stolen goods?
A: No. If you don’t want to replace them, your insurer will pay you the value of the item on the day of the loss.

Q: Do I have to tell my insurance company if I decide not to renew my home & property policy?
A: Unlike auto insurance, home & property insurance is not automatically renewed. It expires on the date set out in the policy unless you or your insurer provides notice to the contrary. However, it’s always best to tell your insurer if you’re not renewing your policy.

Q: If there's a fire and the damage is greater than my total insured amount, what happens?
A: You will have to assume any excess expenses. Your insurer will only cover you for the amount indicated in your policy. For example, if your tenant’s insurance is for $15,000, but $20,000 worth of property is destroyed, you’ll have to pay the $5,000 difference. That’s why it’s so important to keep your inventory up-to-date and increase your insured amount as required.

Q: Is my furniture insured during a move? Do I have to tell my insurance company if I move but store my furniture at my old home for a while?
A: It’s very important that you inform your insurer of any change of address and the date of your move, and, of course, make sure your property is insured at both locations. Most policies give you 30 days to complete a move, assuming, of course, that your policy remains in effect and that you’ll be keeping the same insurer at your new address. Your property is also insured when being transported, or during the move itself.

Q: How are additional living expenses reimbursed?
A: As with any other claim, you have to provide proof of the additional expenses you incurred after a loss. Remember, this means costs you’ve incurred above and beyond your regular living expenses because of the loss. You must have complete paperwork on your rent or mortgage as well as receipts from the hotels where you stayed, restaurants where you ate, and cleaners that you used to take care of your property.

Q: How long do I have to submit a claim?
A: All insurance policies, whether home & property or automotive, state that you must report any losses affecting your policy as soon as you are aware of them. Failure to do so may invalidate your claim.

Q: If I go on a winter vacation, do I have to take any precautions for my home & property insurance?
A: If you’re planning to be gone for four or more days during the winter, ask someone you trust to check on your heating system. Or, you can drain all your pipes and turn off the water. Otherwise, if your pipes burst, you may not be covered.

Q: Why is there a deductible?
A: The deductible is the amount that you have agreed to pay towards the cost of each claim you make. The amount of your deductible is a choice that you make to control the cost of your policy. The choice of a higher deductible will lower your premium. Every policy has a deductible. Your insurance policy is meant to respond in circumstances of significant loss and a deductible acts to limit the number of very small claims.

Q: How long does the claim process take?
A: Every loss is different. For example, the restoration of significant damage caused by a fire may take longer than a claim for a straightforward theft. We make every effort is made to provide you with all the information you need up front in order to move the process along quickly.

Q: Who chooses the contractor who will repair my damaged property?
A: We will recommend qualified experts, but the choice is ultimately yours. The insurance contract is not a repair contract, but is a financial vehicle that responds to the cost of the repairs that need to be done. Of course, we have a right to inspect the damaged property and we will not pay more for the same repair work as quoted on by a qualified expert contractor.

Q: What is Replacement Cost?
A: Replacement cost applies to contents. It covers the cost of contents on the date of the loss or damage, of repairing or replacing (whichever is less) damaged property with new property of similar kind and quality, without deduction for depreciation, but not exceeding the applicable amount (s) of insurance as shown on the coverage summary page for any loss or damage arising out of one occurrence. There are restrictions on this coverage that are detailed in your policy booklet.

Q: What is Actual Cash Value (ACV)?
A: Actual Cash Value is an assessment of value of an item that considers depreciation. In determining depreciation, consideration is given to the condition of the item immediately before the damage, the resale value of the item & the normal life expectancy of the item in question.

Q: What is a Comprehensive policy?
A: A Comprehensive policy (also called an All Risk policy) is a policy, which is defined by the exclusions. Basically, a wide range of coverage is provided and the exclusions are used to determine what perils or items are not covered.

Q: Which is better: Term life or mortgage insurance?
A: By: Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew Business Reporter, Published on Sat Aug 14 2010.

You’ve just made the biggest purchase of your life: A new home for you and your family.

What’s the best way to protect your investment if you die?

Insurance is the answer. But what kind: mortgage insurance or term life insurance?

There are important differences between the two that aren’t well understood, mortgage experts say.

Mortgage insurance pays the balance of your mortgage to the bank if a person listed on the mortgage passes away.

“It pays the institution that lent you the money. It pays off that loan so the people who inherit your home are not going to be saddled with that debt,” explains George Small, founder of Kanetix, a Canadian financial services website. “The last thing you want to do is leave that liability for someone else to worry about.”

Sometimes referred to as creditor insurance, this policy can be purchased when you sign your mortgage papers. It’s offered by the bank and typically involves answering a few basic health questions. The premiums can be added to your monthly mortgage payments.

But that convenience comes at a cost.

The most important thing to remember about mortgage insurance is that even though you are paying the premiums, you’re not necessarily covered. These policies use post-claim underwriting, meaning that the insurance company will delve into your medical history after a claim is made.

If you have a health condition when you sign the papers – whether you and your doctor are aware of it or not – and it is not disclosed, your claim may later be denied.

That means, even though you have been paying the premiums, no benefits will be paid.

Assuming that’s not an issue, there are other key differences between mortgage and term life insurance.

Since mortgage insurance benefits pay out only the amount left owing on your mortgage if you die, the amount of coverage declines as you pay down that balance every month.

You will also need to renew the policy every time you renew your mortgage. That could be every five years, if you choose a five-year term, as many Canadians do.

“What I tell people is that it’s not guaranteed and your premium is probably going to go up because you’re five years older, and you could have heart problems or diabetes,” says Andre L’Ecuyer, a mortgage broker with Mortgage Agent in Petawawa.

“Then, on the opposite side, what happens with your mortgage is that it decreases as the years go by. What’s wrong with this picture? You’re paying more for something that’s not guaranteed, paying a higher premium and you’re getting less.”

Term life insurance is just that – an insurance policy that covers you for a set number of years, typically 10 to 30 years.

The premiums, and the amount that your beneficiaries receive if you die, will stay the same through the life of the policy.

That’s another key difference: Your family receives the payout and decides what to do with it. “Some people view that as a benefit because the family may be looking at alternatives, rather than paying off the mortgage. They may have other high-cost debts they want to put the money to,” Small says.

When purchasing term insurance, you may need a blood sample or urine sample upfront, and the insurance company may need to contact your doctor.

Depending on your age and health, the premiums on mortgage life insurance can be much higher than for a term life insurance policy, according to a comparison on the Kanetix website.

For example, a couple where both partners are 30 would pay $36 per month on mortgage insurance premiums, but they would pay $24.53 a month on a 10-year term life policy.

The difference becomes more pronounced with age. Two 40-year-olds would pay $80 per month for mortgage insurance but just $36 for a term policy. Two 50-year-olds would pay $160 for mortgage insurance, but only $73.35 for term life.

Keep in mind that mortgage insurance is not portable. If you switch lenders, you’ll need to take out a new policy.

“Term life insurance is more portable, because it’s attached to you rather than your debt,” Small says.

If you already have term insurance, you can consider boosting the amount of coverage to include your mortgage.