Regardless of where you live in Canada, automobile insurance is mandatory. If you drive a car, you must have car insurance. Driving without insurance is a very serious offense with harsh penalties including a heavy fine and/or license suspension. Furthermore, you may also lose everything if you are involved in an at-fault accident.
Auto insurance covers the driver, passengers, and potentially any pedestrians involved in the collision. If you have opted for additional coverage (for example collision coverage) the damages to the vehicle could be covered.
When lending a vehicle to someone, make sure this person is authorized by law or qualified to drive and that she only uses the car occasionally. If you lend it regularly, that person must be listed on your policy as an additional driver.
Before choosing one insurer, shop around and ask for available rebates. You could receive discounts if you own a car with loss-prevention devices, you drive a specified number of kilometers annually, or you bundle up your insurance products, etc. A number of factors determine your car insurance premium. For example, where you live, the make and model of your car, your usage and your driving record. It is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all method used to determine premiums. Talk with your agent or broker and remember to shop around and compare.
Auto insurance has several mandatory coverages.
Third-party liability is one of them and carries a minimum limit of $200,000 used to cover any bodily injuries or death of any person. It also covers property damage you may cause as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
Direct compensation property damage (DCPD) is another mandatory coverage. Your insurer will pay you for the damages to your automobile and its contents and for loss of use if DCPD applies. Payment will be based on the degree of fault. For example, if the accident is deemed 50-50, your insurer will pay you under this section of your policy 50% of your damages.
Accident benefits coverage (also commonly called Section B) is another mandatory coverage. Under this section, you might be entitled to receive payment for necessary medical treatments, rehabilitation, and funeral expenses. It also provides death benefits and coverage for loss of income.
Uninsured automobile coverage (Section D), you might be entitled to compensation for damages to your automobile and/or your injuries suffered if you are involved in an accident with an unidentified or uninsured vehicle.
You may also choose to purchase optional coverages such as all perils, collision and comprehensive. Optional coverage such as collision could pay for the repairs of your vehicle when involved in an at-fault accident. While comprehensive coverage could pay for loss or damage to your vehicle if damaged by theft or fire for example.
Shop around. The simplest way to save is to shop around and compare prices. Ask about discounts and bundle up your policies. Insurers usually offer rebates when you have your home and car policies with them.
Think about increasing your deductible. When your deductible goes up, your premium goes down. It might be wise to increase it in some cases.
Try to drive less, walk to work, or consider using public transport if it is available in your area.
Install a theft-deterrent system. If you decide to place one, check with your insurer and ask about discounts and incentives and which ones are approved.
Buy a car that is less in demand by thieves. A four-door sedan is less tempting for thieves that a four by four pick-up truck.
Consider dropping collision coverage if you are driving an older vehicle. Sometimes parts to repair the old cars are more expensive than the car’s value.
Lastly, a good way to save is to drive safely and make sure your driving record is as clean as possible. Try to avoid accidents and speeding tickets.
A house is often the largest investment a person will make. Without insurance, this valuable asset is vulnerable to fire, theft and other disasters.
Home insurance will help you cover big expenses like replacing your home and possessions after a fire and paying for additional living expenses if you are unable to live in your home following a covered loss.
Remember that home insurance is not mandatory by law, but mortgagors and banks will require it before lending you money.
Home insurance covers the property, contents and personal liability for the policy holder, spouse and dependent children. However, if he shares the home with a friend or relative, or rents out part of the residence, the insured must advise his insurer in order to avoid an unpleasant surprise.
Different coverages are available with home insurance. The personal liability portion of your home insurance provides coverage in the event that the insured is held legally responsible for damages resulting from, for example, a visitor slipping and being injured on a snow-covered walkway on the property. Liability coverage does not apply to injuries sustained by the insured or members of his household.
Your personal property will be covered under your home policy. It is important to create an inventory of all your possessions and update it regularly. Draw up a list and take some pictures or video with your smartphone. This will simplify things if you need to file a claim.
Home insurance will also cover your dwelling and its outbuildings such as shed or detached garage on the property. It is thus important to know your home, such as the date it was built, total square footage, interior finishes, material types, roofing materials, etc. This information is necessary to estimate the replacement cost in case of a loss.
Ask questions to your broker or agent. Make sure you have the best coverage for your needs. Remember that your policy contains limits and exclusions. Know your policy.
Often, problems arise due to misunderstanding or miscommunication between individuals. If addressed early, many problems can easily get sorted out. However, if you are not satisifed with the response you receive, make a formal complaint.
Know your rights about filing a complaint. Keep in mind that some companies are required to have a complaint process that includes providing information on how to make a complaint, how long the process will take and the next steps if the complaint remains unsolved.
A formal complaint often requires that you make a complaint in writing. You need to identify the problem, state why you think it's a problem and set out what you would like to happen. Put down the facts in a logical order and provide relevant information and copies of documents. Avoid unnecessary detail and repetition. Avoid bringing new issues forward while the complaint is going through the process. Often this confuses matters and results in unnecessary delays.
If you phone a company or attend a meeting, keep a record of the date, the name of the person you spoke to and the main issues raised by both of you. If there is an action expected following a conversation, send a confirmation letter to the company. Be specific about the agreed action and the timelines.
Make copies of all correspondence and official documents you send to the company. Always send copies of official documents and keep the original for your file.
These tips were published by the CCIR.
What you’re looking for in an agent is someone who is knowledgeable, understands your insurance needs and what you can afford, can explain your insurance options in plain language and one who will continue to be a trusted advisor.
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