Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

Q: How can I minimize my insurance cost?

  • Review your insurance needs regularly. Ask your broker for a complete review of your insurance requirements to ensure that you are adequately insured. Your broker will give you advice on what coverage you need.
  • Increase your deductibles. The higher your deductible, the lower your insurance premium. This means that accepting the risk for small losses can save you money.
  • Maximize discounts. You may be eligible for a variety of discounts, including multi-policy, mortgage-free, claims-free, or customer loyalty discounts.
  • Consolidate your insurance with one insurer. By using the same company to insure your auto and residential insurance, you may be eligible for multi-policy discounts.
  • Report insurance fraud to Crime Stoppers. Insurance fraud drives up the cost of insurance for everyone. You can call the National Insurance Crime TIPS Line (1 877 IBC TIPS) anonymously, or submit a tip online at www.ibc.ca to report a case of insurance fraud.
Home Insurance FAQs

Q: Is my home insured while I am on vacation or away from home?

Make arrangements to have your home checked while you are on vacation. During the heating season, if your home is unoccupied for more than four consecutive days, you must arrange for a competent person to enter your home on a daily basis. This will ensure that you are covered for freezing of pipes and the rupture or escape of water from the plumbing or heating system. To avoid freezing, rupture, or escape of water, shut off the water supply and drain all pipes before leaving, or have a 24-hour monitored alarm system installed for the plumbing and heating system.

Q: What do I do if my home is vacant?

Call your broker immediately when a residence becomes vacant. The definition of vacancy varies between insurers. A vacancy permit is required in order to maintain the fire insurance. Water, glass, vandalism, and freezing coverages cease to exist when vacancy begins.

Q: Do I need extra coverage for high-value items?

Your residential insurance policy contains limitations on certain unscheduled items. To ensure that there is adequate coverage, review the Special Limits of coverage with your broker. If you have items that you wish to cover that exceed the limits in your policy, optional coverage is available. These types of items might include jewellery, antiques, special sporting equipment, computers, and collections of fine art, wine, coins, or other valuables. A good way to ensure you have adequate protection is to complete a home-contents inventory and review it with your broker. You can use a Home Inventory Form to help with this, such as the one produced by the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC).

Q: How much Personal Property coverage is required for my Condominium or Tenants Policy?

The Home Inventory Form is a useful tool for determining the Replacement Cost coverage required for Personal Property under the Condominium and Tenants Package Policies. You can use a Home Inventory Form to help with this, such as te one produced by the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada.

Q: What type of insurance do I need as a tenant?

As a tenant, you need insurance that covers just the contents of your residence, as well as liability insurance.

Q: Does having a home business affect my insurance?

Yes. It's best to talk to your broker about what may be covered and what limitations may apply. For example, limits apply on business property, including computers and software, and special equipment may be excluded. You may also require additional liability insurance. Home Business coverage may be available as an extension to your Homeowner, Condominium or Tenant Package. This extension bridges the gap between the domestic policy coverage and the needs of the small commercial business.

Q: How do I file a property claim?

Contact your broker during regular business hours to obtain advice or to report a claim. After hours, contact your insurance company's 24-hour emergency claims department.

Q: Is sewer back-up coverage required?

Damage caused by the backing up or escape of water from a sewer, storm drain, drains, and sump or septic tank is excluded from most Comprehensive Property Policies. You can obtain coverage by adding the Sewer Back-up or Water Damage Endorsement to your policy.

Q: Why is my residential insurance based on reconstruction cost?

Insurance policies are based on reconstruction cost because it is the best representation of what an insurance carrier may expect to pay following a loss. Reconstruction cost provides the cost to construct an exact duplicate or replica of the building at current prices, using similar quality materials, construction standards, design, layout, and quality of workmanship. Other formulas, such as "Replacement Cost New," do not include costs arising out of current building codes or from a variety of costs and fees commonly present in total losses, and are therefore less than the actual cost to reconstruct a building after a total loss.

Q: What is liability insurance and why is it important?

Personal liability coverage is included in your residential and automobile insurance. It protects you and members of your household from damages or injuries to a third party for which you may be held responsible. As the size of legal settlements continues to increase, additional coverage is becoming necessary as the personal liability coverage available through a residential or automobile policy is not always enough.

Personal Excess or Umbrella Liability is available through your broker. The purchase of an Umbrella Policy provides excess liability coverage on the existing residential and automobile policies. It applies worldwide and offers limits ranging from $1,000,000 to $5,000,000. Limits up to $50 million are also available for clients with significant assets.

Auto Insurance FAQs

Q: What happens if I lend someone my car and they get into an accident?

If you lend your car and the person driving gets into an at-fault accident with your car, your insurance will be impacted.

Q: Am I insured while driving in the U.S.?

Yes. Your policy covers you in Canada, the United States, and the ports in between the two countries.

Q: Can I extend my car insurance to a rental car?

Yes. Please talk to your broker to obtain the necessary endorsement form so that you can be insured for a specific time period.

Q: Am I covered for use of a rental car after an accident?

In order to be covered for the use of a rental car after an accident, you need to add the loss of use coverage to your policy. Please talk to your broker to obtain the necessary endorsement form.

Q: Will my insurance go up if I have an accident?

Insurance premiums usually increase after an at-fault accident. However, some policies offer coverage that may protect your driving record after an at-fault accident. It is best to speak with your broker to find out if your insurer offers this type of protection and what restrictions may apply.

Q: Do I need insurance while my car is in storage?

Yes. Comprehensive coverage is required for damage caused by perils such as fire, theft, vandalism, or windstorm while the vehicle is in storage. You can reduce your auto coverage to comprehensive coverage only while in storage, so that you are not paying for the mandatory road coverages while the vehicle is not in use.