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5 Practical Questions To Ask When Renewing Your Auto Insurance

Basic Ontario coverage is bare-bones and you want to really think about what you might need in the case of an injury.

Right after you’ve had an accident is not the ideal time to brush up on your auto insurance coverages.

If you ask most people on the street, they have no idea what they’re entitled to and what they’ve paid for. That’s a mistake that could cost you.

That’s why, when your policy comes up for renewal, you must take the time to chat with your broker or agent to confirm your coverage, limitations, deductibles and changes to legislation that could affect you in the case of a motor vehicle accident (MVA).

The legislation surrounding motor vehicle insurance in Ontario changes regularly, most specifically in the area of Accident Benefits (the benefits payable in the case of an injury sustained in an MVA).

Your broker should be detailing what you are entitled to and what those coverages will cost, and here is a general outline of the categories you need to have in mind when discussing your renewal:

1. Compensation For Catastrophic Impairment

In this area, you should consider, for a few dollars a year, a family protection endorsement.

This is best explained with an example:

If you were hit by someone else who only had minimal liability coverage—$200k, for example— and no personal net worth, suing them would be pointless. However, with a family protection endorsement, you could sue your own company for the difference in expenses between what you can get from the other person’s insurance and the coverage you have (which can go up to $2 million or greater).

Rehabilitation is expensive. Attendant care, if you need it, is expensive. This endorsement is a protection for you against the financially unrealistic basic coverage that is available to drivers in Ontario.

2. Maximum Weekly Income Replacement Benefits

In Ontario, Income replacement benefits, which are payable if you can’t work following an MVA, are capped.

At the time of this writing, they are set at 70% of your gross income, capped at $400 / week.

If you make $65,000 / year (or $1250 / week), the 70% amounts to $875 / week, yet the cap falls woefully short at only $400 / week.

If you were unable to work for an extended period of time, this could quickly become a problem for you and your family. The good news is that you can pay extra to extend that cap to $1000 / week.

Auto insurance rates in Ontario are among the highest in North America, but this is one area where it’s worth the investment.

3. Increasing The Limits Out Of Minor Injury Guideline

Under Accident Benefits, if your injury falls within the definition of the Minor Injury Guidelines (MIG), you are only entitled to up to $3500 of rehabilitation benefits (and no attendant care benefits at all).

The MIG definition includes things like sprains, strains, minor whiplash, cuts and bruises.

If you have an injury that falls outside of the Minor Injury Guidelines but is not catastrophic, you have higher compensation limits for rehabilitation and access to attendant care.

One of the things you can do is buy increased limits for these two categories, which not only extend your limits but will allow you to obtain more rehabilitation benefits if you need them according to a medical assessment.

4. Increasing Your Liability Coverage

If you are at fault for an accident, your typical liability coverage is $1 million. It sounds like a lot, but in this day and age, a million dollars doesn’t reflect the reality of what kind of judgement could be handed against you.

If you have a high personal net worth, and the person you hit can’t get more than a million from your insurance company, they might come after you personally.

If you increase your coverage ceiling to $2 million or more, you can better protect your assets, all for a couple of dollars a year.

5. Let This Guide Your Questions When You Talk To Your Insurance Provider

THIS INFORMATION MIGHT CHANGE. If you are reading this and it’s been awhile since it was posted, they probably already have.

That’s why your best bet is always to sit down with your broker and find out what you have and don’t have in terms of coverages. And ask lots of questions. If the answers are not crystal clear, don’t be shy about asking them to clarify until you’re 100% on the same page.

Less coverage does equal lower premiums, but there’s always a cost, particularly if you end up having a car accident and suffering injuries.

Source: derekwilsonlaw.ca

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The fog is coming! How to drive safe in fog.

We should all be used to driving in the fog, especially because we’ve experienced this since we can remember. I was a little annoyed by what I saw though. Drivers were driving as if their visibility was normal. Why would they do this? Do you wonder if they were thinking about what could have been in front of them?

Since the fog was very thick, I had to reduce my speed. I couldn’t risk driving fast since I couldn’t see too far ahead of my vehicle. I even changed my route because of the fog. I would have normally taken the freeway, but decided to drive through the city. Driving through the city allowed me to drive at a much slower speed without putting myself or my passengers at risk. How risky would it have been to drive at 50 km/h on a 90 km/h zone? Logic was playing this time.

I remember hearing in the media how there have been what’s been called a “fatal fog crash”. There were multiple of vehicles involved in these crashes. Part of the problem is having drivers waiting until they see brake lights before they hit their brakes. This can be far too late and won’t give your enough time to stop. Since the fog has reduced your visibility, driving at those high speeds can’t happen. There are times that you just can’t drive at freeway speeds. If you can’t drive at freeway speeds, you can’t drive on the freeway.

The vehicle I have also has fog lights. My wife and I chose this vehicle for a few reasons and fog lights was one of them. Using fog lights will make it easier for me to see the road surface since the fog sits just above the road. I don’t want to see the fog; I want to see the road. I need to see debris on the road and lane markings. I also want to see the traffic ahead of me, so any advantage I can get is to my favour.

For years we’ve been told about not using high beam headlights when driving in the fog. There are a variety of problems with this, if the driver was paying attention. First; all they would see with their high beams on is a blanket of white in front of them. The lights reflect off the fog; which are droplets of water. Just what were they expecting to see with their high beams on? The other problem is that their high beams would distract the oncoming drivers. This is an added problem and also illegal. If these drivers drove with common sense, they would use low beam headlights in the fog.

The bottom line is to think clearly when you drive. Oh, and seeing clearly is also helpful!

Source: thesafedriver.ca

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Spring Is Here! Are You Still Getting The Best Rate On Your Car Insurance?

Time to check in to see if you're still getting the best car insurance rate

A change in season is the ideal reminder to take a few quick minutes to see if you're still getting the best car insurance rate out there. And, now that spring has officially sprung it's time to see if you could spring into some savings on your car insurance.

Why? Well, a lot can happen in a season. Not only does the season change but car insurance rates change (more than you may think) and a lot can happen to you personally in the space of one season that can impact your car insurance rates:

  • Your policy comes up for renewal. There's no better time to see if a cheaper car insurance premium can be found.
  • You get married. Depending on your spouse's driving history, you may find that the company that provided you the best rate as a single person may not be the same company that provides you the best rate as a couple.
  • You move. Where you live factors into what you pay, and chances are your premiums will change when you move. Make sure you're getting the best deal at your new address, and compare rates once you're settled in.
  • You buy a new car. New or used, what you park in your driveway is one of the key factors in calculating your car insurance rate. Cars that are more likely to be stolen or cost more to repair or replace, for example, may be more expensive to insure. So when shopping for a new car, keep in mind to shop for insurance too.
  • Your teen gets their driver's license. Some insurers are more teen friendly, and if you have a new driver in your household it's worth checking to see if another insurer will give you a better rate.
  • You get a ticket or are involved in an at fault accident. Accidents and tickets happen to even the best drivers. If your rates have gone up as a result, don't give up. Despite not having a flawless record, some insurance companies are more forgiving than others.
  • You change jobs or retire. When your daily commute changes, your insurance could change as well.

Where you drive and how much daily driving you do can impact your insurance. Shop around for a new cheaper premium.

Since the season is changing, see if it might be time to change insurance providers too for a lower car insurance premium. InsuranceTrader.ca shops the market for you. No one else covers as much of the market as we do, and we make it quicker and easier for you to get quotes and your coverage from the top providers all in one place. Compare car insurance quotes today for a better price.

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TOP 10 BEST SUV'S FOR GAS MILEAGE AND FUEL EFFICIENCY

If you're in the market to buy a SUV or crossover, there's more to consider than just the sticker price; there's auto insurance (of course) and gas too. Let's start with how much you can expect to spend on gas each year behind the wheel of one of Canada's top-selling SUVs.

1. Toyota RAV4
Expect to spend in the range of $1,339 to $1,767 per year for fuel.

2. Ford Escape
Expect to spend in the range of $1,655 to $1,897 per year for fuel. Some models, however, run on an ethanol-gasoline blend (E85) and fuel pricing for these models is not available.

3. Honda CR-V
Expect to spend in the range of $1,265 to $1,600 per year for fuel.

4. Nissan Rogue
Expect to spend in the range of $1,265 to $1,600 per year for fuel.

5. Jeep Cherokee
Expect to spend in the range of $1,767 to $2,158 per year for fuel. Some models, however, run on an ethanol-gasoline blend (E85) and fuel pricing for these models is not available.

6. Mazda CX-5

Expect to spend in the range of $1,488 to $1,674 per year for fuel.

7. Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Expect to spend in the range of $1,860 to $2,139 per year for fuel.

8. Hyundai Tucson
Expect to spend in the range of $1,674 to $1,897 per year for fuel.

9. Ford Edge
Expect to spend in the range of $1,823 to $2,251 per year for fuel.

10. Chevrolet Equinox
Expect to spend in the range of $1,693 to $2,418 per year for fuel. Some models, however, run on an ethanol-gasoline blend (E85) and fuel pricing for these models is not available.

Best-Selling SUVs In Canada: Auto Insurance

Knowing how much you'll spend a year on gas is important, but knowing how much you'll spend a year on auto insurance is important too. In fact, depending on the vehicle and your driving details, you could spend as much, if not more on auto insurance than gas each year; so budgeting for one and not the other won't prepare you for the costs of owning a SUV.

If you know which SUV you'll be buying, compare quotes at InsuranceTrader.ca to ensure you are getting the best price for your insurance coverage. We shop the market to help you get the lowest auto insurance rate.

But, what happens if there are a several SUVs that have made your short list and you need help narrowing them down? Rates can vary significantly depending on the vehicle you drive, and may influence your purchase decision. We can help you on this front as well. If there are several SUVs that have caught your eye, you can easily compare quotes!

Choosing a new vehicle to buy can be complicated; let us help you make your purchase decision easier.

Call today at 1-800-661-1518 and let one of our dedicated sales representatives help you make your purchase decision easier!

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Driver Safety Tips for Daylight Savings

Don’t forget to spring forward March 12th at 2 a.m.

Spring is just around the corner! The proof? On Sunday March 12th, we spring forward one hour into Daylight Saving Time. That’s the good news. The bad news is that we’ll lose an hour of sleep.

Losing an hour of sleep can be tough on the body, but there are ways you can mitigate the impact, or avoid it altogether:

Go to bed early the days leading up to the time change

Start going to bed early, about 15 minutes each night, leading up to the change in clocks. It will give your body a chance to acclimatize sooner.

Adjust the timing of your other daily routines

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that in addition to going to bed early, you should also adjust daily routines that are “time cues” for your body. For example, eating dinner a touch earlier each evening.

Spring forward in the early evening on Saturday

Set your clocks to spring forward early Saturday evening, then go to sleep at your “regular” bedtime. By doing so, you’re basically spring forwarding your sleep one night earlier. Stick to your normal bedtime on Sunday too.

Get some Vitamin D

Try to catch some rays in the early morning sunlight on Sunday.

Work from home

If you have the option to work from home, this is the ideal day (or two) to take advantage of it to steer clear of the commute. That way, you can avoid other drivers who might be feeling the effects of lack of sleep.

Don’t drive distracted

Always important—no matter what time of year—but worth the reminder: don’t drive distracted. Turn the radio down, drink your coffee at the office (or at home), don’t take breakfast or your afternoon snack to go, and save the call (even if it is hands-free) for later.

Bring your sunglasses along for the ride

The shift in time may mean that you’re now driving home while the day is still bright. Make sure you’ve got a pair of sunglasses in the car.

Time changes just like your auto insurance rates

Car insurance rates often change and the provider who offered you the best premium last year, may no longer offer you the best deal on car insurance this year. Make sure you’re not overpaying for your car insurance and compare rates today.

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Student Safety and Liability of Institutions of Higher Education

The extent to which universities are liable for student safety is an issue that has undergone drastic change in recent decades. Since universities could potentially be liable for harm to students due to negligence, it is crucial to acknowledge risks and to take steps to prevent litigation.

Recent Court Decisions

The area in tort liability that is of most concern for institutions of higher education is negligence. Common cases in which institutions of higher education have been found responsible for harm to students due to negligence include the following types of circumstances:

  • When a potentially dangerous physical condition exists (such as faulty locks on dorms) and repairs are not made
  • When universities know about and address in policy statements a prevailing dangerous student practice (such as hazing in pledge initiations) but do not make reasonable effort to stop or limit such practices
  • Officials are aware of a specific dangerous activity where injury results, but do not take reasonable steps to limit the possibility of foreseeable danger
Some universities could potentially be held liable for harm to students due to negligence. It is crucial to acknowledge risk and take steps to prevent litigation

Risk Management to Prevent Liability

Being proactive about student safety is one of the best ways an institution of higher education can protect itself against lawsuits, especially where there is a recognized risk. If you have taken steps to protect students from harm, it is important that you are continually proactive about protecting them from this harm to prevent claims of negligence. For example, fences around a campus could represent a voluntary assumption of duty to protect students from intruders.

Policies prohibiting certain student behaviours could represent your assumption of duty to proactively police these behaviours—and if you don’t, you could be held liable for injuries that result. Understanding the risks that exist for your students and taking action to protect them will not only promote a safe and happy campus; it will protect you from costly litigation.

Transferring Risk with Insurance

In addition to taking proactive steps, a general liability insurance policy provides coverage for claims of bodily injury and property damage arising from negligent actions. It is important to understand exclusions to coverage, which might include:

  • Expected or intended injury
  • The business of selling, serving or furnishing alcohol

Contact Us Today

At Dan Lawrie Insurance Brokers , we can help you identify possible liability exposures and formulate effective prevention plans.

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Understanding Condo Insurance and the Risks Condo Owners Face

Condo InsuranceIf you own a condominium, determining your insurance needs requires a little background research. Typically, your condo association has a master policy that insures all of the property and common areas that are collectively owned by the unit owners. But how do you cover the cost of damage caused by a kitchen fire or theft of your personal items? Condo insurance is necessary for the personal belongings in your condo and any parts of your condo that aren’t covered under your condo association’s insurance policy.

When selecting condo coverage, it’s important to determine what is covered by your association’s master policy and what items are your responsibility.

Types of Condominium Master Policies

Your condominium association has likely purchased one of two types of condominium master policies: a bare walls-in policy or an all-in policy. The bare walls-in policy is the most common type of master policy purchased by condominium associations. This policy covers all property inside the structure of the building, excluding your personal belongings. Fixtures and other installations in your unit may also be excluded. This means your hardwood floors and granite countertops might not be covered. If the master policy for your condominium is a bare walls-in policy, it is crucial that you determine which items are excluded and obtain your own coverage for those items. 

If your condominium association has purchased an all-in policy, the fixtures and installations in your unit are covered, along with all of the property inside the structure of the building, excluding your personal belongings. In this case, you would only be responsible for obtaining coverage for your personal belongings. 

Ask the following questions to determine what is included and excluded in your condominium association’s master policy:

  • Is the master policy a bare walls-in policy or an all-in policy?
  • Are any fixtures, installations or other items excluded on the master policy?

Master Policy Deductible

Like any insurance policy, your condominium’s master policy will have a deductible. When a claim is filed, the condominium association will be responsible for paying the deductible before coverage kicks in. It’s important to read your condominium by-laws to determine your responsibility in the event of a claim on the condo’s master policy. Many times, individual condo owners are responsible for paying a percentage of the deductible. In the past, master policy deductibles have commonly hovered around $5,000, but, recently, deductibles in some regions have reached upwards of $50,000. Two issues arise for individual unit owners when master policy deductibles are high:

  • Paying a percentage of a large deductible can be expensive.
  • The insurance association may choose not to file a claim if the deductible amount will not be reached.

It is imperative that you ask for a copy of the association’s insurance agreement before purchasing your unit, so that you are aware of your responsibilities and the amount you need to pay for the association deductible. Ask these questions to learn more about the deductible on your condominium’s master policy and how it will impact you:

  • What is the deductible on the master policy?
  • How are individual unit owners responsible for damage to areas covered by the master policy?
  • If a claim is filed on the master policy, are individual unit owners responsible for paying a portion of the deductible? If so, how much?

Determine the Amount of Property Protection You Need

After you’ve determined what’s covered by the association’s master policy, a personal condominium policy will help to safeguard you from losses to your personal property and the interior of your unit. Calculating the value of your belongings can be difficult, but these three easy steps will help you.

  1. Create extensive records of your possessions. It is recommended that you take close-up, wide-shot pictures of individual belongings. Then make an item-by-item list so that, if necessary, you can quickly skim it to see what items are documented in the photos. Some people find it easier to keep their lists of belongings grouped according to the rooms they are located in.

    Others group their belongings by item type, such as jewellery, artwork, books, furniture, etc. However you decide to record your possessions, it’s a good idea to store the information in at least two different places. Consider keeping a hard copy of all of your lists and photos in your office at work and also saving them to a folder on your computer.
  2. Learn the difference between policies that provide “actual cash value” and “replacement value.” With “actual cash value,” once an item is lost, you’ll receive the current, depreciated value of the item. If your policy provides you with the “replacement value,” you’ll receive the amount it costs to replace the item at its pre-loss condition with another item of comparable value.
  3. Do your research. Even though your kitchen table may have cost you $500 when you first bought it, a comparable new one could cost you double that amount, so that’s the amount you want to be covered for. Check out websites and local furniture stores to see what comparable prices are.

Determine the Amount of Liability Protection You Need

In addition to your belongings, the liability portion of your policy covers you against lawsuits for bodily injury or property damage that you or a family member - and, in some cases, a pet - causes to other people. It pays for both the cost of litigation and any court awards, up to the limit of your policy, and covers you at home or away. 

It is important that you have adequate liability coverage, so if you require more protection than is provided under regular policy limits, consider an umbrella policy, which provides broader coverage when liability limits are exhausted in underlying policies.

Additional Coverages to Consider

There are a lot of different additional coverage options to consider, like unit assessment coverage, sewer backup and flood or earthquake coverage. Talk to Dan Lawrie Insurance Brokers to determine your best options. 

Make sure to set aside some time each year to review your policy and ensure that the limits and coverage you have selected are right for you. Evaluate your needs based on your provincial regulations, the value of your condo and personal belongings, the money you have in savings and the amount of risk you feel comfortable taking. Then, make sure to read the entire insuring agreement - especially the exclusions - to guarantee that you are covered in every situation that is necessary for your lifestyle. 

If you have questions about your condo insurance policy, contact us today.

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Prevent Motorcycle Theft

Prevent Motorcycle TheftDid You Know?

Since motorcycles are easily accessible, they are highly prone to theft. If you like to hit the open road on two wheels, be mindful of these theft prevention guidelines to avoid having your bike taken.

  • When you get off your bike, shut off the ignition and then lock it.
  • Lock the forks (disk brakes). Purchase locks that are brightly coloured to discourage potential thieves.
  • Lock multiple motorcycles together if you are travelling in a pack.
  • If you are riding alone, lock your motorcycle to a stationary object that cannot be dismantled such as a light pole.
  • Install an alarm on your bike that sounds when it is tampered with.
  • Check on your bike periodically when you are at a public event, especially shortly after you arrive.
  • Park your bike in front of a security camera or close to your room, when staying at a hotel for the evening.
  • Store the title for your motorcycle in your home; not in the compartments or saddlebags on your bike.
  • Mark your bike with a unique symbol or mark and take photographs of that. If your motorcycle is stolen, you can present this information to the police.
  • Always keep your motorcycle registration and insurance information with you when riding.

Helpful Hints Motorcycle thieves may try and steal your bike when you are putting it up for sale. When potential buyers come to test drive your bike:

  • Withhold the title until you have conducted a background check on the potential buyer and his/her payment has cleared.
  • Verify the buyer’s personal information and cross reference it with their identification.
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Risks of Lowering Your Auto Coverage

Dropping some of your coverage—like comprehensive or collision—to the lowest legal level can cut your premium, but it could also put you at serious risk.

Determining Which Coverage You Need

An automobile insurance policy is designed to provide you with a level of protection against property, liability and medical costs if you are involved in an accident.

  • Property coverage pays for damage to or theft of your car.
  • Liability coverage pays for your legal responsibility to others for bodily injury or property damage.
  • Medical coverage pays for the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation and sometimes lost wages and funeral expenses.
  • Underinsured motorists coverage pays for property damage and bodily injury caused by another driver whose coverage is insufficient to cover damages suffered.

Selecting the correct liability limits is fundamental. 100/300/50 means you are covered for up to $100,000 in bodily injury coverage per person, $300,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident and $50,000 in property damage per accident.

Collison Insurance – Know the Value of Your Car 

Your policy will not pay for repairs that exceed the value of your vehicle. For this reason, if you are driving a vehicle that isn’t worth more than a few thousand dollars, it may not make sense to purchase collision coverage. Dan Lawrie Insurance Brokers can help you determine whether or not collision insurance makes sense for you. 

We’re Here to Help 

Accidents happen to cautious drivers, too, and having adequate insurance can save you from serious financial burden should one happen to you. 

Top Ways to Save on Your Auto Premium:

  • Consider raising your deductible.
  • Keep up your good driving record.
  • Drive a car with safety features such as anti-lock brakes and airbags.
  • Install an anti-theft device.
  • Ask about our multi-policy discounts.

We can help you determine which automobile insurance coverage is needed and what limits to buy. Contact Dan Lawrie Insurance Brokers at 800-661-1518 today to discuss your options.

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Choosing Tires for Winter Driving

Winter driving can be challenging for even the most experienced drivers, but winter tires can make your car easier to handle and safer to drive in hazardous conditions.

All-season Tires

All-season tires, also called mud and snow (M+S) tires, are a safe option if you only encounter winter conditions on a limited basis and if you’re prepared to drive with caution. While all-season tires are built to handle a variety of road conditions, they can harden in low temperatures. When the tires harden, there is less traction between your tires and the road, meaning you may slip and slide more.

Winter Tires

If you encounter winter conditions regularly, you may want to consider investing in winter tires, which offer a higher level of traction. Winter tires have special rubber compounds that stay pliable in the cold, giving you more traction and improved braking. When shopping for winter tires, look for the mountain and snowflake symbols on the sidewall of the tire.

If you purchase winter tires, be sure to switch back to your regular tires come springtime. When used in warm weather, the rubber in winter tires can wear out faster than the rubber in all-season tires. Also, regardless of the type of tire you choose, you should always install them in sets of four.

 

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