Numerous factors contribute to the cost of your insurance, many of them beyond consumer control (for more information about these factors, please contact your insurance broker). However, as a consumer, you can exercise some control over your insurance costs by minimizing the chance that you will have to make a claim.
Of course, no one sets out to raise his or her own rates by having an accident or experiencing a burglary. However, sometimes these unpleasant experiences are the result of a lack of knowledge or planning. Applying the following tips as relevant to your situation will reduce your risk of becoming an accident or crime victim.
Note that more information on some of the topics discussed below may be available from other organizations included on our links page.
Click on the orange boxes to open the drawers and view the tips.
Although you cannot ensure your vehicle will not be stolen, you can take a few easy steps to prevent the likelihood of it happening. Make it as difficult as possible for a thief to steal your vehicle and its contents.
For more information that will help you avoid having your car broken into or stolen, please contact the appropriate industry organization in your area.
Read your vehicle owner's manual to understand its maintenance needs.
Maintaining your vehicle according to the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule will go a long way toward extending the life of your vehicle, and minor problems will be spotted before they turn into major repairs.
Have your vehicle checked by a qualified mechanic whenever you notice a change in braking or handling. Consider taking a recognized driver safety course.
Your brakes are obviously one of the most important components of your automobile. Proper care and regular maintenance is essential to protect both yourself and others from the potential harm caused by faulty brakes. Some signs that your brakes may be failing or require maintenance include:
It is important to install a child's restraint seat properly in order for it to be effective. Read the manufacturer's installation instructions thoroughly Many police departments have programs to help with proper installation.
For tips and information regarding child seat safety, please contact Transport Canada.
Road safety is an important issue especially on today's crowded roadways. For statistics and information regarding road safety and its impact on social and medical costs, please contact Transport Canada.
Airbags have been the topic of much discussion since becoming a standard feature of newer automobiles. For information and guidelines pertaining to their use and for a discussion of safety issues with respect to airbags, please contact the following organizations: Transport Canada, the Canada Safety Council, and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
Drinking and driving results in serious injuries and loss of life on our roadways. The following organizations can provide statistics and information pertaining to drinking and driving: Transport Canada and the Canada Safety Council.
Cell phones can be valuable equipment in a car when you need to call for assistance. However, they can also be a distraction if they are used while driving, and many jurisdictions have restrictions on cell phone use while driving.
For safety's sake, don't use your cell phone while driving. If you need to make a call, pull over away from traffic.
Canadians know that winter driving can be treacherous at the best of times. The following organizations can provide tips and information to help you prepare yourself and your vehicle for safe winter driving: Canada Safety Council and Transport Canada.
Being involved in an accident can be a very stressful event. To help you protect both yourself and your interests, we have provided some basic hints:
These tips are general rules of thumb only, and may not fit all situations. For the definitive word, contact your insurance broker.
Are you a safe driver? Why not test your skill and knowledge by taking one of the safe driving quizzes provided by the Canada Safety Council.
Ensure that all exterior doors have deadbolt locks with a minimum one inch bolt into the strike plate.
Secure exposed exterior door hinge pins to prevent their removal.
Protect all grade floor glass through the use of bars, metal screens or burglary resistant glazing materials.
Install a burglar alarm system that is monitored offsite. Look for a system certified by the Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC).
Continually check for unsafe work conditions and practices, and take prompt corrective action.
Provide serviced, multi-purpose fire extinguishers on your premises and instruct all staff in their use.
Clamp or lock PCs to desks/work stations. Security kits are available at a nominal cost.
Back-up data and programs on a regular basis and store them offsite in a secure location.
Laptop computers are portable and easy targets for theft. Do not leave them unsecured or unattended.
Maintain records of serial numbers for all of your computer equipment.
Employ the services of a professional accountant to:
Focus on pre-job and pre-task planning. The principle of planning the work and working the plan should be followed.
All tools and equipment should be kept in a locked area at all times when not in use.
All tools should be stamped with an identification number to assist in recovery. Tools should be painted with bright, easily recognizable colours to assist their easy identification.
Any onsite storage of materials should be in a secure storage area. Where the materials are considered a high target, they should be kept inside a building in a locked area or brought to the site only when they are needed.
Warning signs should be posted limiting access and indicating the safety equipment required to gain entry.
All electrical cords that pass through pedestrian areas should be secured so that tripping is avoided.
All mud or water on public traffic areas should be cleaned regularly.
The local utilities should be contacted to locate underground services in the event that any excavations are to be performed.
All flammable liquids used should be stored in approved safety containers.
All hotwork should be controlled. Combustibles should be removed at least 11 metres from the hotwork. If this is not possible non-combustible shields should be used. A fire watch should be provided for at least a half-hour after the hotwork is completed. All hotwork permit regulations must be followed.
All combustible refuse created during the work should be cleaned up regularly. Oily rags should be separated and stored in metal containers with tight fitting lids.
Fire extinguishers of the appropriate type should be available at all times.
Certificates of liability should be obtained from all subcontractors to ensure they are maintaining adequate liability coverage.
All new equipment should be tested and inspected when the work is completed. Customers should sign off the job once complete.
Ensure that the project complies with all applicable codes and standards.
Records of all jobs including plans, testing documents and approvals should be maintained.
Avoid overloading of electrical outlets, particularly in older buildings equipped with fuses instead of circuit breakers.
If existing electrical service is inadequate, ensure that any required electrical modifications are done by a professional electrician.
Ensure that life and safety features such as fire alarms, exit signs and emergency lights are operational and serviced as per applicable fire code specifications.
Clean all spills or wet floors immediately, post signs warning of wet or damp floors and check floor surfaces for potential hazards on a regular basis. Non-slip rugs should be used during the winter months.
Be SELECTIVE when hiring drivers for your vehicles by obtaining pre-employment checks on all employees. Your vehicles should be suitable for the type of work you do and the relative experience of your drivers. A safety conscious driver, with a clean driving and operating record, is the key to reducing the risk of personal injury to the driver and passengers as well as any damage or injury to others.
Drivers should NEVER pick up hitchhikers or allow anyone who is not authorized by the OWNER, to ride in the vehicle.
Proper MAINTENANCE improves road safety and should be completed by experienced and qualified mechanics. Regular maintenance schedules and records should be kept to prevent accidents caused by unexpected mechanical failures.
Inspect your vehicle every day against a standardized checklist. Keep your vehicle equipped with a flashlight, good spare tire, jack and flares in case of emergencies.
Proper USE of vehicles extends their life as well as prevents damage to the property of others. Drive on well-maintained and well-travelled roads. Travel at speeds that are not in excess of the posted speed limit. Properly secured loads prevent your load from spilling on the roadways causing damage to others. Improper loading or overloading leads to load shift and/or upset or rollover. Vehicles should only be used for their intended purpose.
Always lock your vehicle and take the keys with you, even if it is only for a few minutes.
Never leave the engine running while your vehicle is unattended.
Safeguard your keys - NEVER keep your vehicle keys or business keys on the same key ring and NEVER attach identification tags to them.
Valuable items exposed to view are an invitation to thieves, e.g. log books, delivery schedules, cash, cheques. Drivers should NEVER reveal the contents of their vehicles, their loads, their destination or leave their loads unattended.
Deliveries should not be made unless the receiving party signs for them.
Parking in well-lit areas is important for personal safety and for the protection of your vehicle and cargo. Keep your vehicle in a locked garage or protected location when not in use.
Choose your anti-theft devices carefully. There are many types of anti-theft devices available to protect your vehicle and cargo. Choose the mechanical device, alarm or electronic immobilizer that is best suited to protect your vehicle and cargo.
Establish, post and strictly enforce a rule forbidding customers from entering the service bay area. By establishing a clean, safe waiting area for customers, you will significantly reduce the possibility of "slip and fall" types of losses. An added benefit is that customers will not disturb your mechanics while they are working on vehicles.
Ensure that you always get signed customer work orders that outline the authorized repairs. This will eliminate any disputes as to the work that was authorized by the customer.
When preparing a customer's work order, all completed repairs should be listed along with all recommended repairs declined by the customer; the customer should sign-off the work order. Including declined recommendations in the work order could protect you from a potential liability loss.
Make sure that the front, rear and interior of your business premises are well lit, particularly when closed for business.
When overnight storage of customers' vehicles is necessary, they should be stored inside if possible. If outside storage of vehicles is required on a regular basis, the area should be well lit, adequately fenced and padlocked overnight.
Establish a key control procedure with employees to limit access to customers' keys. Keys should be kept under lock, within your office premises. This will reduce the accessibility of keys to potential thieves and vandals, reducing the possibility of customers' vehicles being stolen or vandalized.
Limit the amount of cash in the till by using a safe or money-limiting device. Make regular bank deposits, varying the time of deposits and the route taken.
Ensure that you maintain accurate inventory records for all stock, including tools, automobile parts and miscellaneous retail items. In the event of a theft loss, accurate records will make it easier for the insurance adjuster to settle your claim fairly, quickly and equitably.
Obtain driver abstracts for all employees on a regular basis. This will help you to determine which employees should be test-driving customers' vehicles.
Establish guidelines for employees as to when and who is permitted to test drive customers' vehicles.
Ensure that test drives follow a predetermined route, in areas that have relatively light vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This can significantly reduce your chance of suffering a loss with a customer's vehicle.
Never store combustible material such as cardboard or paper near heaters or electrical equipment and remove combustible waste on a regular basis.
In sprinklered buildings, keep stock more than 18 inches below the sprinkler heads, so as not to interfere with the system's effectiveness in the event of a fire.
Avoid overloading electrical outlets, particularly in older buildings equipped with fuses instead of circuit breakers.
Keep all of your stock off the floor, stored on skids, shelves, or racks.
Make sure the front, rear and interior of your business premises are well lit, particularly when closed for business.
Arrange the interior layout of the store so that the till area is clearly visible from the exterior of the building.
Limit the amount of cash in the till by using a safe or money-limiting device.
If your store is open long hours, consider the installation of closed circuit television cameras and hold-up alarms.
Make regular bank deposits, but vary the timing of the deposits and the route taken.
Install anti-shoplifting devices and surveillance equipment or keep high priced merchandise under lock and key in display cases.
Ensure that life and safety features such as fire alarms, exit signs and emergency lights are operational and serviced as per applicable fire code specifications.
Do not block exits with stock or equipment. Ensure that all exit doors are unlocked during store hours.
Inspect the interior of your premises on a regular basis for unsafe conditions that could lead to a slip & fall loss. Maintain a daily log of when the inspection was done, what conditions were noted and what corrective action was taken.
Floors should be kept clean and in good repair at all times, with loose or defective flooring being replaced immediately.
Ensure that aisles are kept clear and free of fallen merchandise or stock. (e.g. fruit, vegetables, clothes etc.)
During periods of inclement weather, all entrances should have mats or rugs to help keep the floor clean and dry. Damaged mats should be replaced as soon as possible.
Non-slip wax should be used on floor surfaces, where required.
Water and other spills should be mopped up immediately and a Caution-Wet Floor sign should be posted.
For surfaces that are consistently slippery, specialized non-slip epoxy coatings or non-skid flooring materials may be used.
For spills involving oil or other industrial materials, absorbent, non-combustible cleaning materials should be used.
Ensure that all entranceways and aisles are clear of obstructions and/or promotional displays.
Inspect the exterior of your premises on a regular basis for unsafe conditions that could lead to a slip & fall loss. Maintain a daily log of when the inspection was done, what conditions were noted and what corrective action was taken.
Any damage to stairs, sidewalks and pavements should be repaired as soon as possible, with signs and barriers posted, until such time as repairs are completed.
A snow and ice removal program should be implemented and adhered to, with a single individual having responsibility for the program.
Have the appropriate equipment, tools and materials available for use by your staff, in the case of a weather related emergency e.g. shovels, salt, sand, etc.
Professional snow removal contractors should be contracted to plow, sand and salt your parking and walkway facilities. Ensure that the contractor keeps a comprehensive log of the work performed.
Clean gutters and downspouts and ensure that melted snow/ice is directed away from sidewalks and walkways. Check that exterior lighting is adequate and check on a regular basis for malfunctioning light fixtures.
Establish and maintain a daily garbage removal program, whereby the walkways and sidewalks are swept and the debris removed on a regular basis.
Burglary is always a crime of opportunity. Here are some interesting facts you should know about burglary:
To best protect your home, look at it from a burglar's perspective. What are the vulnerable parts? If you take a few simple and inexpensive steps to make sure your home is not an attractive target, you'll greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
The goal of indoor crime proofing is to secure your premises, and to make them appear occupied at all times. Here are a few simple tips:
There are many things you can do to the exterior of your house or in the yard to deter burglars and make it more difficult to force entry.
Don't put up a nameplate outside of your house with your full name. A burglar can use this information to look up your number in the phone book and call to see if you are home.
Don't leave a note on the door or in the mailbox telling a friend/family member that you aren't home.
Don't leave spare keys in an obvious place such as the mailbox or under the front door mat. This makes it very easy for a burglar to rob your house quickly without forcing entry.
Don't leave cash and handbags in view in your home.
Don't leave any doors unlocked when you are at the other end of the house or in the yard.
If you are going on vacation, it is especially important to make your home appear inhabited. To fully protect your home, you will need to enlist the help of trusted neighbours, family and friends. Here are some things you can do:
Note: Before you leave, you should tell someone you trust:
Despite your best efforts, a burglar may still penetrate your home. If you return to find that your house has been robbed: