Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve polled our employees for the most common questions that come across our desks. We hope this provides some quick answers to your questions, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for here, we’re a quick phone call or email away!
Auto Insurance FAQs
How do I report an auto claim?
You can report an auto claim by calling the claims number listed on your insurance “pink slip” or by calling us during regular business hours.
What is a reportable claim?
As part of the Ontario policy, you agree to inform us of any incident involving the automobile that must be reported to the police under the Highway Traffic Act or for which you intend to make a claim under the policy. The Highway Traffic Act of Ontario indicates that you must report any accident that involves an injury, and must report any accident in which the total damages to all vehicles and property is greater than $2,000. You must notify us within 7 days after the accident, or if unable, as soon as possible after that.
What details do I get at the scene of an accident?
After an accident, it is important for you to obtain complete information on the other party or parties involved. For example:
- all vehicle information
- license plate numbers
- all names, addresses, and phone numbers
- drivers license numbers for the other involved drivers
- the location of the accident, e.g. major intersections
- police information (if they attended the scene)
If the police have attended the scene, it is reasonable to assume that they will secure much of the above information. It is important that you get the officer’s name, badge number and report number so that we can get the police report.
What should I do if I get in an accident?
Accidents and mishaps are part of life. Being prepared can make the experience less frightening. Here are some helpful tips on what to do in case of an accident:
• Stay calm.
• Check for injuries and determine the extent of damage.
• If safe to do so, move your vehicle to the side of the road and turn on hazard lights.
• Do not admit fault or liability.
• Call 911 to report the accident and any injuries; ask if police presence is required (usually it’s not required if damage is estimated to be less than $2,000 and there are no injuries).
• If police presence is not required, go to a Collision Reporting Centre (if available in your area).
• Exchange information with other driver(s) including name, phone number, driver’s licence and plate number, as well as insurance information. Also
• Exchange contact information with any witnesses.
• Record accident details for your records (weather conditions, what each car was doing, etc.)
• Do not discuss your insurance limits or accept monetary compensation.
• Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible.
What coverage do I have for a rental vehicle?
If you have loss of use coverage, (Endorsement 20) on your policy, you are entitled to have a replacement vehicle similar to your vehicle, in the event of an accident. You will have the replacement vehicle, for the duration of the repairs or up to the limit of this coverage.
If you are “at fault” and do not have this endorsement, you would not have coverage for a rental vehicle.
If you are “not at fault” for an accident, and you do not carry this endorsement, you will have coverage for a rental vehicle, but this coverage can only be confirmed once the investigation is complete and fault has been determined in accordance with the Fault Determination Rules.
If your vehicle is considered safely drivable, a rental vehicle will be authorized only for the time period while the vehicle is out of service, meaning during the time that repairs are actually being conducted.
Will my insurance go up if make a claim?
The primary purpose of purchasing insurance protection is to be able to make a claim for a covered mishap when and if it occurs. It is true that an at-fault claim can result in an adjustment to your premium or coverage availability upon policy renewal. However, most insurance companies today offer an option to buy a claims protection endorsement that will waive the impact of your 1st accident on your insurance premium. Each insurance company has their own guidelines on the availability of this endorsement so ask your insurance broker if you qualify to purchase it.
Not-at-fault claims or comprehensive claims will not generally cause your insurance cost to rise but a frequency of this type of claim could result in higher deductibles or the withdrawal of optional coverage. Always contact your insurance broker to be clear on the impact of a claim on your auto insurance cost.
Traffic tickets will in most cases have some impact on your insurance cost. The severity and number of the tickets will be the determining factor on the amount of increase in your insurance cost. Serious violations can result in the non-renewal of your insurance policy. Most insurance companies will charge for traffic violations that have been registered on your driver’s license in the past 36 months from the date of your policy application or policy renewal.
Does the fire and theft coverage on my car also cover the contents of the car such as my suitcase?
No. The automobile policy provides coverage for the car and its equipment only. Contents in the car must be provided for on a property policy.
If I am injured in a friend's car, does my friend's automobile policy pay my medical bills?
The automobile insurance plan in Ontario provides a priority of payment rule. Under the priority, you would claim medical bills from your own automobile insurance policy first. If you don’t have an automobile policy, you would then claim from the insurer of the car you were in at the time of the injury.
Can I buy "replacement cost" coverage on my new car?
Yes. The automobile policy has a “waiver of depreciation” coverage available. This coverage would remove the right to deduct depreciation from the value of your automobile when settling a claim for loss or damage. (Tires and batteries are excluded.) The coverage can be purchased over the basic policy and is available for 24 months from the date you purchased your “new” vehicle.
Does my automobile policy provide coverage for a rental car if my car is damaged in an accident or if it is stolen?
If the vehicle has been stolen, the basic automobile policy in Ontario provides coverage for loss of use if the policy includes theft coverage either under the “comprehensive” coverage or under “specified perils” coverage. In the event of an accident for which you are responsible, the basic automobile policy doesn’t provide any coverage for loss of use. A “Loss of Use” endorsement is available that provides coverage for the rental of a substitute vehicle if the insured vehicle cannot be used due to damage as a result of an automobile accident. If your vehicle is damaged through the fault of another party insured under the Ontario automobile insurance policy, rental coverage may be provided under your “direct compensation” coverage.
Is there any coverage under my automobile insurance policy for loss of income if I cannot work due to injuries sustained in an automobile accident?
Yes. The Ontario automobile policy has an extensive coverage section that deals with loss of income. The amounts payable are set out in the policy and if you have any questions regarding the adequacy of your coverage in this regard you should discuss this with your insurance broker.
To determine if you have a need for optional accident benefits, you may want to consider the following:
• Do you have collateral benefits through your employer or a private plan?
• Does 70% of your gross weekly income exceed $400/week?
• Do you have someone who could assist you with housekeeping and home maintenance duties if you were injured in an automobile accident, or would you have to pay someone?
• Do you provide full-time care to dependents? If so, and you were unable to do so as a result of an automobile accident, do you have someone who could assist you or would you have to pay someone?
If I retire, should I get a lower premium?
Our rates, like most other companies, include lower rates if you are not driving to work and further discounts for seniors and retired persons.
What is “Collision” coverage?
Collision coverage covers accidental loss or the cost of repairing your vehicle if involved in a collision with another object or rolls over. Collision coverage is optional but usually required if your vehicle is financed or leased. There a deductible amount indicated and this amount is either paid by you, toward the cost of repairs or is deducted from the loss settlement. A higher deductible will lower your insurance premium.
What is “Comprehensive” coverage?
Comprehensive coverage covers the cost of repairing your vehicle if damaged by fire; theft; attempted theft; vandalism; lightning; windstorm; hail or rising water; earthquake; explosion; riot or civil disturbance; falling or flying objects and missiles. Comprehensive coverage is optional to purchase but usually required if your vehicle is financed or leased. There is usually a deductible amount indicated and this amount is either paid by you, toward the cost of repairs or is deducted from the loss settlement. A higher deductible lowers your insurance premium.
If I loan my car to a friend, does my insurance provide coverage?
Yes. The automobile policy provides coverage for all licensed drivers that are operating your vehicle with your permission. However, if the driver is using your vehicle frequently, you should inform your broker and he or she will determine if your policy should be modified.
I have heard that Ontario has a "No Fault Automatic Insurance System". Does this mean that accidents don't affect automobile insurance rates?
No. The term “no fault” refers to a system under which each insurer pays for the damages to its own client’s vehicles and it also means that there is limited recourse to compensation for damages through litigation in our court system. However, in every accident, “fault” or negligence is assessed and the party that is deemed to be responsible will have the accident shown against their policy. This may or may not result in an increase in premium dependent upon the rate structure and discounts that were applicable before the accident.
When my child gets his or her G1 level license, do I have to call my broker?
Yes. Your child should be added to your automobile policy as soon as he or she receives a G1 class license. There is no charge for the initial class license; however, a charge will be made on the policy when G2 class is achieved.
If I start to use my vehicle for any business pursuits, should I inform my broker?
Yes. The rating on an automobile policy is based upon the usage. If a vehicle is being used for commercial purposes, your broker must ensure that the coverage provided and the rate structure being used is proper considering your new usage.
How can I lower my automobile insurance premium?
• Increase your deductible for Collision Coverage
• Increase your deductible for Comprehensive Coverage
• Advise your insurance broker when you change how you use your vehicle
• Advise your insurance broker when you change jobs as the distance you drive to work can impact your insurance cost
• Regularly review your policy coverage with your insurance broker to ensure you are getting the best value for your insurance dollar.
• Maximize available discounts by combining all your insurance needs for your household with one insurance broker
What information will I need to provide in order to obtain a quote for the cost of auto insurance?
• The full address of your residence including postal code
• The year, manufacturer, model & serial number of your vehicle(s)
• The current use of each vehicle including distance driven to work (if any), annual kilometers driven, and if there is any business use of the vehicle
• A list of all drivers in the household including their driver’s licence numbers
How long do tickets and/or accidents stay on my driving record?
In Ontario, any moving violation will stay on your driving record for a period of three years from the conviction date not the offence date. In respect to at-fault accidents, they will stay on your driving record for a total of six years.
The cost of my insurance seems to keep rising. Is there anything I can do to lower my annual premium?
Increasing your deductibles will reduce your overall annual premium. Removing collision and/or comprehensive on a vehicle that you own is another consideration but only if the vehicle is not being leased or financed.
Home Insurance FAQs
What impacts my home insurance premium?
• Replacement cost – the size and composition or your home as well as your contents are the factors that will impact the cost to replace your home and belongings.
• Where you live – Proximity to a water source such as a fire hydrant or fire station is the biggest factor.
• Heating – there is far less risk with forced-air gas furnaces or electric heat than oil tanks. Oil tanks have the potential to cause costly environmental hazards. Improperly installed wood stoves are a source of house fires and carbon-monoxide poisoning.
• Electricity – there are several factors such as:
o whether you have breakers or fuses
o the type of wiring you have (breakers pose less risk than fuses; knob and tube wiring can increase the chance of fire)
• Pipes – older plumbing (galvanized or lead pipes) is more prone to cracking, leaking or other problems.
• Other factors – insurers will also take into account whether you have a monitored security system or fire alarm. They’ll also ask about swimming pools and other structures on your property such as a storage shed.
In order to obtain an accurate quotation for the cost of your homeowners insurance what will I need?
• The full address of your house (including postal code)
• The year your house was built
• The style of your home (ex: bungalow, two story, split level)
• The amount of living space available in the house expressed in terms of square feet or meters
• The type and age of the heating system, including the fuel source, in your house
• The type and age of the roof on your home
• The type, size, and age of the electrical service in your home
• Information regarding any recent homeowners insurance claims you have experienced
• Advise your insurance broker of any valuables that you may have such as jewelry, sports equipment, and collectables you may own
I have liability coverage on my auto policy, why do I need it on my home policy too?
Your auto liability protects you if you are in an accident and you’re held legally liable for injury or death to other people. It also covers damage to their vehicle or property. The personal liability coverage on your home covers you at home or anywhere in the world for bodily injury to others or if you accidentally cause damage to another person’s property. For example, if a visitor slips on your driveway and you are found legally responsible, you would be covered for the damages.
How can I keep my property protected from fires?
• Install smoke detectors on every floor and change batteries regularly.
• Keep a fire extinguisher on every floor.
• Don’t leave cooking unattended.
• Never pour water on a grease fire.
• Don’t plug too many appliances into one outlet.
• Frequently inspect and clean chimney flues and your furnace.
Why are insurance companies interested in how a home is heated?
If you have an oil-heated home, a leak could be a costly environmental hazard, so your insurance company wants to know details about the age and condition of your tank. Improperly installed or maintained wood stoves are a common source of house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Speak to us before buying or renting a home with a wood-burning stove.
Is my snowmobile or car covered on my property policy when it is stored in the garage on my property?
No. The property policies contain an exclusion that states that there is no coverage for motorized vehicles other than snow blowers and lawn tractors. Any other vehicle must be insured on an Ontario automobile policy.
My teenager is going away to college. Do I need additional insurance for their personal belongings?
As a dependant and student temporarily living away from home, the personal property your teenager takes to college or university would be covered under your homeowner’s policy. But, the amount of coverage available depends on the type of policy you have. Find out more today.
What is a “shared common area” in a condo?
Your condo corporation contract will indicate the common areas for your condo complex. Generally, common areas are considered to be any areas outside your unit, like the parking lot, lobby, pool, and recreation centre. Refer to your condo corporation contract or condo manager for further details.
Does my home insurance policy cover my valuable possessions such as jewelry or artwork?
Yes, but for limited amounts of coverage. You may want to consider buying a Personal Articles Floater which provides all risk coverage for theft and mysterious disappearance. This will also reimburse you for misfortunes, like a stone that falls out of a ring.
Do I really need tenant insurance?
You may be renting, but all of your furnishings, electronics and other personal belongings are certainly valuable to you. Tenant insurance not only covers your personal possessions, it also provides personal liability coverage in case someone is accidentally hurt while visiting you. It also provides coverage if you accidentally cause damage to the rental property.
Does my home insurance cover the contents of my house during a move?
Generally, your home insurance policy will cover the contents of your home (your personal possessions) during a move. But there are instances where your insurance company could refuse coverage. For example, if a piece of valuable art being moved between residences is damaged during the move with no apparent cause then your insurance company can refuse coverage. Check with us for specific details. If you’ve hired a professional moving company, these companies generally carry insurance against property damage that might be caused during a move. Ask them to provide proof of insurance. Making sure you supervise carefully and inspect your goods upon receipt to allow you to report any damages immediately, and protect you from making a claim (to either your insurance company, or the movers) that won’t be reimbursed.
Does having “all risks” insurance on your home cover you for everything?
Unlike the name suggests all risks insurance does not cover every possible risk to your property. However, it does provide the most extensive coverage of all home insurance options. It includes all possible disasters except for a list of named exclusions, for example, damage caused by insects or rodents or faulty workmanship.
Do I need a separate insurance policy for my home office equipment?
There are two things to consider here. First of all, your existing homeowner’s policy may only cover you for a limited amount of business equipment. And, you’ll likely want to secure coverage for all of the equipment that you have on site. Secondly, you will likely not be covered under your liability insurance on your homeowner’s policy if someone has an accident in your home office. Adding business insurance to your home (in addition to your homeowner’s policy) will ensure that you have the appropriate coverage to avoid financial liabilities in the case of an accident or disaster.
If I choose not to replace an item that I claim through home insurance, do I still get the cash?
Even if you do not replace the item, your insurance provider will pay out on the claim if the peril is covered. The difference will be in the amount that you receive as payment. In the case of a replacement value policy, you may need to provide receipts to prove the true replacement cost otherwise you may only receive the actual (depreciated) cash value of the goods that were lost or damaged.