It came upon us quickly, and lingered on long enough to change our lives indefinitely. Now a new (old?) normal is on the horizon, and that can mean changes that affect your insurance policies. Whether for your car, your home or your cottage, it’s important to make sure these policies are up to date while ensuring your premiums remain as low as possible.
It seems a long time ago in a world far, far away that normalcy reigned supreme. Much has happened since the start of the Pandemic that has changed our lives forever, but with vaccines rolling out at a faster pace, the end of this nightmare is in sight. As this new normal opens up before us, there is much to consider, not the least of which being the status of your insurance policies.
The main thing you can do that will affect your car insurance premiums is ask yourself if your driving habits have changed.
Many people who found themselves working from home during the Pandemic lowered their premiums dramatically by removing all but basic coverage on cars they weren’t driving, or saved themselves a few bucks simply by letting their insurance company know they were driving less.
Obviously the first point is much more urgent than the second, but regardless, if you don’t update your file with current information, it could cause you problems the next time you have a claim.
Important: Insurance companies will not be making any changes to policies without a notification from you that your pre-Covid driving habits have resumed. So if you are still working from home even as Covid restrictions are relaxed, there is no need to contact your insurer.
One popular way to earn a few extra bucks during the lockdowns was to work for various delivery and ride sharing apps like Uber and Lyft. If you did, it was necessary to share this information with your insurance company in order to avoid a claim denial or mid-term cancellation of your policy.
The past year has seen fundamental shifts in the way we live and work, increasing the amount of time we spend in our homes. While this may not have affected your home insurance significantly, there are some things to keep in mind as the Pandemic ends, and we all venture out into the wider world again.
One of the big things that will affect home insurance premiums as the Pandemic comes to an end is something we can all think about on an individual level, and that has to do with the amount of time we will NOT be in our homes. The more we leave our homes empty as we go back to work and finally take that long awaited vacation down south, the more attractive it is to thieves.
One final thing to think about regarding your home is any renovations or improvements you might have made during the pandemic. Many people used the extra time being at home to upgrade their home, either by adding a new family room or finishing the basement. If you made such a material upgrade, notify your insurer.
Many parents have sought alternative education solutions for their children during the pandemic, including what are known as learning pods, where a small group of students study online together in a single home. Keeping your children and relatives at home for the sake of their health, and sharing parental duties and online learning with neighbours does not impact your policy.
However, your home insurance policy does NOT allow for commercial, or paid, childcare. And that includes daycare. Nor does it allow for situations where teachers or tutors are hired to operate in the home. In these circumstances, it is necessary to purchase commercial or specialty insurance.
There have been many reports during the pandemic of an increase in fire-related fatalities in Ontario, with cooking left unattended being cited as the leading cause of residential fires. It seems the more we were locked down at home, the more cooking we were doing and the more accidents we were causing. This had many worried that premiums were going to rise as a result of the increased time we were spending at home. Trends show premiums are going up, but this isn’t the reason.
The biggest reason premiums are going up is the same reason they were going up before the pandemic – the environment. Or more specifically, the extreme weather the environment is creating. Flooding, it turns out, is the new fire.
The summer of 2020 was a complicated one for the cottage crowd. Lockdowns and travel restrictions, not to mention the unwelcoming attitude of those who live year round in cottage country, kept many away from their little home in the woods last year.
But the end of the Pandemic will mean many of us will be returning to the lakes, and so it’s important to make sure your cottage insurance is up to date and fully covers you like before.
While most cottage owners kept their policy going during this time, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The end of the Pandemic means the beginning of a sense of normality in our lives for the first time in what seems like years. It may seem ages ago that you altered your insurance policies to save a little cash as uncertainty came knocking at the door.
But as the world opens up to us once again, take a few moments to make sure your insurance is up to date and broad enough to let you enjoy it without worry.
Contact Mitchell & Whale today to make sure you’re ready for the new normal!
Want to add to this story? Let us know in comments below! Mitchell & Whale is a fast-growing insurance brokerage in Ontario, striving to make insurance _not suck_ one customer at a time. Give us a call today to discuss any of your insurance needs at 1.800.731.2228.