Our Ontario Insurer Q&A blog series aims to provide consumers with some important insights into how insurance works in this province, and should help to counter some of the myths and misconceptions floating around in the media these days. We’ve presented some challenging questions to the market leaders of Ontario’s insurance industry, and you just might be surprised by some of the responses.
In this installment of Ontario Insurer Q&A, Pembridge Insurance answers some of the current hot button questions regarding insurance in Ontario. Founded in 1999, Pembridge Insurance Company has established a strong reputation offering a comprehensive range of personal lines insurance products designed to meet the needs of Canadians.
We’re always hungry for input from Ontario insurance companies. If you’d like to participate in the Ontario Insurer Q&A series, please drop us a line!
Ontarians pay a lot for car insurance. What are some ways consumer can save money?
Unfortunately auto insurance premiums are on the rise across the country due to the high prevalence of insurance fraud, rising rates of collisions, and increasing costs to repair modern vehicles.
The cost of car insurance depends on many factors, including the types of coverage purchased, driver experience and claims history. No two policies are alike, but there are some common ways consumers can save money:
- Drive safely, follow speed limits and obey traffic laws.
- Drive less. Take public transit or ride your bike.
- Consider enrolling in a telematics program, such as the My_BRIDGE program with Pembridge. This program rewards demonstrated safe driving behaviour with a discount.
- Bundle your car insurance policy with your home insurance policy – you will save on both policies by doing so.
- Install an approved theft deterrent system in your car.
- Work with a licensed insurance Broker who understands your unique needs, and can shop around to get you the right coverage for the right price.
What are some of the most unique (unusual/memorable/quirky) home insurance claims that you have come across?
One of the strangest claims we’ve seen was the result of a heated dispute between two neighbours. One neighbour sought revenge by dumping large piles of manure in front of the other’s front and back doors, barricading him inside the house. The claim was reported, but later withdrawn as the homeowner found his way out of the house through a window, and somehow managed to remove the manure himself. A stinky task no doubt!
What would be your advice for a first time home insurance purchaser to set themselves up for a lifetime of great, worry-free insurance?
A home is likely going to be one of the biggest investments you will ever make; you’re going to want to make sure it is properly protected. Working with a licensed insurance broker will help you understand the coverage you need. Be sure to ask lots of questions about what is covered, what your options are, and how you can save with available discounts. We also recommend completing a home inventory, and maintaining it while keeping relevant receipts and appraisals in a safe place. This will not only help to determine the amount and type of coverage you need to cover your belongings, but will also help expedite a claim should you ever experience a loss.
Renters shouldn’t forget about the importance of insurance either. Coverage is available to protect your contents, liability and more.
What’s the most common home claim you are seeing, and what advice would have for homeowners to help minimize their risks?
Water damage is currently a leading threat to homeowners, condominium residents, and rental property tenants. Water threats to your property can come in many forms, from burst pipes, leaking appliances, rapid and heavy rainfall, and other types of fresh water flooding. It’s important for homeowners to stay on top of regular home maintenance tasks, such as annual inspections of appliance water supply hoses, cleaning and maintaining eavestroughs, and ensuring downspouts are clear and will direct water away from the foundation. It’s also important to have the right the insurance coverage. We recommend consumers talk to their insurance broker about additional coverage options available.
What advice can you give someone who needs to make a claim and is hoping for a simple and quick resolution?
Most importantly, make sure you and your family are safe. Once that has been taken care of, report your claim as quickly as possible and work with your Broker to understand the next steps. They will work with the insurance company to try to have the claim settled as quickly as possible. Document, document, document. Record as many details as possible as soon as the loss occurs (before you forget anything) and take lots of pictures. If you have receipts for any of the damaged items, make sure the insurance company gets copies. Keep an open line of communication with the insurance adjuster assigned to your claim, and provide as many details as possible, including any circumstances that may change over the course of the loss settlement.
What do you think will happen to auto insurance when self driving cars become the norm? Will owners still need insurance, or do you think the insurance will be provided by the car manufacturer?
Futuristic movies, and even auto makers, had us all believing that we might have fully automated cars on the roads by the early 2000s. But for all the hype, it will be years, maybe even decades, before self-driving vehicles are commonplace on our roads. That said, it is something insurers need to be thinking about and adapting our models to address as more and more technologies make their way into cars. Consumers will always need auto insurance, but the terms will evolve. We feel the responsibility will shift as causes of collisions could be due to vehicle hardware or software malfunctions, in addition to human error.
Cats or dogs?
It depends. Dogs are great because they are loyal and true companions. A strong relationship with a dog is like a strong relationship with a business partner – honest, collaborative and rewarding. On the other hand cats are smart. Studies show a cat’s brain is 90% more like a human’s than dogs. They are self-sufficient – give a cat food, water and a litter box and they can survive the apocalypse.
Special thanks to Pembridge Insurance for taking the time to participate in Mitchell & Whale’s Ontario Insurer Q&A.