The Importance of an Emergency Fund

Preparing for a financial emergencyWe believe the more you’re prepared for an emergency, the less likely it will happen and even in an emergency situation, you’ll be better equipped to manage it because of your preparation.

Why create an emergency fund? Unexpected expenses are a part of life and relying on credit cards to help you manage unanticipated costs can accumulate significant interest charges. Tapping into your retirement fund can have expensive tax consequences and relying on friends or family can cause personal stress.

How much do you need to save? Experts recommend stashing away 6 months of living expenses in your emergency fund.

There are many situations when you may be required to access these available funds:

  • Job loss or layoff
  • Out-of-pocket medical expenses
  • Unexpected pet care costs
  • Exterior home maintenance repairs
  • Appliance repair or replacement
  • Car repair
  • Unexpected travel expenses
  • Paying for a loved one’s funeral

Finally, we’d like to leave you with a few other considerations when preparing for a financial emergency.

Be sure you’re aware of your insurance policies coverage and limitations.

Learn when it’s right for you to make an insurance claim; home or auto.

If you find it difficult to save money, here are some great tips.

We wish you all the best. If we can help you, please reach out to us: 519-736-8228

Lending/Borrowing a Car & Insurance

Man driving a carOne of the most commonly asked questions to insurance professionals is regarding lending and/or borrowing a vehicle.

It’s important to note that every situation is different when lending or borrowing a car, so be sure to talk to your insurance provider if any of the examples and questions below seem to apply to you…. And if your insurance provider is difficult to contact, then maybe it’s time for a change and you should be dealing with Gibb Insurance!

I’m thrilled my grandson found a part time after school job delivering pizzas. Usually he borrows his mom’s car for work, which he is insured on as a secondary driver, but occasionally his schedule conflicts with hers and I let him borrow my car a couple times a month. Should I have him insured on my car as well?

My brother has never owned a car or had car insurance, although he does have a driver’s license. When I travel for work, I usually leave my car with to him to use. I travel every three months for 4 to 5 days at a time. Is my brother covered under my insurance policy?

My nephew’s pickup truck breaks down often – about 3 times a month, so I lend him my car to get to work. He has his own policy on his pick-up, but should I add him as a secondary driver on my car?

My friend is visiting from England for a month. He has an international driver’s license and would like to borrow my car while I’m at work. Is he automatically insured under my policy?

My friend is afraid to drive in the States. When we shop stateside I usually drive her car. I have a good driving record, my own car and my own insurance – am I okay to drive her car in the States occasionally?

My son has own business and a commercial vehicle (he delivers auto-parts locally). Sometimes he’s so busy that his wife helps out and she uses his truck while he borrows my SUV. Is he insured while driving my vehicle?

If we can help you answer any of your insurance questions, please reach out to us: 519-736-8228

Changes to Your Auto Insurance Policy

Changes to your Ontario car insurance policy Gibb Insurance BrokersAuto insurance in Ontario is changing.

What’s changing?

Depending on your insurance company, you may see:

  • Reduction in insurance premiums
  • Reduction in coverage
  • A change in your coverage and/or benefits
  • New options available in your coverage and/or benefits

Why is this change happening?

In an effort to comply with the promise to make auto insurance premiums more affordable, the Ontario government is lowering the mandatory medical coverage you have to carry on your auto insurance policy, and in return you may see a reduction in your rates.

What does this mean?

Most of the changes are related to accident benefits you would receive if you were injured in a collision: some benefit limits have been reduced, and some options for increased coverage have been changed or eliminated.

What else do I need to know?

While this change in coverage will affect all Ontario insurance policies, people without an employer sponsored insurance plan may want to pay special attention to these changes.

When will it affect me?

Although the new initiative began June 1st, the changes won’ t affect individual policy holders until the automobile insurance policy is due for renewal or if a new policy is purchased.

Your best bet is to speak directly with your insurance professional to fully understand the potential impact of these changes.

If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to us: 519-736-8228

The Growth of Home-Owner Run Vacation Rentals

Short Term Rental InsuranceTourism is on the rise in Windsor and Essex County due many factors including the growth of the wine industry, numerous outdoor attractions and the high value of the American dollar.

Many are taking advantage of opportunities tourism provides, including renting out rooms, condos, homes, cottages or opening a B&B to travelers.

The explosion of companies like Airbnb, VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner) and B&B associations, makes it easy for all homeowners to promote their properties to interested visitors to Windsor/Essex. Travelers often prefer this type of rental over traditional hotel rooms as it can be more affordable, flexible and with added amenities.

However…

If this is a consideration for you or someone you know, it’s essential to know that when you use your home or cottage to generate an income – any income – you start to get into a very complicated area regarding insurance.

It is an absolute must to clearly discuss your intent with an insurance professional before committing to rent out your any part of a home or property which you own or lease, as there are unique and distinct risks involved and specific criteria to be met.

While the company you may choose to advertise your property may offer insurance for minor damage, it’s important to note that a “normal” home owner’s policy will not cover even a modest claim related to the business operation; which could result in financial devastation to the property owner.

Speak to an insurance broker who is well versed in this unique type of coverage. If we can help you, please reach out to us: 519-736-8228

It’s Best to Be Prepared

Gibb Insurance Home Insurance Advice Amherstburg Ontario

‘Disaster’ is such a big scary, all-encompassing word… but when it comes to peace of mind, whether it be a fire, flood or storm damage; it’s always best to be prepared for the worst case scenario.

Whether you are a home owner or a tenant, every family should have an inventory of their possessions for insurance purposes. Imagine arriving home only to discover that it’s been destroyed by fire, or the basement has completed flooded. Although unlikely to happen, being prepared could save you a lot of time and money.

Having a record of all your possessions will make processing your insurance claim considerably less stressful and time consuming.

Creating a home inventory of all your possessions only takes a few minutes. Simply record a video with your smart phone (or borrow a trusted friend’s). If you have a Google Account, upload the video set as ‘private’ in YouTube. The private link ensures that only you as the Google Account holder has access to it.

  • Walk from room to room, detailing what you see
  • Note any items of particular value
  • Open drawers and closets
  • Remember to document what is in your garage and shed and on your patio
  • Also record the items in your safe

Although we hope you will never need to use your home inventory list, it’s best to be prepared.

If you have any home insurance questions, please give us a call at 519-736-8228.

Why Did My House Insurance Premium Increase?

Why Did My House Insurance Premium IncreaseIt’s a common question, and as written about previously, house insurance premiums are dependent on many individual factors.

Occasionally, when a disaster affecting thousands of homes happens, insurance premiums will rise accordingly to cover the substantial loss by insurance companies.

In July of 2013, the flood in Toronto contributed to the largest number of insurance claims filed in Canada. Last year insurers paid out a staggering $3.2 billion in weather-related claims.

In order to recover their losses, some insurers have increased homeowners’ insurance premiums by 15 – 20 per cent. Deductibles for weather related claims, such as sewer backups, have also increased from $1,000 to $2,500, and some insurers have removed this coverage from their standard policies – requiring homeowners who want this protection to pay extra for it to be included in their coverage. Also noteworthy is that some insurers have ‘capped’ the amount they will pay on weather related claims.

If you’ve noticed and are concerned about an increase in your home insurance premium, or if you’re unsure of what your policy covers, please call our office at 519-736-8228.

Determining Your Home Insurance Premium

Have you ever wondered why your home insurance premium is different from your friends, neighbours or relatives?

Here’s an article from Intact Insurance explaining the variables.

http://www.insuranceisevolving.com/en/home-ontario.htmlSome of the factors considered when calculating your premium:

  • Where you live – Some locations have a higher risk of crime, burglary, sewer back-up and weather related events, resulting in a higher premium.
  • How close you are to fire-fighting support – Urban areas are closer to fire-fighting support, generally resulting in a lower premium.
  • How much protection you require – If you need or want more insurance protection for your home and property, then your premium will be higher than someone who needs or wants less protection.
  • The age of your home and the home’s condition – Property rates are generally lower for newer homes because the plumbing, wiring and roofs generally have fewer problems, which means fewer claims.
  • If you live or work in the home – Empty or unoccupied properties are more prone to vandalism and theft. Also, running a business or having tenants results in a higher premium due to additional items in the home.
  • How many claims you have made – The greater number of years claim free, the greater the reduction in your premiums.
  • How long you have lived at your current address – Statistics show that customers who have lived in the same residence for longer periods of time make fewer claims. This can contribute to a lower premium.
  • Maturity – As you age, your premium amount will typically decrease.
  • Loss prevention – Investing in devices to protect against burglary, fire and water damage can lower your insurance costs either directly via a discount or by preventing and minimizing losses, which results in fewer claims.
  • If you own your home outright – If you own your home completely without any mortgages, you’ll have more money to maintain your home, resulting in fewer claims. This can be a factor resulting in a lower premium.
  • How your home is heated – Homes that use oil as their primary heat source and wood for secondary heat source tend to have more fire claims and will therefore increase your insurance premium.
  • If your home is built for or used by multiple families – If your home has more than one self-contained living unit, or you share your property with unrelated individuals, it may be considered a multi-family dwelling. In these instances, there are more items that need to be covered by insurance and more opportunities for larger claims.

If you have any questions about your home insurance or your home insurance premium, please feel free to call our office at 519-736-8228 or email chris@gibbinsurance.ca

Summer Travel Plans? Yes, You Need Travel Insurance

Windsor Essex Travel Medical Insurance Gibb Insurance AmherstburgWindsor and Essex County residents are getting ready to hit the road this spring and summer. Day trips to the Detroit Zoo, Cedar Point or golfing… week-ends at a cabin in Michigan, camping, boating or fishing.

We’re ready to hit the road and enjoy the freedom of travel!

It’s important to know that when travelling out of our province, we are not covered by our health insurance.

You are strongly advised to purchase additional health insurance every time you leave Canada and ensure that the supplementary insurance you have purchased provides adequate coverage. – Ontario Ministry of Health

Even a day trip to the States can be financially devastating if a health emergency occurs. At Gibb Insurance we believe the more you prepare for an unlikely emergency, the less likely it will occur. For this reason, please call us for a quote for travel insurance today – 519-736-8228.

Yes, You Need Travel Medical Insurance

Yes you need travel medical insurance Gibb Insurance AmherstburgThere is a lot of confusion regarding Ontarian’s medical coverage when travelling abroad. It’s the time of year when many of us in Windsor and Essex County take vacations or day trips to our American neighbours.

A shopping trip, a visit to Cedar Point, going to a Tigers game or golfing stateside could become a financially disastrous outing if you are injured or require medical attention.

Here are some facts from the Ontario Ministry of Health:

OHIP will pay very limited amounts for physician services and hospital/health facility services, and only if certain conditions are satisfied.  You are entitled to very limited funding for a certain range of medical services when you are travelling outside of Canada.

You are strongly advised to purchase additional health insurance every time you leave Canada to cover any expenses in excess of the limited funding provided by OHIP.

Click here to tweetTravel medical insurance can be obtained for a very reasonable cost. It’s not worth the risk to travel outside of Ontario without the extra insurance. 

If you’d like more information, please feel free to call our office: 519-736-8228.

 

Young Drivers – Insurance Advice and Tips

Young Driver Insurance Advice and Tips Gibb Insurance BrokersPerhaps the most difficult conversation that I have with clients is regarding the subject of young drivers.  Unfortunately, young drivers represent an incredible risk for insurance companies and as a result, they are charged an incredibly high premium.

To understand why young drivers are so risky and thus so expensive we have to look at the fact that as a group they are the most likely drivers to have an accident due to their lack of experience.  This lack of experience is compounded with the fact that if they are injured in an accident and cannot work, their insurance company could end up having to pay disability payments to them for the next 50 years.  A huge expense.

Perhaps the single best way to save money on your young driver’s insurance is to have them complete a young driver training course.  Most insurance companies will give the young driver the equivalent of three years of driving experience credit if they successfully complete a young driver course and this could add up to a savings of 3 to 5 times the cost of the course.  A good point to remember is that all driver training courses are not equal; make sure you choose a company that is registered with the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Transportation.  If you choose a company that is not qualified their course may not be recognized by your insurer.

Another way to save money on your young driver is to add them on your policy as soon as they get their G1 (or beginners) licence.  Insurers usually do not charge extra for adding a G1 driver and they will start developing an insurance history right away.  By the time your G1 driver gets their G2, they already have 8 to 12 months of experience on their record.

When you are adding a young driver to your car insurance policy – you have to shop around; any time you have a major change in your risk profile you need to ensure you are still with the ‘right’ insurance company.  There can be massive differences in the rates that different carriers will charge for a young driver and your insurance broker should be able to help you shop around for your best rate.

Finally, although it won’t lower your insurance premiums, it’s a great idea to have your teen sign our Parent – Teen Driving Contract. It will help them understand the seriousness and responsibility of their new freedom, and help with your peace of mind.

If you have any questions about your young driver, please feel free to give us a call at 519-736-8228.