National Insurance Awareness Day

Insurance Awareness Day Gibb InsuranceJune 28th is National Insurance Awareness Day, and although insurance likely isn’t something you think about often; when you need it, it can suddenly become the most important thing in your world.

And while you might not think of insurance every day… we certainly do!

We want to ensure that you are fully aware of what your policies entail as well as the limitations; to help protect you and manage expectations in the event of a claim.

Please take a few minutes to review your policies. Review the amount of your coverage, limitations and take note of your deductible. It’s important to us that you are informed and educated.

If you believe you may qualify for a discount on your premiums, would like a quote from another carrier, or have any questions at all, please gather your insurance documents and give us a call: 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

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

Time For an Insurance Review

It's important to read your insurance policy - Gibb Insurance Brokers AmherstburgEach year it’s important to be in contact with your insurance professional. Consider the following:

If you haven’t lately, now is the best time to review your insurance policies. Do you have enough coverage on your vehicle? Does your home insurance coverage water damage in an amount that would sufficiently cover you in the case of loss or damage? Does your home insurance cover sewer backups?

While reviewing your home insurance needs and policies may not be your most favourite activity, doing so now could save you time, money and stress in the future.

If you’re unsure of your coverage or would like any assistance reviewing your policies, please do not hesitate to contact us 519-736-8228

Read Your Insurance Policies

It's important to read your insurance policy - Gibb Insurance Brokers AmherstburgEvery year insurance companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars sending out those home and auto insurance renewal packages that are called policy declaration sets, or “dec sets” for short.-

One wonders, why bother? Almost no one reads them; and even if you try they are filled with language and terms you can’t understand. Or worse, it seems that they will give you coverage for something in one place and then take it away in another. Let’s face it, all you’re really looking for is how much more, or less is it from last year?

There is an important reason to at least try to read all your insurance policies.

These “dec sets” spell out the amount of coverage your policy provides you with and they are the official method that your insurance carrier informs you of any changes that they have made to your policy since last year.

One very important section of the “dec set” that all homeowners should make themselves aware of is the amount of coverage they have for “sewer back up” or water damage. Coverage for flooded basements and other types of water damage are quickly becoming one of the most expensive claims items for your insurance company. Many companies are changing the amount of coverage they provide for these types of losses and if you do not read your “dec set” carefully, yours may have changed with little notice.

Imagine waking up to a flooded basement that will cost $50,000 to clean and repair only to find out you have $10,000 in coverage! Telling your insurance company that you didn’t realize it was so low will not help. They will say, “it is clearly spelled out in the policy declaration you received at your last renewal.”

Take the time today to review that policy, and if you don’t understand it make sure you call to find out how much coverage you have.

An even better idea is to call us at Gibb Insurance Brokers. We will sit down and review your policy with you to make sure you understand it and have it set up to meet your your need. We’d be pleased to hear from you, please call us at 519-736-8228.

Safe Keeping – Protecting Your Valuables

In part one of ‘Safe Keeping’ we discussed the considerations and advantages of owning a fire-proof safe and renting a safe deposit box at a financial institution. Below are some tips on what items to store in each.

In general, it’s recommended to store items and documents in your fireproof safe that you might require immediate access to. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Birth certificates and passports
  • Insurance policies and estate-planning documents (Your lawyer should also have copies.)
  • Tax returns
  • Documents pertaining to credit card and banking information and online passwords
  • Memory cards or an external hard drive of pictures and scans of important documents (if your save is rated high enough to protect digital media)
  • A copy of your home inventory

In your safe deposit box, it’s recommended to store items that are not replaceable and are not necessary to keep on hand. Here are a few suggestions of what to keep in your safe deposit box:

  • Keeping your Valuables Safe Gibb Insurance BrokersPrecious jewelry
  • Saving bonds or stock certificates
  • Insurance policies and estate-planning documents (Your lawyer should also have copies.)
  • Memory cards or an external hard drive of pictures and scans of important documents
  • A copy of your home inventory

At Gibb Insurance we believe the more you plan for a disaster, the less likely it will happen. When it comes to keeping your valuables safe from theft or fire, redundancy and good insurance coverage is key. To have both a highly rated fire proof safe and a safe deposit box is the best approach to protect your valuables. It’s best to keep original documents in a safe deposit box and copies in your home safe.

It’s important to note that your valuables wherever they might be stored, may not be covered in your home insurance policy. Make a point to discuss with your insurance broker items of value that you own to determine if you require additional insurance.

If you have any questions about your home insurance policy, we’d be happy to hear from you. 519-736-8228

‘Safe’ Keeping

Should you own a fireproof safe, rent a safe deposit box at your financial institution, or both?

Both can provide you with peace of mind as to your home or business’s valuables. In part one of this discussion, we’re going to review some advantages and considerations of owning a fireproof safe and renting a safe deposit box.

Protecting your valuables Gibb Insurance Amherstburg OntarioThe Advantages of Owning a Fireproof Safe:

  • Keeping valuables and documents safe in the unfortunate event of a fire. Many safes also offer the added feature of water resistance.
  • Safes provide some level of protection against burglaries, as most burglars only steal that which can be easily carried out.
  • Valuables and documents can be easily accessed 24/7.

Fireproof Safe Considerations:

  • Home safes may not be the ideal location for precious jewelry or rare coins, as example.
  • Quality, highly rated safes can by quite costly.
  • If you need to store computer files, photo negatives, flash drives or the like, you must ensure your safe has the proper rating. While your valuable documents might be protected in the event of a fire, your digital media files may not be.
  • Home safes often require a combination, code and/or a key to open. It’s important that these items are not lost or misplaced.
  • It’s important to ensure that the items within your safe are covered in your home insurance policy.

Safe Deposit Box Advantages

  • Safe deposit boxes are generally a safe place to store all important documents, digital files and valuables. Your valuables are protected against home burglaries, fires or water damage.
  • A small safe deposit box can cost only a few dollars a month.
  • Additional access to a safe deposit box can be pre-determined (rented jointly) in case the owner is unable to access the box due to a medical emergency.

Safe Deposit Box Considerations

  • The items contained are not readily on hand if needed immediately.
  • You cannot store cash or firearms in your safe deposit box.
  • The key must not be lost or misplaced.
  • Many boxes are restrictive in size and larger boxes can be quite expensive.
  • In the unlikely event the bank is destroyed (like during Hurricane Katrina or 9/11) your possessions may not be insured. Check your home or renter’s insurance policy to see if you’re covered.

In part 2 of this discussion, we’ll review what possessions, documents and files are best kept in a home safe and which are best kept at a financial institution to help you determine which (or both) option meets your needs.

If you have any questions about insuring a safe deposit box or if you are wondering if you have adequate insurance for your valuables, please feel free to contact us at 519-736-8228.

Insurance Tip

Helpful Insurance Tips by Gibb Insurance Amherstburg Ontario - Smoke detectorsDuring a heavy rain or a fast thaw, try to limit your home water consumption. This will reduce pressure on your sewage system and help prevent potential water back-up and possible damage to your home.

If you’re uncertain if you’re protected against sewer back-up, please give us a call.

Gibb Insurance Brokers Inc – 519-736-8228

Buying or Renewing Your Insurance? Ask These Questions First

Review Before You Renew - Gibb Insurance Brokers - Photo - RiverTown TimesPart of being an educated consumer is asking questions when you make a purchase, especially if you are putting out a considerable amount of money.  The truth is that while people often spend hours researching retail purchases such as a new Smartphone or a pair of shoes, they spend very little time researching their insurance options.

Whether you are buying a home, auto, or business insurance policy, make sure you fully understand the coverage you are agreeing to.  There are too many people that sign up for or renew an insurance policy without giving it more than a quick glance.  This leads to situations where people make assumptions about their coverage, only to find out at inopportune times that they don’t have the coverage they thought they had.

You should always get your insurance coverage advice from a licensed insurance broker before you sign up for a policy.  A broker will work with you to understand your needs and recommend coverage that is right for you and your family.  A broker is also ethically bound to ensure you are getting the best coverage/price combination available.

If you are not clear about something in your policy, ask your broker for clarification. This will help ensure you have the coverage you need.

Here are some of the questions that you may want to ask when purchasing or renewing your policy:

– Can I save money if I pay for my policy up front each year?
– Am I getting all the discounts I qualify for?
– Can I save money if I raise my deductible?
– Does the coverage vary for different types of occurrences?
– Does my policy include sewer back-up coverage?
– Would it be better to switch to another carrier?

Asking these questions will help you make an informed decision about your coverage.  Insurance coverage is an important investment and you owe it to yourself to be diligent and understand what you are getting for the money you are paying for your policy.

Be Certain Your Home is Safe While on Vacation

Protect your home from water damage while traveling Gibb Insurance Brokers Amherstburg OntarioGoing south for the winter? Is your home protected while you’re gone?

The sun, the beach, a cruise; picture a fabulous sun filled vacation. Now picture coming home and finding a burst water pipe has been pouring thousands of gallons of water throughout your home while you were gone!

How can this happen? Easily. An extremely cold day, common for Essex County, or even a furnace that decides to quit at the wrong time can cause the temperature in parts of your home to fall below freezing. When water freezes, it expands and this expansion can easily cause a copper pipe to crack or burst resulting in a massive amount of water being released. Even in the summer months the water line to a fridge with an ice-maker can let go. With no one checking on the house a torrent can go on for days causing huge amounts of damage and even mold.

Of course, the easiest and most sure fire way to avoid this situation is to shut off the water when you are going to be away for an extended period. Also, making sure your furnace is checked and serviced every year can help avoid this problem.

Many home insurance policies contain language that makes it mandatory for you to have a responsible person checking on your home if you are away. Before you go, call your insurance broker to make sure you are aware of any coverage restrictions. Most importantly, after everyone has visited the bathroom one last time before your road trip, turn off the main water valve and have a worry free vacation.