Energy rates have risen in Ontario, and while we enjoy more moderate weather here in Windsor and Essex County compared to most of the province, many are feeling the pinch financially.
We’ve compiled some suggestions on ways to save money on your home energy bills this winter which are easy and no cost to you.
Let the sun heat your home.
- Open the drapes on sunny days to help warm your home and close them after sunset to help insulate the windows from the cold night air.
- Wood burning fireplaces can drain the heat from your home. When not in use, be certain the damper is completely closed and if you rarely use your traditional fireplace, consider blocking the front of the fireplace with a well fitted piece of insulation.
- You are more likely to experience cold air and drafts near the exterior walls of your home. Consider moving furniture towards to interior, so you’re not relaxing in a cold, drafty area.
- Turning down your thermostat by one degree can save money every month. Encourage family members to “get cozy” this winter by wearing extra layers of clothing in the house.
- Be conscious of energy use when cooking. (Examples: Use a microwave to reheat dinners rather than leaving warm in the oven. Cook several meals at once to more efficiently use energy. Use an electric kettle to boil water rather than a stove top kettle.)
- Unplug your garage beer fridge – it’s not worth to have it running just for a few cold drinks which can easily iced down in a couple of hours when needed.
- Check that the insulation in the access to your attic is in the proper place to help prevent heat loss.
Challenge your family to be energy conscious
- Turn off lights when rooms are not in use.
- Be mindful and limit the running of bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans.
- Do only full loads in the washer, dishwasher and dryer and be sure your lint trap is cleaned to help improve efficiency.
- When doing a load of laundry, use the cold water wash cycle.
- Shortened showers can save on water consumption and the expense of heating water.
- Put your computer and devices to sleep or shut completely down when not in use.
- Be aware of electronics which “leak energy” even when not in use. Consider plugging all electronics and chargers into a power bar which can easily be turned off and on as needed.
If you have any other energy saving tips, please leave a comment below and we will share your idea on our Facebook page.
Did you know that all drivers in Ontario who have approved winter tires on their vehicle are now eligible for an insurance discount?
This province wide change is more about safety than significant savings as winter tires are proven to have better traction and improved handling during our Ontario winters. Although winter tire use isn’t common to us in Essex County, even as close as London, they are an everyday traveling essential.
The amount of savings will vary between insurance companies, from 3% to 5% of your total auto insurance premium and may only apply to the collision portion of your premium. If you’re paying the average insurance premium of $1,455 in Ontario, your savings may be about $70 a year.
If you are renewing your policy later this year, it might be beneficial to you to call your broker regarding a possible mid-term discount.
Need to know:
- The tires must be certified as winter tires by Transport Canada and carry the Alpine Symbol
- The months that the tires need to be on your car vary by insurance company
- The tires must be on all four wheels
- All season radials do not qualify for a discount
- While other proof of your winter tires may not be necessary, keep a copy of your purchase receipt with your insurance documents
If you use snow tires and would like to inquire about a discount, please give us a call: 519-736-8228 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
A common goal among Canadians is to save more money. When utilizing coupons, rebates, accumulating store points, saving money on insurance premiums or by eliminating expenses – are you really saving? What do you do with those saved funds?
If the money saved just gets spent elsewhere, it’s not really ‘saving’ is it?
Here are some ideas to really help you save money:
Sock it away: Let’s say you’ve just saved $300 a year on your insurance premiums, consider taking that cash and stowing it away for a specific purpose or goal, such as saving for a vacation or a home renovation project.
Save it with a TFSA: Whenever you ‘save’ money by using credit card or store points, consider transferring those savings into a registered Tax-Free Savings Account.
Invest it: When you save money from using coupons or getting a rebate, designate that money to be invested in your retirement with an RRSP. Investing $275 a year for 20 years (at a 6% annual rate of return) would result in more than $10,000 saved! Check out this handy calculator.
Join a Challenge: If you have trouble saving money, consider committing to a year long savings challenge, then save it in your preferred method mentioned above.
If you have other inventive money saving tips, please leave a comment below.
However you plan on utilizing your savings, the first step is to start. Please feel free to give us a call for a home or auto insurance quote – 519-736-8228 or fill out this online quote request.
It’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.
Our last article discussed the features and benefits of Collision and Comprehensive Coverage for your vehicles. The choice to drop either type of insurance could result in a slight savings or a hefty financial burden.
Dropping Collision Coverage pretty much equates to your car having very little value and you’re not relying on insurance to replace it in the event of an at fault accident (avoid a deer, hit a tree) or when the at fault driver is unknown (hit and run).
Many people feel that if their car’s value ($2,000) is only approximately twice their insurance deductible ($1,000), it’s worth the savings to drop the extra Collision Coverage. Others go by the 10% rule which is if your vehicle is worth $2,000 (100%) and the Collision Coverage is more than $200 (10%) a year, you should drop it.
If you feel that your vehicle has little value and you currently have enough cash in your emergency fund to replace it, then you might consider dropping the extra coverage.
Other factors to consider:
- The more often you drive, the more often you’re at risk for an accident. (The average US driver is involved in an accident every 10 years.)
- The more frequently you’re surrounded by other drivers, say in cities or on highways, the more you’re at risk to be in an accident.
- Do you park in lots, public garages or in urban areas?
- If you drive your vehicle at high risk times (drunk drivers on the roads) or in dangerous weather conditions, the more you’re at risk.
The cost of an average Comprehensive Coverage option is quite low; so many people despite the age of their vehicle choose to keep it regardless.
As a reminder, Comprehensive Coverage protects you from losses due to fire, theft, damage due to fallen trees, vandalism, etc. So before you decide to drop the Comprehensive Coverage, determine your vehicle’s worth and consider how often your vehicle may be at risk.
- Do you park in a garage?
- Do you park in a safe neighbourhood?
- Is car theft common in your area?
- Do you have crazy exes who are likely to slash your tires and smash your windshield?
The decision to drop either Collision of Comprehensive Coverage is completely up to the insured. Please consider the above factors carefully and contact us if you have any questions. 519-736-8228
In Ontario, people can generally purchase Collision Coverage for their vehicle as an option. The Collision Coverage pays to repair damage the insured vehicle in the event the damage is caused by an accident that is your fault (avoid a deer, hit a tree) OR if the damage is caused by an ‘unidentified motorist’ (hit and run). This feature of the coverage is important as many times people are involved in an accident that is clearly not their fault, but because the ‘at fault’ driver is unknown, the claim has to be processed under the Collision Coverage.
When a car is older and has a high deductible, some people consider ‘dropping’ the optional Collision Coverage.
Comprehensive Coverage pays for damage caused by almost anything that is not a collision. As example: fire, theft, vandalism, tree falls on vehicle, tidal wave, crazy ex slashes tires, etc. The cost of comprehensive coverage is quite low, so usually most people keep it even with an older vehicle.
It’s important to note that comprehensive coverage only covers the vehicle and anything permanently attached to the vehicle. So, if your vehicle is vandalized, broken into and they steal your 7 furs, Rembrandt painting, and 3 gold bars… the only thing covered is the damage to the vehicle. The contents might be covered by the home/tenants insurance. Keep in mind that if damage occurs, your Rembrandt is stolen, and the policies are with different insurance companies: you’re likely to be charged two deductibles (one of the reasons it’s best to have your home and auto insurance policies with one company, as they usually would only charge one deductible).
In the second part of this article, we’ll discuss the considerations when decided whether or not to ‘drop’ comprehensive or collision coverage. In the meantime, if you have questions regarding Comprehensive or Collision insurance, please give us a call: 519-736-8228.
If you’re in the market to purchase a new, or ‘new to you’ car – it’s a great idea to check with your insurance broker first, especially if you are flexible in what you purchase. Why?
You insurance premium is likely to change which may affect your budgeting – meaning you can maybe go for (or skip!) those extra options.
Why may a new car cost less to insure?
Every vehicle is rated according to the Canadian Loss Experience Automobile Rating (CLEAR) system. This system assesses and compares each and every vehicle based on the individual expected claims frequency and cost.
Vehicles that are less likely to be stolen, have advanced safety features and are less expensive to fix will very likely have a lower insurance premium.
So if you’re in the market for a new car, give us a call for a quote, so you don’t pay more than you have to: 519-736-8228
Have your driving habits recently changed?
Have you changed jobs, retired, or moved and are driving less than last year? Do you have a young driver who is away at school? Perhaps you’ve had a ticket that you believe is off your driving record?
Call us and we’ll help determine whether you’re eligible to save money on your car insurance premium.
Are you in the market to purchase a new vehicle?
Auto insurance premiums are often dependent on the potential cost to repair the vehicle or a model that is less frequently stolen. We can give you an idea of your premium before you buy.
Why an Independent Insurance Broker?
As an independent insurance broker, we work with more than a dozen insurance companies to find the coverage and premium right for you. We’ve made the process of getting a car insurance quote simple. It only takes a few minutes to fill out our online form.
If you have any questions about your car insurance premium, please feel free to call our office at 519-736-8228. We’d be happy to help you save money!
Perhaps 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.