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.

House Insurance – When to File a Claim

I have some damage to my home; should I file a claim?

Giving advice on claims is a very important aspect of an insurance broker’s job, and one that is sometimes hard to balance.  Technically, every loss the broker becomes aware of is supposed to be reported to the insurance company, but the broker also has an obligation to advise clients and look out for them.  Many times, clients will call regarding claims that are somewhat minor in nature and really are looking for advice and assistance… a recent example comes to mind that illustrates my point exactly.

A client of ours in Amherstburg, Ontario called in to report that his sump pump failed in the night and the pit overflowed.  The damage consisted of around 100 square feet of wet carpet, some wet furniture, and some household contents that were water damaged.  The client called in to see if the damage was covered and to ask what he should do.

In these instances, I find people are upset and generally over estimate how much actual damage there is.  I advised the client that any damage over his deductible was most likely covered and asked him, “How much damage is there?”  His answer, predictably, was “I don’t know.”  Ultimately, my advice was to try to clean up the damage himself and document the process by taking pictures, that way if the damage was minor we would not put in a claim, if it turned out to be something more serious, we could proceed with a claim.  After 3 or 4 hours of work the client determined a claim was not needed and he could clean up the damage himself with a shop vac.

Three months later I received another call from this same client. While he was at work, a water pipe in his home burst.  The burst pipe sprayed quite a lot of water between the floor and basement ceiling causing extensive damage.  This time, we decided to put in a claim as the damage was quite extensive and required professionals to come in to clean up, tear out, and replace the finishes of the home.

Thankfully this client took my advice. By not proceeding with the first claim, when his policy comes up for renewal, he would only be rated for having one claim. Had he made that first claim, a policy renewing with two water claims this close together could cause his premium to go up significantly or perhaps result in restrictions of coverage.  Since he has only had one claim, his renewal should not be affected.

Good thing he deals with Gibb Insurance.

If you have any questions about making a claim on your house insurance, please give us a call at 519-736-8228.