SCAM ALERT!

Police and Hospital officials in Chatham-Kent cautioned the public this morning about automated calls inviting people to book a Covid-19 Vaccination appointment in a fraudulent effort to gather their personal information. Since it’s happening in Chatham-Kent, similar calls to those living in Windsor-Essex can’t be far behind, if they’re not already taking place.

Vaccinations ARE NOT being booked right now for the general public, and health officials would not be using automated messages to gather private personal information over the phone. People are reminded to NEVER share personal information over the phone with individuals and groups whose identity you cannot verify 100%… especially when you did not initiate the contact.

What, you might wonder, does this have to do with insurance? Absolutely nothing. But it does have a lot to do with your security and privacy. And we don’t need to be servicing your insurance needs to pass on some useful information that looks out for that.

Have a great weekend everyone, and be careful who you share your personal information with. AT DPM Insurance Group our motto is: “Your Security – Our Responsibility”.

Why it’s worth it to get an auto insurance review at renewal time

When you get your auto insurance renewal notice, do you just check that the amount is about the same as last year’s and then renew it? If that’s the case, you’re not alone. Many of us do exactly that because it’s simple. Likely you spent a lot of time up front to find the best insurance plan, and the thought of doing this all over again holds little appeal. But here are four reasons why it might pay (quite literally) to review your policy before you renew it.

You may not have the right coverage anymore.

You may have too much coverage, or worse, too little. Driving needs can change. If your commute has gotten longer, your policy should reflect that. Or if you’re driving less, you might be paying too much for insurance.

You could be leaving money on the table.

There are all kinds of ways to save on auto insurance if you know where to look.

Bundling discountsConsider having all your vehicles, your home, and even life insurance with one provider to get maximum discounts. Just about every provider will offer this.

Winter tires. Seasonal tires help you navigate icy Canadian roads more easily, so many insurance companies will give you a discount for having them.2

Safe driving rewards. Are you a good driver? Get rewarded for that! Many company’s offer usage-based insurance programs that monitor driving habits and rewards you with insurance discounts for safe driving.

You may not be getting the best value around.

While it’s natural to look at the bottom line for your auto insurance cost, remember to factor in all the perks and discounts you could be getting. That will show you the true value of your auto insurance.

Policy reviews are easy – especially when someone else does them.

Making sure you’re getting all of the above can feel overwhelming. The good news is that DPM Insurance Group’s team of brokers and CSRs will evaluate your current policy for free, even if it’s with another provider.

So what do you have to lose? Let DPM Insurance Group do the heavy lifting for you and you just may find out how you can be getting way more out of your auto insurance.

 

Source: CAA

Social media activity exposes many users to cyber risks

Nearly three quarters of people post information on social media that could make them vulnerable to a cyberattack, according to a new report from security company Tessian.

The report, titled “How to Hack a Human,” found that 84% of people post on their social media accounts every week, with 42% posting every day. Many of these people, Tessian found, are unwittingly revealing information that could help hackers launch social engineering or account takeover attacks.

The report included findings from a survey of 4,000 professionals, and interviews with hackers from the HackersOne community. It found that 50% of people share names and pictures of their children. Seventy-two percent mentioned birthday celebrations, and 81% of workers update their job statuses on social media.

Fifty-five percent of respondents said they had public profiles on Facebook, and only 32% said their Instagram accounts were private.

Hackers interviewed for the report said that cyber criminals use social media posts to help identify targets, and craft highly targeted and convincing social engineering attacks. For example, hackers can identify new joiners to LinkedIn and target them in phishing scams by impersonating a senior executive in the company, who the new joiner has likely never met. Cyber criminals can also use knowledge of who is in a target’s network to impersonate someone the target trusts in order to convince them to send money or share account credentials.

“Most people are very verbose about what they share online,” said Harry Denley, a hacker and security and anti-phishing expert at MyCrypto. “You can find virtually anything. Even if you can’t find it publicly, it’s easy enough to create an account to social engineer details or get behind some sort of wall. For example, you could become a ‘friend’ in their circle.”

The report also found that out-of-office emails are being used to craft social engineering attacks. Fifty-three percent of employees say they share how long they’ll be away in their out-of-office emails, 51% provide personal contact information, and 42% say where they’re going to be while they’re away.

“Out of Office messages – if detailed enough – can provide attackers with all the information they need to impersonate the person that’s out of the office, without the hacker having to do any real work,” said Katie Paxton-Fear, cybersecurity lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University and a member of the HackerOne community.

Social engineering attacks are becoming more frequent, according to Tessian. The company’s platform data revealed that social engineering attacks spiked by 15% during the second half of 2020 compared to the six months prior, while wire fraud attacks also rose by 15%. Eighty-eight percent of survey respondents said they had received a suspicious email in 2020. The survey also found that only 54% of respondents paid attention to a sender’s email address while at work, and less than half checked the legitimacy of links or attachments before responding.

“The rise of publicly available information makes a hacker’s job so much easier,” said Tim Sadler, co-founder and CEO of Tessian. “While all these pieces of information may seem harmless in isolation – a birthday post, a job update, a like – hackers will stitch them together to create a complete picture of their targets and make scams as believable as possible. Remember, hackers have nothing but time on their hands. We need to make securing data feel as normal as giving up data. We also need to help people understand how their information can be used against them in phishing attacks if we’re going to stop hackers hacking humans.”

 

Source: Insurancebusinessmag.com

Tenant insurance: what is it and who needs it?

One of the most common myths about insurance is that renters just don’t need it, plain and simple. Your landlord has insurance, so you’re covered, too…aren’t you?

Not to burst your bubble, but whoever started that rumor was terribly misinformed. In the event of a fire or extensive damage to your building, your landlord’s insurance would likely cover the walls around you and any major appliances that came with your unit, but everything else is on you. This is where tenant insurance comes in.

Tenant insurance, sometimes referred to as renter’s insurance, doesn’t just cover the items inside your rented space — it can protect you in ways you never even knew you needed. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest perks.

Sometimes accidents just happen, despite our best efforts to prevent them. Sometimes your puppy chews a slobbery hole in your best friend’s leather backpack while she’s supposed to be asleep in her crate. And sometimes you accidentally hit your teammate in the face with a baseball and break his nose…not to mention his designer sunglasses. With liability coverage, you won’t be stuck paying to replace Lena’s leather backpack or Shane’s shades, and Shane’s medical bills could even be covered, too. Thankfully, third-party liability coverage is a component of many tenant insurance policies, and it tags along with you wherever you go.

Everything you own — even outside of your home

You’re always on the go, and that’s why tenant insurance protects your stuff, wherever you may take it. When your designer gym bag is stolen from your locker — along with your new iPhone, your laptop, and all of your basketball gear — tenant insurance could have you covered. Without tenant insurance, you’d be stuck replacing it yourself. You may think you don’t own anything worth insuring, but your stuff might be worth more than you think.

Additional living expenses

If you need a place to stay while your landlord gets your apartment back in order (following a fire or water damage, for example), tenant insurance can put a roof over your head. Plus, you’ll probably be a little hungry after dealing with the stress of leaving your home in a hurry, and your renter’s insurance can even cover the costs of keeping you well fed until you can get back in the kitchen. Learn more about other expenses that may be covered under this section of your tenant insurance policy.

Replacement costs

Have you ever come home after a weekend getaway to find that your freezer has broken down and everything inside is rotten, including those steaks you were planning to cook up for that special someone? Without tenant insurance, you’d have to bite the bullet and replace those filets mignons — not to mention the rest of your groceries — on your own dime. But with tenant insurance, a foul smell will be your only worry. Learn more about replacement cost coverage and how it could affect you.

Identity theft

Identity theft is also covered under many tenant insurance policies. Your insurer could reimburse you for things like legal fees, the cost of sending certified mail, and the wages you lost when you had to miss work to resolve the issue. Identity theft coverage is just another way that tenant insurance protects you — the real you, that is.

Whether you’re a recent grad getting ready to rent your first apartment or a long-time renter who has never considered the value of having tenant insurance, talk with one of DPM Insurance Group’s licensed Brokers/CSRs to learn more about your options.

 

Source: Stephanie Fereiro for Economical Insurance

Seven tips for safer night driving

It’s no secret that driving at night can be more dangerous than driving during the day. When you’re fighting poor visibility, sleepiness, and distracted drivers, it can be a challenge to avoid all of the risks around you. While you’d likely rather stay off the road completely, there’s often no way to avoid driving in the dark.

Whether you’re a new driver or a seasoned veteran, you can use these practical tips to drive safely long after the sun goes down:

  1. Be extra defensive. The number one rule we’re taught in driving school is to always be defensive — you need to stay alert, follow all road rules and signs, and be ready to respond to other drivers who may do something unexpected. At night, you need to take your defensive driving up a level, because the chance of driving near an impaired or drowsy driver is higher than normal. While driving in the dark, keep a close eye on other vehicles, especially those that may be acting erratically, and always be ready to move your own vehicle out of harm’s way. And when driving in rural areas, keep an eye on the tree line for potential wildlife like deer and coyotes that like to come out after dark.
  2. Keep your windshield clean. When driving at night, you’ll easily notice all the grime that’s built up on your windshield throughout the course of the day, week, or month. Whether it’s salt, fingerprints, or an unlucky bug that got in your way, your visibility can be affected by what’s on your windshield, especially when daylight’s not on your side. Before leaving in the evening, always take some time to clean the outside of your windshield with your wipers and make sure your vehicle has enough windshield washer fluid for your trip. If your wipers aren’t cleaning your windshield as well as they should, it may be time to replace them.
  3. Keep your interior lights down low. Between dashboard lights, dash cameras, and GPS devices, the cabin of your vehicle can quickly become a bright and distracting place. When driving at night, you should turn the brightness of these devices down to the lowest practical setting. By dimming these devices, you’ll minimize reflections on your windows and your eyes will be able to adjust to the dark road ahead.
  4. Know when to use your high beams. Turning on your high beams is a great way to improve your visibility when driving at night, since they can increase your view of the road from 45 meters ahead to approximately 90 meters. But it’s also important that you remember not to keep them on all the time. You should only turn your high beams on when on rural or open roads, and you should always dim them if you see another vehicle approaching or when you’re driving behind someone else. If you always keep your high beams on, you risk temporarily blinding other drivers with your lights at close and medium range.
  5. Avoid looking into other vehicles’ headlights. While you’ll likely remember to dim your high beams for oncoming traffic from here on out, not all other drivers will do the same. To protect your eyes from the potentially blinding headlights of other drivers, look down and to the right while passing an oncoming vehicle with bright lights. You can use the edge of the road or other lane markings to make sure you stay safely in your lane until you’ve completely passed the oncoming vehicle.
  6. Drive a little slower than normal. When driving on an unlit or poorly lit road at night, you can only see as far as your headlights can reach. If you’re driving too fast, you won’t have enough time to react to oncoming threats and safely make an emergency stop. To protect yourself, your passengers, and other drivers at night, you should drive slower than the suggested daytime speed limit so you have more time to see and react to any surprises.
  7. Stay off the road if you’re tired. If you must drive late at night or in the early hours of the morning, you may try to power through feelings of tiredness or drowsiness. But being tired can affect your response time and increase your chances of being involved in an accident. If you can, avoid driving at all costs if you’re not feeling completely alert. If driving is unavoidable, make sure to take regular breaks to stretch and roll down your windows to get fresh air to stay awake. If you start to feel drowsy, pull over immediately.

These are just a few of the many things you can do to reduce your risk of getting into a collision while driving at night. But sometimes accidents happen, even when you’re taking extra safety measures to protect yourself and others.

If it’s been a while since you’ve reviewed your car insurance policy, contact one of DPM Insurance Group’s licensed Brokers/CSRs to make sure you have the coverage you need to protect you in the event of a collision.

 

Source: Annette Hynes for Economical Insurance

10 ways winter weather can damage your home

Winter weather in Canada can be unpredictable to say the least. In some areas, it’s not unusual to see extreme cold, freezing rain, snow squalls, windstorms, and a sunny day above zero degrees all in the same week. Unfortunately, drastic changes in weather and temperature can damage your home, so it’s important to take some precautionary measures to protect it.

Here are 10 common issues to watch out for this winter, plus tips to avoid damage to your home:

  1. Roof leaks. During the winter, poor insulation and ventilation in your roof can allow warm air to rise from the heated areas of your home and melt any snow that has built up on your roof. The melted snow can then drip down to the colder edge of the roof and refreeze, creating an ice dam. If an ice dam is left untreated, melting snow will continue to build up behind it. Since the middle of the roof is warmer, the melted snow won’t refreeze, and the remaining water can slowly seep under your shingles, causing leaks in your roof. To try to catch leaks caused by ice dams early (or prevent them altogether), you or a paid professional should inspect your roof annually for signs of damage.

 

  1. Fallen gutters. Ice dams can cause more than just leaks in your roof. In fact, heavy ice dams that build up along the edge of your roof can also pull down your gutters — even if they’re brand new. To prevent ice dams from building up and resting heavily on your gutters, consider installing electric heating cables or heat tape on the cold areas of your roof where you typically see ice starting to form.

 

  1. Peeling exterior paint. If you’ve recently painted your house’s wood siding, you may want to save any paint you have leftover for touch-ups in the spring. In areas with extreme temperature changes, tiny cracks can allow moisture from rain, ice, and snow to get between the paint and siding, potentially causing the paint to peel. Luckily, repainting your siding should seal the holes and protect your siding for another winter.

 

  1. Siding damage. In the case of painted wood siding, moisture buildup between the paint and the siding can cause the wood to rot. And vinyl siding isn’t completely safe, either — winter storms that come with hail or high winds can knock over trees, which can also crack your siding. If your wood or vinyl siding is damaged, you’ll need to replace the affected panels to prevent moisture from seeping into your home.

 

  1. Pulled caulking. Drastic changes in temperature during the winter don’t just damage exterior paint — they can also cause caulking to pull away from your windows, leaving gaps that let warm air out and cold air in. To avoid sending your furnace into overdrive and paying a hefty heating bill, inspect your windows once or twice a year and patch any cracks or gaps with fresh caulking.

 

  1. Mould growth. Thanks to melting snow, ice, and warm indoor temperatures, winter creates favourable conditions for mould growth. In areas like your attic, where warm air rises to meet the much colder roof, condensation can form on exposed wood and allow mould to grow. If you’ve recently sealed your windows, condensation that collects on the window can also contribute to mould growth along the base of the window and the wall. Proper insulation and ventilation are critical to stopping mould growth in its tracks.

 

  1. Foundation cracks. Over time, cracks in your home’s foundation can develop as it settles into the ground. During the winter, water can enter the small cracks in your foundation, causing them to expand more with each refreeze, which can eventually lead to costly repairs. To avoid more extensive and expensive damage, be sure to inspect your foundation every spring and seal any cracks you find.

 

  1. Driveway cracks. An asphalt driveway is prone to the same issue as your home’s foundation — water that collects in small cracks in the asphalt can freeze and expand, creating a maze of potholes in your driveway. To keep your asphalt driveway in tip-top shape, consider sealing cracks and holes with tar when the weather warms up.

 

  1. Sump pump failure. If you live in a rural area or a region prone to flooding, you likely have a sump pumpin your house. A sump pump picks up water from your basement and pumps it away from your home’s foundation, usually into a drainage ditch or a storm sewer system, in the event of a flood. During the winter, your sump pump discharge hose — which is outside your home and sometimes above ground — can freeze, making it unusable in the event of a flood. Consider buying an extra discharge hose to have as a backup in case your existing hose is frozen or damaged. It’s also important to note that your sump pump relies on electricity to work. In the event of a weather-related power outage, having a battery backup system or generator in place can give you peace of mind that everything is running smoothly.

 

  1. Frozen pipes. Water pipes in your basement, attic, or other colder areas of your home are also susceptible to freezing in the winter. When water freezes and expands inside a pipe, it can cause small leaks at the pipe’s joint or create a much larger crack along the pipe. When the water thaws, it can burst the pipe and spill directly into your home. It’s easy to winterize exposed pipes by lining the outside with heating tape. You can also prevent pipes from freezing by keeping your thermostat at a consistent temperature day and night. And if you’ll be away from home for an extended period during the winter, you should shut off your water and drain your pipes to prevent them from freezing and bursting while you’re away.

While most home insurance policies exclude damage caused by regular wear and tear and maintenance issues, there are certain cases where your home insurance may have your back in the event of a winter mishap. Contact one of DPM Insurance Groups licensed Brokers/CSRs to find out how your own policy may or may not respond if your home is damaged in the winter.

 

Source: Annette Hynes for Economical Insurance

 

Risk Management

You can help control the cost of your insurance premiums and improve your business operations by adopting risk management strategies. Risk awareness and mitigation activities can add up to a safer workplace as well as positive brand recognition.

What Is Risk?

Risk, in insurance terms, is the possibility that a loss or other adverse event may potentially interfere with an organization’s ability to fulfill its objectives. Risk is also an event for which an insurance claim may be submitted.

Why Manage Risk?

Regardless of the size of your business, risk management strategies are essential because:

  • People are now more likely to sue in the event of even a minor occurrence. Taking the steps to reduce injuries could help in defending against a claim.
  • Courts are often sympathetic to injured claimants and often give them the benefit of the doubt.
  • Organizations as well as individuals who give professional advice are held to very high standards.
  • People are more aware of the level of service that they can expect, and the recourse they can take if they have been wronged.
  • Corporate and non-profit organizations are often being held directly liable for the actions of their employees, volunteers and directors and officers.
  • Big businesses are perceived as having deep pockets, many assets and high insurance policy limits. Corporations are sometimes targeted with inflated or fraudulent claims.

Insurance and Risk Management Can Help Improve Business Operations

Insurance is also a valuable risk-financing tool. Few organizations have the reserves or funds necessary to take on all risk themselves and pay the total costs following a loss. Purchasing insurance, however, is not a complete risk management plan.

A thorough and thoughtful risk management plan is the commitment to prevent harm. Risk management also addresses many risks that are not insurable, including brand integrity, potential loss of tax-exempt status for volunteer groups, public goodwill and continuing donor support. By integrating risk prevention activities into your annual operations plan, you may improve efficiencies and increase capacity.

Bottom-Line Benefits of Managing Risk

Risk management provides a clear and structured approach to identifying risks. Understanding all known and anticipated risks allows an organization to measure and prioritize them as well as take the appropriate actions to reduce the potential for losses. An organization with an effective risk management plan in place can also:

  • Save resources such as time, assets, income, property and people
  • Protect its reputation and public image
  • Prevent or reduce legal liability and increase the stability of operations
  • Protect people from harm
  • Protect the environment
  • Enhance its ability to prepare for circumstances that could interrupt business
  • Reduce liabilities
  • Assist in clearly defining insurance needs

While it’s not possible to eliminate all potential risks, a risk management plan demonstrates your organization’s commitment to loss reduction and prevention. Ultimately, it can make your organization a better risk to insure. Talk to one of DPM Insurance Groups licensed brokers for specific advice about coverage and risk management best practices that suit your business needs.

Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada

Make sure you’re covered before you start to plow

Baby it’s cold outside… and if you live in Windsor-Essex or Chatham-Kent, you woke up this morning to what can only be described as the nastiest dumping of snow we’ve experienced in two winters.

If you own an ATV or a tractor and have a snowplow blade for it, you might be tempted to use it to make a few extra bucks over the next couple of days. Even if you’re not charging for the service, it’s important to understand the liability you are exposing yourself to if something unforeseen happens while you’re out battling the drifts.

Now, if you’re plowing your own driveway, and have proper insurance, you’re going to be covered if, let’s say, you accidentally dragged the blade along the side of your wife’s vehicle. Nothing in your policy will keep you from sleeping on the couch for a few nights, but your policy will likely cover the cost to repair the damage. It’s when you leave your own property to plow someone else’s driveway where things can get fuzzy… especially if you’re charging a fee for your services.

If you charge money to clean driveways, unless you specifically purchase a commercial liability policy, and live in an area where it’s even legal to be off your own property with your ATV, you’ll be out of pocket for any damages or injury you cause. This could even be the case when performing a good Samaritan act and plowing someone else’s driveway for free. The same goes for tractors.

Make sure you understand the legalities of operating an ATV anywhere other than your personal property as they apply to your municipality – they can differ significantly from place to place. And if you think you might find yourself in a position to be cleaning other people’s driveways for them, it’s best to check with your insurance broker to ensure that you’re actually covered in the event something goes amiss.

10 changes your home insurance company needs to know about

From making your final mortgage payment to starting a home-based business, there are certain changes you need to share with your insurer to make sure you have the right coverage and you’re paying the right price. It’s important to note many changes affect your risk level in different ways, so failing to share them with your insurer could lead to a denied claim or even a cancelled policy down the road – so it’s always best to go for full disclosure.

If you’re planning on making any of these changes to your home (or even if you’ve already made a change but haven’t yet reported it), contact your home insurance broker or your insurer and let them know:

Paying off your mortgage. When you have a mortgage, you’re typically required to add your mortgage lender as a loss payee on your home insurance policy. If you no longer have a mortgage on your property, your insurer needs to remove your old mortgage lender from your policy. Being mortgage-free may also qualify you for a discount on your home insurance.

Getting a new roof. Damage to your roof can lead to leaky ceilings, dangerous mould, and even structural damage to other areas of your home – so it’s important to regularly inspect your roof and replace it when necessary. Replacing your roof could reduce your risk of experiencing certain types of home insurance claims, so it could also lead to a reduction in your premium.

Planning for a major renovation. While there are many types of renovations that won’t typically affect your home insurance (like painting walls or changing carpets), others could impact your premium or compromise your coverage (like structural changes, for example). Plus, if you’re planning to move out while your home is being renovated, there may be special changes in coverage you need to know about ahead of time. Reach out to your broker before you get started.

Renting out your home or part of your home. Whether you take on a permanent renter or list part or all of your home as a short-term rental, you’ll need to make sure your insurer knows. Depending on the situation, you may be required to modify your existing home insurance policy or purchase a dedicated landlord insurance policy to make sure you’re fully protected.

Taking an extended vacation. If you’re going to be away for longer than a couple of weeks, your insurance company will likely have specific rules that outline measures you’ll need to take when you’re gone (like how often you’ll need to have someone come in and inspect your home, for example). Review your policy to find out what’s required, let your broker or insurer know how long you’ll be away.

Getting a pool or hot tub. Adding a pool or hot tub to your yard increases the risk that someone may get injured while on your property. Your insurance company may require you to add a specific to your policy stating that you’ll be covered for incidents related to the pool. Even if this type of endorsement isn’t required by your insurer, it’s still a good idea to make sure your third-party liability coverage limit is high enough to protect you in the event of an incident.

Making a big purchase or receiving a valuable gift. Most home insurance policies list special limits or exclusions for big-ticket items like jewelry, bicycles, fur items, fine art, and collectibles. If you buy or receive an item that exceeds the relevant limit in your policy or an item that’s excluded from your policy, contact your broker to find out how you can get the coverage you need.

Installing a new heating system. Updating or changing your home’s heating system could affect your insurance, so it’s important to consult your insurer beforehand. Certain types of heating systems (like wood stoves and pellet stoves, for example) may come with a higher risk of fire or other issues, which could affect the cost of your insurance or even your eligibility for coverage. Other heating systems could lower your risk and lead to a reduction in your premium.

Getting married or having a partner move in. Not only will you likely have a lot more stuff to insure after someone else moves in, but your insurer may also require you to name your partner or spouse on your home insurance policy. Depending on your insurer, there are a few other factors that might come into play if you aren’t married to your partner when they move in (like the amount of time you’ve been together and whether or not they’re paying rent), so it’s best to contact your broker to make sure you’re both protected.

Starting a home-based businessWhether you’re planning on starting a home-based accounting business or selling mittens made from recycled sweaters, it’s important to know you’ll be covered if the unexpected happens. Depending on the type of business you plan to launch, you might be able to add a home-based business endorsement to your home insurance policy – but in some cases, you may need a dedicated commercial insurance policy.

While these are some of the most common things you need to share with your home insurer, each company will have its own unique requirements when it comes to disclosing changes. If you’re not sure whether or not something needs to be reported, it’s worth contacting your broker just to be safe.

Source: Stephanie Fereiro for economical.com

What happens if you get into a car accident outside of business hours?

If your vehicle has been damaged in a collision, one of the first things you should do is contact your insurance company, no matter what time it is. Most insurance companies have phone lines that are open 24/7, but you might find that the type of service provided is different outside of typical “business hours.” That’s because late-night or early-morning calls are often handled by external companies that operate differently from internal claims teams.

We’ve got answers to some common questions about what you can expect if you get into a collision outside of business hours.

If it’s outside of business hours, do you still have to report the collision to your insurance company right away?

Yes, you should still report a collision to your insurer as soon as it happens, regardless of what time it is or whether or not your vehicle is safe to drive. If your insurer outsources its claims calls after hours, the representative you speak to should be able to log the details of your claim and advise you on what to do next — but generally speaking, they won’t have access to your specific policy information, so they can’t confirm details about your coverage. After your insurer’s office opens again, a claims representative will contact you to get your claim started as soon as possible.

Can you continue driving your vehicle while you wait to hear from your insurance company?

If you get into a collision outside of business hours, you probably won’t be able to get the repair process rolling until your insurer’s office is open again. The good news is you can continue using your vehicle in the meantime, as long as it’s still safe to drive. If you’re planning on driving, you need to be sure that none of your vehicle’s safety features have been compromised. Here are five questions you should answer “yes” to before you get back in your car after a collision:

Is your vehicle free of fluid leaks?

Are your headlights and taillights still working properly?

Are all of your mirrors intact?

Does steering and braking feel right?

Is your hood still able to securely close?

If you can’t answer yes to all of these questions or you have another reason to believe your vehicle may not be safe to drive (if the airbags have deployed or there’s damage to the wheels, for example), it’s better to stay off the roads until you can have it inspected by a professional.

What should you do if you have to get your vehicle towed?

If your vehicle is no longer safe to drive, you can either have it towed to one of your insurance company’s preferred repair facilities or a repair facility of your choice. If you’re going to have your vehicle towed, be sure to read the paperwork provided by the driver carefully before you sign it. Make sure that you’re only agreeing to pay to tow your vehicle to the location of your choice, not signing a work order or agreeing to have your vehicle repaired by a specific facility.

You should also make sure the quoted cost is reasonable – your insurer’s claims line should be able to look into this for you if you’re not sure. Keep the receipt, as you’ll need to provide it to your insurance company so they can reimburse you if your policy includes coverage for towing.

Can you rent a vehicle while you wait for your insurance company to start processing your claim?

If your vehicle is no longer safe to drive and your insurance policy includes coverage for rental costs following a collision, it’s probably safe to go ahead and rent a vehicle comparable to your own. Most insurance companies will allow you to rent a vehicle until they can return your call and start processing your claim. When their office opens again, your insurer will contact you and give you further instructions.

It’s important to note that these are general rules that many insurance companies follow, but every company and situation is different. Also, the information in this article may not apply if you’ve broken the law or violated any of the terms in your car insurance policy. Review your policy or talk to your licensed broker if you have questions about your own coverage, your insurer’s processes, or what you should do in a specific situation.

Source: Stephanie Fereiro for economical.com

Blenheim Office

24 Marlborough St. N., Box 479
Blenheim, ON N0P1A0

Phone: 519-676-8159
Fax: 519-676-0020

Chatham Office

250 St. Clair St.
Chatham, ON N7L 3J9

Phone: 519-352-4343
Toll Free: 1-800-561-4949
Fax: 519-352-6484

Essex Office

29 Talbot St. N, Box 69
Essex, ON N8M 2Y1

Phone: 519-776-6457
Fax: 519-776-7400

Harrow Office

65 King St. W., Box 790
Harrow, ON N0R 1G0

Phone: 519-738-2277
Fax: 519-738-2279

Tilbury Office

59 Mill St. E, Box 1239
Tilbury, ON N0P 2L0

Phone: 519-682-0202
Fax: 519-682-2391

Wallaceburg Office

403 Wellington St.
Wallaceburg, ON N8A 2Y2

Phone: 519-627-1777