Taking in a boarder can affect your home insurance

There are plenty of different reasons people might consider taking a boarder into their home. Maybe you have a young relative going to school near where you live. It could be you’re looking to offset the cost of your monthly mortgage or rent. Whatever the reason, it’s a good idea to check with your broker or home insurance provider to find out if taking in a boarder will affect your home insurance.

Let’s say your niece or nephew is coming to live with you for the school year. The majority of insurance companies include coverage for family members under a policy. But the definition of “family” can differ from company to company. At DPM Insurance Group, our brokers and CSRs are available to help you make sure your policy provides the coverage you think it does, and you don’t find out too late that your offer to assist your brother’s child make the transition to college or university leaves you exposed to liabilities if something happens.

Keep the scenario relatively the same, but that young student is the child of a close friend, not family.

You really should inform your insurance company that the number of people living in your house or apartment has changed because you have taken on a boarder.

That student’s personal property – laptop, television, clothes, or whatever else they bring while staying with you WILL NOT be covered under your homeowner’s or tenant’s policy. They will need to get their own insurance to ensure what they bring is protected in the event of a mishap.

Keep in mind though that most insurance companies provide personal property and liability coverage for a relative or dependent under the age of 25 who is living away from home to attend school, college or university. So, the student may be covered under their parents’ homeowner’s policy, and it should be easy enough for their parents check with their insurer.

What if the student gets injured?

Liability coverage is to protect you when you accidentally injure someone else or damage their property, not to protect you from injury in your own home. So, if your student is family and covered by your policy, they would not get liability coverage for bodily injury (just like your policy doesn’t cover you if you injure yourself). But if the boarder is not related to you and paying rent, and they’re injured and sue you, you would be covered for the liability in that case.

How many boarders am I allowed to have in my home?

Again, the answer to this question is going to vary from insurer to insurer, with each insurance company having its own guidelines regarding the number of boarders. Many allow a maximum of two renters who aren’t relatives. If you have more than two people staying in your home your insurance company might consider the home to be a boarding house, which would require a commercial property policy to ensure you are adequately covered.

What if I rent out my whole basement?

If there’s a separate entrance and you’re charging rent, your policy needs to be changed to cover it. A rental suite is considered a separate premises, and will need to be insured differently than your primary location, which in this case would be the main part of your house.

What if I don’t tell my insurance company and something happens?

Your insurance policy is a contract, and if you do something that’s outside of the contract specifics, you might not be covered. That’s why your best bet is always to contact your insurance broker or carrier before you decide to rent out space. It’s easy enough to find out about your coverage options before you make decisions.

 

Source: CAA

When Your Home Insurance Might Not Pay Out

You may believe your property insurance is going to cover anything and everything that happens to your home, but this isn’t necessarily the case. There are circumstances when your insurer may not pay out your claim completely, or even reject your claim or cancel your coverage altogether. The following are some examples of those types of circumstances you need to be aware of.

Missed Payments

Insurance coverage is contingent on you paying your premiums. If you fail to pay your premiums, you’re taking a chance of having your policy and coverage cancelled.

Causing deliberate damage or using your home for illegal activities

No brainer you say? Though most people would this this is obvious, trashing your home on purpose is not covered by your home insurance. If anyone living in the house causes intentional damage, you’ll be the one left to pay the repair bills. The same is true if it’s found that illegal activities are going on in the house.

Neglecting regular maintenance

Damage caused by a leaky roof or blocked gutter isn’t always covered, as you’re expected to keep your home in good repair. Additionally, home insurance does not provide coverage for essential maintenance. For example, if your roof is simply old and needs to be replaced, insurance isn’t going to cover the cost of replacing it.

Closing your eyes to unwelcome visitors

Mice and other pests can get a hold of your insulation or wiring and cause significant damage to your home. The same goes for skunks and other wildlife known to shack up under porches or sheds. Insurance policies typically do not cover damage caused by rodents or pests, since controlling such pests is considered regular maintenance and upkeep.

Upgrading your home

When you add an extension to the house, finish the basement, or put a pool in the backyard, you’re increasing the replacement value of your home. Your insurer must be informed of any major renovations to ensure you have adequate coverage because you’re only covered for the replacement value outlined in your policy. If they’re unaware of the $60,000 addition you built since your last renewal, it won’t be covered in the event of a total loss.

Running a business out of your home

Many people think a home-based business is automatically insured under the liability and contents coverage of a home insurance policy. But that’s not the case. However, most insurers offer a home business extension to ensure you are protected. A home business extension would protect your office equipment, inventory, and your home if something were to happen because of your home business operation. It also includes liability coverage for any clients or delivery personnel coming to your home for business purposes.

Owning a dog considered dangerous

Some insurance policies may exclude liability protection against dog attacks, especially by certain “aggressive” breeds. Even if your dog is friendly and has never bitten anyone before, don’t wait until after the fact to find out if you’re covered. Contact your insurance broker to know for sure.

Having more than one family living in a single-family dwelling

If you tell your insurance provider that your home is a single-family dwelling when it is actually a multi-family home, not only do you run the risk of having a claim denied, but possibly losing your home insurance altogether.

Ensure you’re insured

Home insurance is there for you when you need it, so you don’t want to jeopardize the validity of your insurance policy. A good rule-of-thumb is to contact your broker when there are major changes to the property and to review your policy annually to ensure it matches your needs. It’s also a good idea to compare home insurance quotes as different insurers may offer different coverage limits, and it’s important to see how you can get the best coverage at the best price available.

 

Source: Insurancehotline

What to do if you’re in a minor fender bender?

Have you ever been involved in a minor fender bender and wondered: “What am I supposed to do now”?

Once you’ve made sure everyone is safe, exchanged information and notified police, your next step is to call your insurance company. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may wonder if you should call your insurance company at all. Will your premium go up because of a minor fender bender? What happens if you don’t report the accident to your insurance company?

Keep reading to learn when to call your insurance company and why it’s important.

Why you must report a minor accident to your insurance company

It’s prudent to call your insurance company or broker in the event of a car accident, even if it’s minor. Your broker and insurance company will help you follow the process that takes place after an accident occurs. Here are a few reasons why calling your insurance company, can benefit you:

Damage and injuries are not always seen immediately

If you’re involved in a fender bender, you may think you are looking at a few hundred dollars to replace a bumper. However, once you get it into the shop, you learn that because of the make and model of your car, it will cost closer to a few thousand. As well, injuries may not be apparent until days or weeks later. If you haven’t reported the incident and there is no police report to back it up, the other driver involved could claim the collision never happened.

Your insurance company can help you with the repairs

Sometimes it takes a while for insurance companies to settle a claim. By reporting an accident with another vehicle to your insurance company (even if it was not your fault), your coverage will allow you to seek immediate repairs to your vehicle rather than waiting until any dispute is settled. In addition, your insurance company and advisor will advocate for a fair claims settlement.

The other party may not have proper insurance

If another party is involved and that driver doesn’t have car insurance – and you haven’t reported an accident to your insurance company – you could be on the hook for all expenses on your own. If you report the incident to your insurance company in a timely manner, you could be compensated through uninsured coverage, but there is a deductible of $300 and a limit of $25,000.

Calling your insurance company is different from filing a claim

There is a difference between calling your insurance company to report an accident and filing a claim. By reporting the accident, you will be covered if the damage or injuries are significant. For example: imagine you have an accident and it appears there are no injuries – just a ‘ding’ to your rear bumper. A few days later, whiplash symptoms develop and you need to visit the doctor. You later learn that the ‘ding’ took out an important sensor that’s part of the driver-assist technology. You could go from expecting to pay a few hundred dollars to paying expenses several times that amount.

In addition, if another party involved files a claim with their insurance company and you don’t, your insurance company will still be notified and the claim will be opened anyway. It’s best to be honest even if the damage is minor and you don’t need to file a claim.

Call to learn more

If you are in an accident and you notify your insurance company directly, remember to give your insurance broker a call to let them know what happened. They can also provide advice and answer any questions about the claims process.

 

Source: BrokerLink

Theft prevention tips for your store

Regardless of their size, the risk of theft and shoplifting is a challenge that many retail store owners contend with on a daily basis. Owning a store is a big investment of time and money. You want to keep your store protected so here are a few theft-prevention tips that can help you manage the risks and offer an extra layer of safety to you, your employees, and your customers.

Establish a theft prevention strategy

Whether your store has been a long-time fixture in the community or it’s the new kid on the block, a theft prevention strategy is a necessary first step. So, what does a theft prevention strategy look like for your store?

Any decent theft prevention strategy should include the following:

  • Clearly documented policies and procedures.
  • Your goal – is it to prosecute or just get the merchandise back?
  • Your tolerance policy. Will you prosecute those under 18? Is there a minimum dollar amount?
  • How to confront a thief.
  • What to do if the thief shows remorse or offers to pay?
  • Who will call the police, and when?
  • Detailed deterrence techniques, including excellent customer service and security systems.
  • A strong employee training program. Training your staff for theft prevention is your best defense.
  • An emergency contact list.
  • An updated employee work schedule. This can act as supporting documentation should you need witness statement or if you suspect internal theft.

How to identify suspicious behaviour

Excellent customer service training alongside theft prevention training, is key. When you have dedicated and engaged staff, who are eager to help and support your customers, they also can keep an eye on what is happening in the store and are more likely to identify a shoplifter.

It’s important to remember that all customers regardless of financial circumstance, age, gender, and race, must be treated equally; profiling is strongly discouraged.

Watch for common practices that thieves’ use to identify potential theft, for example: Keep an eye out for accomplices used to distract employees.

Thieves may use a variety of tactics beyond hiding merchandise and leaving the store, including switching price tags (check for loose price tags), and making fraudulent returns. When staff are very familiar with inventory, this can help to spot any suspicious acts at the cash register.

Thieves may use items like strollers, umbrellas, handbags or bulky coats to hide stolen goods. Create a procedure to address how to approach when a customer enters your store with these items in tow.

Thieves may look around a lot to make sure no one is watching them. They may also avoid eye contact. A tactic involving aggressive customer service can help identify or deter a thief in these cases.

In clothing stores, thieves may bring many clothes into the dressing room to conceal items under their clothing. Having staff who closely monitor dressing rooms and consistently check in with customers as they try on clothes, can help deter shoplifters.

Prevent theft with thoughtful store design

In addition to staff training, store design can help with theft prevention.

When we think of theft prevention, security cameras and security personnel immediately come to mind. There are a variety of technology that can assist with theft prevention and security, including installing cameras and or a security tag system. Do your research to learn what works best for your store and your budget.

Additional affordable ways to use store design to deter thieves are as follows:

  • Keep shelves and aisles well organized. Design your store to ensure maximum visibility – use short displays or shelving to allow for increased visibility in aisles. Remove clutter and avoid overcrowding shelves.
  • Install mirrors, especially convex mirrors that expose the hidden areas of your store. Stock these hidden areas with bulky items that are difficult to steal.
  • Place your checkout counter so it’s located where customers must pass by to exit the store.
  • Place valuable items in locked cases that require employee assistance to access the items.
  • Place the dressing room in a high traffic area and use features like short doors where feet can be seen. Install signage inside the dressing room to warn against shoplifting.
  • Ensure your store is well-lit, including during the winter when the days are shorter and it’s darker in the evenings.
  • You may consider installing fake security cameras as an affordable way to deter opportunistic shoplifters from taking action.

In the end, the best security is your employees – the more a customer feels they are being watched, the less likely they will attempt to steal. This is especially important for small business that lack the budget for security staff and equipment.

An added layer of protection: business insurance for your store

Theft is a risk for all business owners. Being proactive and putting the tips provided in place, can help your efforts to deter thieves. An added layer of protection is your business insurance coverage. Check in with your broker to ensure you have the proper coverage when it comes to theft and loss prevention.

Theft Prevention FAQs

How should I handle a robbery in my retail store?

Being caught in a theft or robbery can be a terrifying experience. Thorough training on the store’s policies and procedures is vital to ensuring that employees remain calm in these situations. Don’t take action that could jeopardize your safety or the safety of your employees and customers. Be sure to take a good look at the thief and make note of any details that may be useful to the police. Call the police as soon as the thieves leave the premises and hold all witnesses until the police arrive. Jot down as much information as possible to ensure you don’t forget key details.

Is it illegal to frisk suspicious customers?

You could be charged with assault if you apprehend a customer physically, however, there are certain steps you can take, that should be incorporated into your theft prevention policy. We recommend you speak with your local police division as they offer programs and protocols to support shop owners. If you are in a shopping mall, discuss the protocols with mall security – they usually also work closely with the local police division.

 

Source: Broker Link

Can you cancel a car insurance claim?

If you’re wondering if it’s possible to cancel a car insurance claim after filing one, you aren’t the only one. In fact, it’s common to wonder whether you need to go through the whole claims process, especially if the damage to your vehicle is minor.

Once you file a claim, your insurance company reviews the damage and circumstances to determine reimbursement. Sometimes, at this point, a driver learns the cost to repair the damage is less than the deductible and wonder: is it too late to cancel?

Is it possible to cancel a car insurance claim?

You can cancel an insurance claim, though it might depend how far along you are in the process and who else is involved. There are plenty of reasons why someone might want to cancel a claim. The most common one is finding out that the deductible is around the same amount as the damages, so repairing it yourself may make more sense.

Here are some other things that may impact whether or not you can cancel a claim:

Your policy terms

Some polices obligate you to disclose any accident to your insurer. You don’t have to make a claim, but you must let your insurer know. This is important if you’re in an accident involving another party. If the other party reports the accident, your insurance company is likely to find out. Having the accident recorded in the system may help you. Always read the fine print and ask your insurance advisor any questions you have to know where you stand.

If you are the at-fault driver of an accident

If you are at-fault, the claim must stay opened until it’s fully resolved with the other party. This may be a lengthy process, especially if the other side reported injuries and is seeking medical treatment. While you may be able to cancel the claim to repair your damaged car, it will still have to remain open until the other individual has recovered from personal injury.

Filing an insurance claim

Filing a claim may seem scary. At DPM Insurance Group we encourage clients to contact us before filing a claim if possible, so we can explain your policy terms; how filing a claim may impact your rates and provide additional guidance. The value a broker provides is that we can give you a professional opinion before getting your insurance company involved, and you can ask us your questions with peace of mind.

Here are a few important tips to know when starting this process:

  • Have all the important and relevant informationabout the accident available when you call.
  • Review your car insurance policy as the insurance company will pay for the specific damages/losses outlined

Check your insurance policy for the following terms and conditions:

  • Any exclusions, losses or events that are not covered
  • The specific process that you must follow in the event of a claim
  • Any time limits for how long you have to submit your claim
  • Your ability to cancel a claim and if there are timelines associated to it

Before filing a home or car insurance claim, consider your options:

  • By making a claim, your premiumsmay increase in the future or when you renew your policy.
  • Switching insurance providers will not remove a claim as it’s kept on your file for a number of years.
  • Some insurance companies provide discounts to customers who are claims-free, so you may keep this discount by maintaining this status.
  • If your claim is around the same cost as your deductible, you’ll have to decide whether it’s worth it to go through insurance or just pay for the loss yourself. If your deductible is $1,000 and the claims is $1,100, insurance will reimburse you for $100. However, in the long term you may pay more than that in premium increases.

If you decide to make a claim, here are some steps that will help:

  • Contact your insurance brokerage as soon as possible, to prepare to file the claim.
  • Many insurance companies have time limits within which you must submit your claim, so check your terms and conditions for your policy time limit.
  • Provide your brokerage with all supporting documents as required. These may include an accident report (auto claim), a death certificate (life insurance claim), photos etc.

Once a claim is submitted, your insurance company will review your policy and let you know if the claim is valid under the terms of your contract. In some cases, the insurance company may look into your claim to ensure there is no fraudulent activity taking place. During a claim investigation, your insurance company may ask you to provide:

  • Any medical records
  • Police reports
  • Other applicable information to verify your loss

From there, your insurance company will use that information to determine if your claim will be paid out.

Reasons why people cancel their insurance claims

There are several common reasons why people decide to cancel a claim:

The deductible is high. If the deductible costs more than the damage itself, it doesn’t make sense to pursue a claim. However, sometimes you don’t know the repair costs until after you file a claim.

You cannot pay the deductible. Paying the deductible is often a requirement that many insurance companies have before they issue a full payout for the rest of your claim. If you don’t have enough money set aside for this cost, one option is to cancel the claim and deal with the damages sometime in the future.

Is there a record of my insurance claim after I cancel?

Cancelling a claim does not remove the incident from your record. Insurance companies will still have a claim logged within their database, even if your cancelled claim resulted in zero payout, as you had a reason to file in the first place. Many insurance companies will not raise your rates for cancelling a claim, but it stays on your file.

Before making a claim, customers are encouraged to contact their broker who will review your policy and provide guidance, including: insights into your deductible, how a claim may impact you in the future and more. Insurance brokers are licensed experts who can walk you through your options so you can decide what works best for you before getting insurance companies involved.

What if I’m in an accident and I contact the insurance company before my broker?

Depending on the nature and location of the accident, it may not always be possible to contact your broker before contacting the insurance company to report the accident. This is ok – just be sure to contact your broker at your earliest opportunity.

How long does the insurance claims process take?

The time it takes to file and process a claim varies depending on the damage and the number of people involved. The more parties involved may result in more back and forth with other insurance companies, which can prolong the settlement process.

 

Source: Broker Link

Tips for dealing with tow trucks during a car accident

You’ve been in an accident. If you believe your vehicle is not safe to drive – or aren’t really sure – you might need a tow truck. Consider these suggestions for proactively protecting your vehicle and personal property.

Determine whether your vehicle actually needs to be towed

Chances are you’re going to be a bit flustered after the accident. The most important thing is to ensure your safety, the safety of any passengers and assess the severity of anyone’s injuries (if there are any). From there, you need to determine whether or not your vehicle is safe enough to drive.

This five-point checklist will help you determine whether a tow truck needs to be called or not.

  • Is your vehicle free of fluid leaks?
  • Are your headlights and taillights working properly?
  • Does the steering and braking feel normal?
  • Can you close the hood of your vehicle properly?
  • Are all of your mirrors intact?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, or you believe that your vehicle is unsafe to drive for another reason, you’re going to want to your roadside assistance service if you have one, or consider using an independent towing company. You might even want to contact your insurance company who can refer you to one of their preferred towing services.

How to prepare your vehicle for towing

If you end up using an independent towing company, follow this list to prepare your vehicle.

  • Before anyone moves your vehicle, take detailed photos of any external damage.
  • Photograph the inside of your vehicle, especially if there has been damage to personal property like laptops, phones, and car seats.
  • Record the date, time, location, your speed, road and weather conditions.
  • Snap photos of the scene, in particular the’ position and direction of all cars involved, and nearby traffic signs.
  • Remove all valuables and necessities from your car.
  • Obtain the tow truck company’s details.

The tow truck has arrived. Now what?

Before you sign any documentation or allow your vehicle to be towed, collect as many details about the towing company as possible including the name, address and phone number, the driver’s name and the registration number of the tow truck.

Here are a few other things you should do once the tow truck arrives:

  • Ensure the tow truck you call is the one that shows up.
  • Let the driver know exactly where you want your vehicle dropped off.
  • Take the time to review the paperwork provided by the tow truck operator before you sign anything or make a payment. Stay involved, even if the operator offers to take care of everything for you.
  • Call your insurance provider to determine if the cost is covered under your policy.
  • Know you are not in any way obligated to pay in cash.
  • Keep the receipt and any paperwork provided by the driver. Paper trails provide proof if there is a dispute later.
  • Take a photo once the driver or operator lifts your car onto the tow truck.
  • Taking the time to collect this information and document the scene could save you time and money down the road, should a claim arise as a result of a negligent towing company or operator.
  • Be wary of tow truck scams. Most towing companies are legitimate, but some individuals engage in fraudulent activity.

If you haven’t already, call your insurance company as soon as you can. Your insurance company will have someone ready to assist you in its claims department. Along with telling you whether towing is covered under your policy, they can also help you navigate the rental car process and collect the information of the body shop or car dealership where your vehicle will be towed, to ensure an appraiser can assess the damages.

The insurance company will notify your broker about the accident and claim. At DPM Insurance Group, our professional brokers and CSRs are here to help our clients navigate each step in the claims process to ensure it is progressing as it is supposed to.

Some Towing FAQs

Does all car insurance cover towing after an accident? Not necessarily.

Your coverage is dependent on what you purchased on your policy. For your insurance company to cover the cost of a tow due to an accident, you’ll need to have collision or an all-perils coverage on your policy. Check your car insurance policy and call your broker if you wish to make a change or have questions.

Is it mandatory for me to pay in cash before a tow truck shows up? No.

In fact, tow truck operators cannot insist on cash payments. Accepting payment by credit card is encouraged because it creates a paper trail, which can help settle payment disagreements between you and the towing company.

Source: Broker Link

A guide to household fire extinguishers

Fire is one of the leading causes of home insurance claims – fortunately, it’s also one of the most preventable. Whether you rent or own your home, it’s a good idea to have a fire extinguisher on hand, learn how to use it before you need to, and keep it properly maintained so it works if you ever have to reach for it.

How do fire extinguishers work?

There are four main elements essential to any fire: heat, oxygen (or another oxidizing agent), fuel, and a chemical reaction. To put it simply, a fire extinguisher releases a chemical or other fire-suppressant material that gets rid of at least one of these essential elements – putting an end to the fire. The ingredients used in fire extinguishers vary depending on the type of fire you’re dealing with, but the most common ingredients include water, sodium bicarbonate (known in your kitchen as baking soda), and carbon dioxide.

How do you use a fire extinguisher?

A fire extinguisher contains a limited amount of extinguishing agent and it can run out in a matter of seconds, so you should only ever use one on a small fire. You’ll need to act fast once you pull the trigger, too.

If a fire breaks out and it looks small enough to manage on your own – without endangering yourself or others -— grab your fire extinguisher. Then, stand about three metres away from the fire (between the room’s nearest exit and the fire) and begin the “PASS” technique:

  • Pull out the locking pin to unlock the operating lever.
  • Aim the nozzle or hose at the base of the fire – at the fuel, not the flame.
  • Squeeze the trigger handle all the way to release the extinguishing chemical.
  • Sweep the nozzle or hose from side to side and from front to back, across the base of the fire.

It’s worth noting that while most fire extinguishers work with the PASS method, some require different steps. Be sure to read the instruction manual that came with your extinguisher for specific directions.

Where should you keep your fire extinguisher?

Store your fire extinguisher close to your escape route, in a location where it will be easily accessible if you need to grab it in a hurry. Whether it’s mounted on the wall or placed on a shelf, it should always be stored in plain view, away from potential fire hazards, and between a likely fire location (like your stove, for example) and the room’s exit. Never store your fire extinguisher in a location that would result in the fire blocking your exit while you try to put it out.

Consider placing at least one fire extinguisher on each level of your home, especially in areas where a fire is most likely to break out, like the kitchen, your workshop, the garage, and rooms with fireplaces or wood stoves.

Fires are grouped into classes based on the materials or substances that are present, and different fire extinguishers are required for each class of fire. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) lists the five fire classes as follows:

  • Class A: Fires involving ordinary combustibles such as paper, wood, cloth, rubber, or plastics.
  • Class B: Fires involving flammable or combustible liquids, gases, oil, paints, or lacquer.
  • Class C: Fires involving energized (live) electrical equipment such as motors, appliances, or power tools.
  • Class D: Fires involving combustible materials such as magnesium, titanium, sodium, and potassium.
  • Class K: Fires involving combustible cooking oils, or fats in cooking appliances. (Note: Class K fire extinguishers require special training and probably shouldn’t be used at home.)

For home use, the CCOHS recommends a multi-purpose dry chemical fire extinguisher labelled ABC, which is good for extinguishing most fires that fall under classes A, B, and C.

How do you maintain a fire extinguisher?

Even if your fire extinguisher goes unused year after year (which we consider a good thing), it does have a shelf life and requires servicing. You should have your fire extinguisher serviced by a qualified professional every six years, and you should get a new one every 12 years.

Each month, do a quick visual inspection of your fire extinguishers:

  • Make sure they are still in their easily accessible locations.
  • Check each extinguisher’s pressure gauge to make sure it’s holding its charge.
  • Make sure the tamper and safety seals are still intact and look for any other damage, including corrosion or leakage.

As soon as you break the seal on your fire extinguisher, even if you don’t empty it completely, you should either replace it or take it in to be serviced.

 

Source: Economical Insurance

Preventing bicycle theft

Whether you ride your bike every day or just hit the trails now and then, there are several steps you can take to help deter thieves and make sure your bike is always right where you left it.

Double Locks

Double up your security by using two high-quality locks.U-locks tend to be more durable than thin cable locks, which can be cut through more easily. But because of their shape, U-locks limit the amount of bike you can secure at one time. Consider pairing yours with a sturdy steel chain.

Use your locks to keep your wheels from being stolen, too. If you choose to double your security by using both a U-lock and a steel chain, first thread the U-lock through to the bike frame, the bike rack or other secure structure, and one wheel. Then, loop the cable lock through both the front and back wheel, as well as through the U-lock.

No Quick Releases

Swap quick-release seat and wheel skewers for ones that require keys. Seats and wheels on most new bikes come with ‘quick-release’ mechanisms, which make it easy to take them off if you need to load your bike into a car – but they also make your seat and wheels easier to steal. If you don’t need to frequently remove your wheels and seat, consider switching the quick-release skewers for ones that require keys.

Customize The Look

Make your bike unique. Bikes with personalized elements are easier to identify after they’ve been stolen, so they’re harder for thieves to sell – making them less likely to be stolen than more generic styles. Consider giving your bike a one-of-a-kind paint job or adding distinctive decals and accessories.

Smart Locks

Try out a smart lock. Controlled by your smartphone, a smart lock can alert you when your bike is in motion, and even allow you to track the bike’s location. There are also locks that sound loud alarms or emit smelly gases when tampered with to stop thieves in their tracks. Consider trying out one of these high-tech devices for added security.

Store Indoors

Always bring your bike inside at night. Most bike thieves prefer to operate when the sun goes down and no one is around to watch. Whenever possible, bring your bike indoors at night – and if you can’t bring it indoors, lock it up in a well-lit area.

Know The Serial Number

Take note of your bike’s serial number. It’s not always possible to prevent bike theft, but in the event that your bike is stolen, you can help the authorities track it down. If you know your bike’s serial number, the authorities can call local pawn shops and other second-hand stores to find out if anyone has sold them a bike with that serial number. That way, if the thief sold your bike, the police may be able to recover it. In some cities, you may even be able to register your serial number with the local police when you buy your bike, so they have it on file and can contact you if they find a bike registered under your name.

How Home Insurance Can Help You If Your Bicycle Is Stolen

Despite your best efforts to prevent bicycle theft, a determined thief could still make off with your bike. To protect your investment, talk to your licensed broker about insuring your bike under your home, tenant, or condo insurance policy.

Most policies provide limited coverage for bicycles, so depending on your bike’s value, you may want to add an endorsement to your policy to make sure it’s fully protected. With your bike insured, you’ll likely be able to replace it if it’s ever stolen.

 

Source: Economical Insurance

What if your property was previously a grow-op

Home insurance clients who move to a new property should have the premises inspected and let the insurer know if there are signs it has been used to grow cannabis.

“If a home was a former cannabis grow-op, likely pipes and electricity have been manipulated and strained, which could increase the risk and consequently influence the premium,” an Insurance Bureau of Canada spokesperson told Canadian Underwriter.

Some insurers are asking clients if their home has been “previously identified” as an illegal grow-op. So Canadian Underwriter asked experts what happens if you move to a property not knowing a previous occupant has been caught illegally growing cannabis.

“If the home purchaser gained actual knowledge that there had previously been a grow-op there, during the course of the purchase of the property, or if they had a significant reason to believe that there was a grow-op previously at the property, they would have an obligation to disclose that to their insurer – in particular if they were asked that question by the insurer,” said Ari Krajden, a Toronto-based partner with law firm Kawaguchi Krajden LLP.

A grow-op – legal or illegal – poses an increased risk of mold damage from condensation emitted from plants. There is also an increase in fire damage risk from potential modifications to the electrical system as well as water damage from plumbing modifications.

“Prospective purchasers, prior to purchasing a home, should undertake a thorough inspection of the home, ideally by hiring a qualified inspector. Whenever there is a material change in risk, the customer must inform their insurer as issues may arise particularly in the context of the nondisclosure,” the IBC advises.

“If the insurer has concerns about the property, the insurer or the [mortgage] lender could require that the purchaser perform an environmental study of the property and in that scenario where something like that might come up,” Krajden said in an interview.

So, what happens if a client is not aware a previous occupant was caught growing cannabis, but the insurer finds public records – such as police, court or media reports – confirming that the property was me a grow-op at one time?

“In the course of a normal home purchase, I don’t think that the insured has an obligation to take extraordinary measures to find out what the prior use of the property was,” said Krajden.

 

Source: Canadian Underwriter

Water sensors: An effective solution to mitigating water damage

Flooding is one of the leading causes of loss for Canadian homeowners. Whether it’s a burst pipe, a leaking roof, sewer backup, or a dreaded basement flood, water damage can result in sizeable losses, especially when there are leaks or seepage over time.

Homeowners don’t always place enough significance on their approach to water risk management. Many take quite a passive approach to mitigation, believing their home insurance policies will cover all water-related eventualities. However, most home insurance policies will only cover water damage caused by sudden and accidental water escape from things including (but not limited to): watermain breaks, plumbing systems, eaves troughs, downspouts or ice dams, or overflow from domestic appliances.

There are many simple ways for homeowners to reduce the risk of water damage in their properties. As explained by the Insurance Bureau of Canada, homeowners should: keep all floor drains clear of obstructions, ensure there is proper grading around the home, install a sump pump, and install backflow valves or plugs for drains, toilets and other sewer connections, to prevent sewer water from entering your home.

Homeowners can also turn to technology, such as smart water detectors and sensors, which can monitor the home and alert them of unexpected flooding or leakage as soon as it occurs. Water-sensing devices – some of which are coupled with Internet of Things (IoT) technology – can be “an effective solution to mitigating water damage,” according to Markham Sandulak, senior risk control consultant at CNA.

Sandulak explained: “While basic water-sensing technology has been around for decades, recent advancements in interconnectivity and the use of artificial intelligence (to detect patterns of abnormal flow) have increased the power and effectiveness of these systems.”

There are two types of IoT-based systems, which Sandulak said should only be implemented after a risk analysis of the exposure to help ensure the correct types of sensing devices are used and placed effectively. These devices can be used in homes and commercial properties, and have proven successful in limiting water damage and saving money on repair costs.

“Active systems incorporate devices that detect water and/or abnormal water flow rates and will automatically shut valves to stop the flow of water,” he said. “In addition to being able to automatically sense and stop water in the event of abnormal flows, these systems can be remotely monitored and controlled from a smartphone application. Passive system devices sense water leaks and sound an alarm. They are considered ‘passive’ because they don’t stop the flow of water.”

Smart water detectors are typically inexpensive and can be mounted anywhere in a property where there is a flooding risk – for example, under the sink. In providing immediate notifications of water problems, they can give homeowners the advantage of time, enabling them to take action to prevent or mitigate damage.

Many insurers today are encouraging property owners to invest in flood mitigation technology. With flood being such a significant problem across Canada, insureds with water sensors in their homes are sometimes seen as preferred risks and can receive more favourable premiums.

 

Source: Insurance Business Canada

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