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When You’re an Older Woman and Need Insurance

6 Ways Car Accidents Can Affect Your Insurance

Posted by on 3:07 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 6 Ways Car Accidents Can Affect Your Insurance

A car accident is a scary time, and what makes it worse is that you know it’s going to negatively impact your auto insurance. If you’ve gotten into an accident, check out these six facts about how car accidents affect your insurance.

If You’re Responsible for the Crash, Expect Your Rate to Increase

If you are responsible for the accident, your rates are likely to increase. Part of the reason is because if you caused the accident, your insurance company will have to reimburse you and the other driver. That money has to come from somewhere, so they hike up your premiums to help cover some of the cost.

Another reason your premiums will probably increase is because the insurance company assumes that if you caused one accident, you may not be the best driver and are likely to cause another, making you a greater risk. In some cases, you can purchase accident forgiveness, which prevents a premium increase after your first accident.

Even if You Weren’t Responsible, Your Rate May Increase

Even if you didn’t cause the accident, you may see your premiums increase. The reason is statistics. Insurance companies have found that people who get into one accident (even if they didn’t cause it) are more likely to get into another accident. There are some states, however, that prohibit insurance companies from increasing your premium if you are not at fault. For example, in Massachusetts, the insurance company can only increase your premium if you are more than 50 percent responsible for the accident, and the claim amount is over $500 after your deductible.  

Your Driving History May Affect the Increase

If you’re a safe driver and rarely get into accidents, there’s good news. Even if your insurance premiums do increase, you may only see a small increase when compared to drivers with a bad driving record. The reason for this, again, relates to who is a bigger risk. Even if you don’t get into accidents often, but you have a lot of traffic violations, those can cause your premium to skyrocket after an accident.

The Extent of Damages and Injuries Also Affect the Increase

Another factor that plays a big role in determining how much your premiums will increase is the severity of the accident. If both cars are totaled or someone is severely injured, that’s going to cost the insurance company more money. Therefore, it’s going to cost you more money. However, if you just barely bumped someone and caused a scratch in the paint, you won’t see as drastic of an increase.

They Don’t Increase Forever

Luckily, even if your rates increase, it isn’t permanent. The exact length of the increase depends on many factors, such as the severity of the accident. However, typically, your rate will decrease each year (as long as you avoid another accident). In fact, in several states, the premium will lower over the course of three years until your premium is back to normal. Of course, that’s only if you avoid another accident.

Your Insurance May Refuse to Honor Your Policy  

Don’t let this one scare you. Most likely, if you comply with your insurance carrier, they won’t refuse to honor your policy. The problem arises when people neglect to report the accident to their insurance carriers. Even if you think the accident wasn’t your fault, or even if the accident was small, you need to report it. If you fail to do so, and the other driver ends up suing you, then your insurance carrier may refuse to back you, forcing you to pay the cost on your own.

Even though it may mean an increase in your premium, you should always report any car accident to your auto insurance carrier. A small premium increase is much better than your carrier refusing to honor your policy. For more information about car insurance and accidents, contact insurance carriers like Preferred Insurance.

3 Tips For Lowering High-Risk Auto Insurance Rates In Ontario

Posted by on 1:33 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Tips For Lowering High-Risk Auto Insurance Rates In Ontario

If you’ve had a DUI or you’ve been in an accident where you were at fault, you may be classified as a high-risk driver by your auto insurance company. Auto insurance rates are already a big monthly expense, especially in Ontario, where rates are particularly high. High-risk drivers who have had recent violations can pay as much as 25% more for their insurance premiums than drivers with a clean driving record. How can you bring your auto insurance premiums down to a reasonable level after a few moving violations or accidents? Here are a few tips that can help you keep your insurance rates within your budget.

Drive A Different Car

Buying a new car just to reduce your auto insurance rates may not be practical, but if you’re already in the market for a new vehicle, choosing the right car can lower your rates. Your driving record isn’t the only thing that insurance companies are looking for when they calculate your rate. Your vehicle’s age, condition, safety features, and risk of theft all make a big difference when it comes to assigning a rate. So even a high-risk driver can lower their premiums by choosing a car that qualifies for better rates.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada tracks insurance claims on various vehicles and makes this information available to the public. You can use this information to help you make a smart financial decision when buying a car. If you’re already paying high-risk insurance rates, choose a car that will get you lower rates. If you own more than one vehicle already, you can also use this information to decide which one of your cars will get you the lowest insurance rate. Restricting yourself and your insurance coverage to the car with the lowest rate until you are out of the high-risk category can help keep your premiums down. You can always garage the other car or cars, or allow a family member to drive it after they insure it themselves.

Go Back to School

Drivers training isn’t only for young drivers and new drivers. If you’ve been categorized as high-risk, taking a driver training program may help get you out of the category, or at least lower your rates a little. By taking a class, you’re sending a message to your insurance company that you know you’ve made mistakes in the past, and you’re willing to do what it takes to avoid them in the future – a good sign that you’re no longer as big an insurance risk. And driver training classes aren’t just a symbolic gesture, either – in a good class, you actually will learn skills that will keep you safer on the road and prevent moving violations.

Don’t sign up for a class without checking with your insurance company first. Your auto insurance company may keep a list of driver training programs they’ve approved, and these are the ones that will help lower your rate. Make sure that you choose a course that addresses your driving history, too – pick a defensive driving course if you’ve had several accidents, or go with a drug and alcohol course if you’ve had a DUI.

Consider Usage Based Insurance

Are you confident in your good driving skills? If so, you may want to consider usage-based insurance. This technology-based approach to insurance allows the insurance company to determine your premium based on how you actually drive, not on your past driving history or on a collection of risk factors.

The way that it works is that the insurance company installs a device similar to a GPS tracker in your vehicle. The device monitors your driving speed, acceleration, and braking habits, and relays them to your insurance company. Your rates go up or down based on the safety of your driving habits. This technology can save drivers an average of around 11% a year on their insurance rates. Provincial regulators in Ontario are slowly approving more insurance companies to offer this technology.

In the end, you can always count on time to relieve you of your high-risk status and reduce your insurance costs. If you avoid tickets and accidents for long enough, you’ll eventually receive a safe driver rating. If you can’t afford to wait, talk to your insurance agent about strategies you can use to lower your rates.

7 Ways You Can Save Money As A Retiree

Posted by on 3:13 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Getting older often means becoming wiser and having more life experience under your belt. If you’re retirement age, it can also mean saving serious money with senior and retiree discounts. Unfortunately, many people overlook these discounts and continue paying the same higher rates they’ve always paid, simply out of habit or a lack of information. It’s worthwhile to be more proactive and seek out discounts instead. Here are some of the great, often overlooked ways you can save money as a retiree:

Home and Auto Insurance

Most insurance companies offer great discounts for seniors, especially on home and auto insurance. In fact, in Canada, insurance companies are legally required to offer premium rates to seniors over age 65, and sometimes as young as 55 if you are already retired and receiving a pension. After a lifetime of responsible insurance usage, you deserve to be cut a break. Be sure to call your insurance representative to make sure you’re paying the best possible rate and to ask about discounted rates for seniors.

Restaurants

There’s no reason to slave over a hot stove every night when you’re a senior. Most large chain restaurants, as well as many smaller, family owned restaurants, offer significant discounts to your bill when you’re a senior. Look for a senior discount disclaimer on the menu or simply ask your server if they offer a discount. You will most likely need to show your ID for the discount to be applied to your check.

Travel

Whether you want to visit your family and friends or simply crave an adventure, travel can be especially affordable for senior citizens. Rental car companies, major airlines, and most hotel chains commonly offer discounts for seniors. It’s best to call the customer service number to book your travel so that the representative can apply your discount.

Keeping in Touch

Keep in touch with the grandchildren for cheap by asking your cell phone provider if they offer senior discounts. Many of the major carriers offer discounted rate plans just for seniors. Internet and landline phone providers also sometimes offer senior discounts.

Entertainment and Culture

Whether you want to see a movie on a romantic date night with your significant other or catch an afternoon matinee solo, movie theaters are great about offering senior discounts when you show ID. If you’re more of a symphony or live theatre buff, keep in mind that many performing arts centers and theaters also offer generous senior discounts, as do museums.

Staying Fit

Getting older doesn’t have to mean letting your physical fitness decline. In fact, many seniors find that once they’re retired they have much more time to get physical exercise than they did before they retired. Many gyms and recreational fitness centers offer discounts for senior citizens, either on individual classes or on monthly or annual passes.

Be sure to consult with your doctor about adding a fitness routine to your life. Many people find that low impact exercises like swimming or gentle yoga help them feel more fit at any age, without doing damage to joints or muscles.

Get out and Explore

Take advantage of being retired and having more free time by getting out and exploring the beautiful wilderness Canada has to offer. The Parks Canada system offers discounted rates on tickets to individual parks as well as annual passes for seniors, with the biggest discount percentage being offered on the annual pass. The Canadian parks system includes fun for all ages gems such as Banff National Park and Glacier National Park of Canada.

By taking advantage of these senior discounts, you can hold onto more of your money while enjoying life even more than you already do.

Three Things You Need To Know About Condominium Insurance

Posted by on 8:47 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If you are thinking of joining the ranks of condo owners, you are in good company; about twelve percent of Canadian households reside in condominiums, with a much higher percentage in urban centers such as Calgary and Toronto. As with any investment in property, you will want to protect it by purchasing appropriate insurance coverage. However, if you are familiar with homeowner’s insurance, then you may not realize there are some differences when it comes to condominium insurance. Below are three things to keep in mind so your property and financial standing are adequately protected:

Understand how ownership is divided among individuals and the association

As you probably know, condominiums are owned both separately and corporately. In most condominiums, the outside property, roof and structural components of the buildings are owned in a corporate arrangement, known as an owner’s association, or strata corporation in some parts of Canada. This association consists of all individual owners who agree to share both the privileges and responsibilities of ownership for these areas.

Inside the individual units themselves, most owners have possession of the flooring, wall exteriors, fixtures, windows and other non-structural components. However, this division of property can vary depending on the specific association or corporation bylaws; it is not unusual to find condominiums where the association retains ownership of the flooring, for example, and that might lessen the need for individual coverage in the event of a flood.

The bottom line is understanding your bylaws is vital. You will want to be sure that your coverage extends to all areas of responsibility, but at the same time, you don’t want to waste money paying premiums on property that is already covered by an association policy. Read the association bylaws thoroughly before signing a purchase contract, and get the assistance of an attorney, if necessary.

Know how much coverage you need to pay your share of the association-wide deductible

As with other types of property insurance like car insurance, a key variable is the deductible. For homeowner policies, the deductible is a straightforward matter of choosing how much risk you wish to assume for yourself; the higher the deductible, the lower your premium, but the more you will pay out of pocket should the policy be invoked.

However, condominium deductibles are more complex. In addition to the standard deductible that applies to your own individual portion of the condominium, you will want to know how much you may be responsible for should common property be damaged or destroyed in a catastrophe. Associations have their own property insurance coverage to cover the roof, outside grounds and other commonly-owned areas; however, there are also deductibles associated with these group policies. When it comes time to pay for repair or replacement of damaged property, the deductible expense is divided among the condominium owners.

For example, for a $100,000 roof replacement that carries a ten percent deductible, that means $10,000 is not covered by the insurance policy. That $10,000 is then billed to the individual owners, divided into appropriate shares. If you are an owner, you may be responsible for thousands of dollars in deductible costs, even though the damage involved was in commonly-owned areas that are under the umbrella of an association policy.

This threat of financial devastation should cause you to seek to obtain adequate coverage for these types of situations. Many condominium insurance carriers can provide you with association deductible coverage; this can be a lifesaver when a property-wide incident occurs. Of course, there may be a deductible on the deductible coverage itself, so ask your insurance broker for assistance in understanding the details.

Choose replacement-cost whenever possible

If your personal property is lost due to fire or another accident, then your condominium policy will pay some amount to you as compensation for the losses. There is usually a cap on losses, and these are often divided into other categories; jewelry, collectibles, furnishings, clothing may all have their own maximums, for example. This obviously impacts how much money you are paid, but this is just one factor that can greatly affect how much is collected in the event of loss.

The other factor is the basis that decides how reimbursements are made. Insurance policies are written around either the cash-value or replacement cost of lost property; you often have the opportunity to request which one is used. Cash-value policies will pay the insured an amount equal to the current value of an asset. For example, a ten-year old television set will probably have a fairly low cash-value, and reimbursement will be accordingly.

On the other hand, replacement cost policies pay insured persons an amount equal to what it would cost to buy a replacement for the lost property. Following up on the example above, a ten-year old television would necessarily be replaced with a more-advanced product, so the insurance payout would reflect this increased expense for a new television. Replacement cost policies provide a higher level of coverage for condominium owners and should be chosen whenever possible. The premiums are likely to be higher as a result, but considering how much money is at stake should you suffer a loss, it is often worth the extra payment for the protection afforded you.

Traveling To A Dangerous Country: What You Need To Know About Travel Insurance

Posted by on 11:36 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Some travellers are more adventurous than others, and not all Canadians want a beach holiday in an all-inclusive resort. Many countries can yield fantastic travel experiences, but conflict and natural disasters can make those destinations dangerous for you and your family. If you’re planning a trip to a dangerous country, it’s important to make sure your travel insurance will cover you during your visit. Make sure you don’t expose your family to unforeseen risks, and learn more about the limits of travel insurance in dangerous countries.

Defining dangerous destinations

If you’re planning your next trip, it’s almost impossible to choose a destination that is completely free from danger, but that doesn’t mean you can turn a blind eye to obvious, known risks. In some parts of the world, Canadian travelers are at risk of abduction, disease and terrorism, all of which may mean your travel insurer is reluctant to offer cover.

It’s important to bear in mind that you don’t have to travel far to expose yourself to risk. According to the Global Peace Index, Mexico is the 25th most dangerous country in the world, but many Canadians wouldn’t think twice about visiting this area for a holiday. Of course, other destinations, like Syria, are rather more obvious because of war or high-profile natural disasters.

How travel insurers treat dangerous destinations

Most insurers add clauses to their travel insurance policies, which outline clear exclusions and or restrictions on cover when you go somewhere dangerous. It’s important to closely examine the terms and conditions that an insurer offers before you buy the policy.

Some insurers will offer cover in any country, but expect you to take ‘reasonable care’ when travelling. In fact, this clause generally applies wherever you go, but it’s more difficult to clearly define this term in certain countries. For example, if you travel to a city where a terrorist attack recently took place, an insurer could argue that you did not take reasonable care simply because you travelled there. As such, it’s important to talk to the insurer to find out what their underwriters say about a particular travel destination and the precautions you should take.

Many travel insurers exclude cover in countries where the Canadian or American governments have warned their citizens not to travel. Again, this travel almost certainly falls outside the definition of reasonable care, but it’s important to check what your insurer says. Remember that the government constantly updates these warnings. If the government issues a warning after you book your trip, your insurance may still become invalid. In this instance, find out if your insurer offers cover for the out-of-pocket expenses you incur because you have to cancel the trip.

While some insurers may offer cover in dangerous countries, exclusions may still apply under certain circumstances. For example, travel insurers often exclude cover due to unforeseen strikes, riots or civil commotion. Again, these problems can occur in countries that are otherwise relatively safe, but it’s important to check what the policy covers.

Finding information before you travel

U.S. Department of State alerts and warnings help you understand the riskiest travel destinations. A travel warning means the government strongly advises you not to travel unless your trip is essential. A travel alert normally relates to a sudden event that could create a temporary hazard. Check the details online at the Department’s website before you make travel plans. These alerts can help you plan where travel insurance cover may become difficult to buy.

The Canadian government also publishes travel advice and advisories. In some cases, the government simply suggests you exercise normal security precautions, but other destinations will flag up that you should avoid all travel.

It’s also useful to carry out other research online. Check travel websites and blogs for the latest reviews or articles from like-minded travellers. These sites can often give you information at the next level down from a government alert, and other travellers can help you stay safe. For example, you can find out about the safer parts of a town, and you can learn about hotels or restaurants that you should probably avoid.

Travel insurance gives thousands of Canadians peace of mind on holiday every year, but if you’re travelling to a dangerous destination, you may find it harder to buy comprehensive cover. Talk to an insurance broker for more advice, and find the policy that most closely meets your needs.

The Benefits And Risks Of Adding Young Drivers To Your Car Insurance Policy

Posted by on 9:35 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

One of the biggest milestones in a young person’s life is getting their driver’s license. It’s also one of the most terrifying times in a parent’s life because they don’t want their children to get into an accident. Many parents think twice about putting their new driver onto their insurance, and sometimes they decide to leave their teen driver off their policy. Once you know the benefits and risks of adding a young driver to your car insurance, you will be able to make a more informed decision. Keep reading to learn the benefits and risks of adding a young driver to an existing policy to help you decide if it is worth it for you:

Benefits Of Adding Your Teenager To Your Car Insurance Policy

If your child is involved in an accident while driving your car, and he or she is listed as a driver on your insurance, then the accident will be covered. You will have to pay the deducible amount stated in your policy, but after that, your insurance will kick in and cover all remaining medical and vehicle repair costs.

Your child will also build an insurance history while on your policy. They will get credit for each year that they drive without submitting a claim. This alone is a great reason to pay the added costs of adding your teen to your car insurance. When your kid is ready to get his or her own insurance after being on your policy for a couple of years, he or she will not be treated as a new driver. Your insurance has provided a driving history for your child, so he or she won’t have to pay the higher insurance costs associated with new drivers.

Risks Of Having Your Teenager On Your Car Insurance Policy

Having an inexperienced teen driver on your insurance will make your insurance costs increase significantly because the risk of the vehicle being involved in an accident has grown. In a recent report from Aviva Insurance, adding a teenager to your car insurance can raise your insurance costs by more than $5,000 a year. This is because teen driver crash rates are 3 times higher than drivers aged 20 and above.

Additionally, if your teen driver has received a few speeding tickets or parking violations and is then added as a secondary driver on your policy, those tickets and violations will carry over to your policy. This could cost you a 10-star rating regardless of your child’s age. This will also increase your insurance cost.

Finally, making a change to your car insurance policy, like adding a new driver, will cause the insurance company to assess your new situation. This means that they could find other areas of your policy that are not up to par, thus increasing the cost of your policy even more. This is why it’s extremely important to review your new policy before you buy it. You don’t want to pay any more money than you absolutely have to. This could be the perfect time to shop around for the best insurance deal to make adding your teenage driver not as financially painful.

It’s not a surprise that insurance rates for teen drivers are among the highest, but there is good reason for it. A young driver’s lack of experience and the statistical likelihood of your teen driver being involved in an accident means auto insurance companies have to hedge their bets when it comes to covering teen drivers. The higher insurance rates protect insurance companies from the greater possibility of claims. But when you look at the benefits of having your young driver on your insurance policy, they usually outweigh having to pay a higher price. If you have questions about adding your young driver to your car insurance policy, you can learn more by contacting your local insurance agent for assistance.

Shopping For Insurance? 2 Reasons To Meet With A Broker

Posted by on 11:06 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If you are like most people, you probably instinctively grab your laptop or cell phone whenever you start shopping for anything, including insurance policies. However, finding the right medical, auto, homeowner’s, or life insurance plan can be complicated and confusing, especially if you aren’t familiar with the insurers in your area. Fortunately, insurance brokers are available to help you to track down and sign up for the right plan, so that you don’t regret your decision later. Here are two reasons that you should make an appointment with a broker, and how it can make your life a little easier.  

1: Objective Information

To find prices and look into coverage details, many people visit insurance websites or call the company directly. Although it might seem like an easy way to find information and learn more about company policies, you have to remember that you are talking with someone that desperately wants you to choose their company. However, insurance brokers work for you and not the insurance company, so they can give you objective information without worrying about losing their jobs.

Insurance companies might all look the same when you shop online, but the fact of the matter is that some businesses are easier to work with than others. If your house burns to the ground and you can’t get ahold of your homeowner’s insurance company, you might be more concerned about customer service than you are about the cost of your monthly bill. Unfortunately, unless you have worked with each place before, it can be hard to tell which insurer would provide you with the best experience.

Because they don’t work directly for any one particular insurance company, your broker won’t mince any words when you ask tough questions. If an insurer is notoriously difficult to contact or work with, your broker will let you know. While an insurance representative might tap-dance around questions about claims payments and billing policies, your broker will tell you the truth, so that you can make a decision that you can be happy with later.

2: Customized Approach

Every situation is different, and insurance plans aren’t a one-size-fits-all type of product. You might be eligible for better rates or subject to extra charges depending on the insurance plan you choose, which is why it is a good idea to select your policy carefully. However, by discussing your situation with a real-life insurance broker, he or she can help you to choose a plan that fits your needs. Here are a few ways that a broker can provide a more customized approach:

  • Financial Situation: Finding the right insurance plan usually involves gauging your potential for loss with the amount that you can afford to spend on premiums every month. However, it isn’t always easy to do that if you have no idea how much certain services cost without insurance. An insurance broker can help you to understand how much you stand to lose in a huge variety of hypothetical situations, so that you can find a coverage level that protects your finances. Also, an agent can show you pricing for several companies at the same time, so that you can choose a plan that you can afford.   
  • Location: Depending on where you live, you might not be able to use certain hospitals or automotive shops if you use certain insurers. Fortunately, your insurance broker can help you to find an insurance plan that covers providers close to home.   
  • Family: Your insurance needs might be different depending on the age and size of your family. For example, if you have seven children, you might need a larger life insurance policy than you would if you only have one kid. On the other hand, if all of your children are adults who have moved away from home, you might only need a life insurance policy to provide for your spouse in the event of your death. An insurance broker can talk with you about your family to help you to determine which policy would be the most beneficial.  

Working with an insurance broker is a great way to make shopping for insurance less stressful and a lot more effective.   

7 Factors That Can Raise Your Auto Insurance

Posted by on 2:57 pm in Uncategorized | 0 comments

If you are shopping around for a new auto insurance policy, it is very important to know what factors can make your car insurance more expensive. It turns out that a bad driving record is not the only factor that can raise your auto insurance rates. While you can control a lot of these factors, you may not be able to control some of them. Here are seven factors that can raise your auto insurance. 

Credit Score

A low credit score does not just decrease your chances of getting approved for a home loan; it can also increase your auto insurance rates. Many insurance companies believe individuals with low credit scores are more likely to file insurance claims. If your have a poor credit score, you should work hard to raise it. Pay more than the minimum on your credit cards each month and avoid being late on payments. Once you raise your credit score, you could get offered lower insurance rates.

Increasing Your Commute

If you recently got offered a job position that has a longer commute, your car insurance rates might go up. If you have to travel a longer distance for work, you are more likely to get in an accident on the road. Before you decide to increase your commute, think about how much it will increase your auto insurance rates.

Your Neighborhood

Believe it or not, the neighborhood you live in can affect your auto insurance rates. If you live in a neighborhood that has a lot of crime, your insurance company may charge you higher rates. They might believe that your vehicle is more likely to get vandalized or stolen in a bad neighborhood. 

Purchasing A New Car

Buying a new car can be exciting, but it will likely raise your insurance rates. A new car is worth more money than an older car, so it will cost more to insure. Also, if you take out a loan to buy your new car, your lender will likely require you to carry full-coverage car insurance. Before you purchase that new car, determine if you can afford the higher insurance rates or not.

Driving A Sports Car

A sports car might look cool and impress your friends, but it can increase your auto insurance rates. A sports car can drive a lot faster than a traditional car, so you are more likely to get into an accident on the road. If you drive a sports car, it is also more likely to be stolen by car thieves.

Your Age

It might not seem fair, but your age can affect your car insurance rates. If you are under the age of 25, your insurance company will likely charge you higher rates. Young drivers are typically seen as inexperienced and irresponsible by insurance companies. However, it is still possible to lower your car insurance rates by taking a defensive driving course. If you take a defensive driver course, your insurance company will realize that you take your driving seriously.

Occupation

Your occupation can also affect your car insurance rates. If your job involves a lot of stress, your insurance company is more likely to charge you higher auto insurance rates. Doctors, salespeople, executives, architects, lawyers and real estate brokers will often get charged higher car insurance rates than other professions. 

As you can see, several different factors can affect your auto insurance rates. If you cannot control the factor, ask your insurance agent how you can lower your rates. Many insurance agents are very helpful and will suggest different ways to save money on your monthly auto insurance premiums.