Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about financial services and insurance coverage. Click on the question to read the answer.

Is my swimming pool covered by my home insurance policy?

Basic home insurance policies do not generally cover damage to above-ground swimming pools.

It is, however, possible to obtain additional coverage to protect yourself against anything that could damage your above-ground swimming pool, with the exception of normal wear.

Unlike most other insurance companies, the basic Intact Insurance home insurance policy covers damage caused to in-ground swimming pools.

My insurance policy covers all of the goods contained in my house. Why should I take out additional insurance for a specific item?

Home insurance policies generally include limits with respect to valuable or unusual items. Such limits apply specifically to jewellery, furs, silverware, boats and certain collector’s items.

It is possible to increase the coverage for such items, or to eliminate certain exclusions, by adding coverage specifically for a given item

Is a home-based business covered under my residential policy?

No. Residential policies exclude business or commercial belongings, as well as professional liability.

Intact Insurance offers additional protection that covers the business you run from your home by extending your homeowner’s policy and adding professional liability insurance to the package.

For more information, contact one of our representatives

Am I insured in the event of a power failure that lasts several days?

Insurance policies do not generally cover the additional expenses incurred as a result of an extended power failure, unless the authorities order your area evacuated.

Intact Insurance offers additional coverage which enables you to pre-select an amount that you will be reimbursed per day, in the event of an extended power failure. This can be used to cover any of your incurred expenses, such as: lodging, heating wood, meals in restaurants, protection of your goods, etc.

Is my insurance coverage adequate?

Have your needs assessed by a professional to determine the coverage you should obtain for material loss, death, disability, illness, etc. In the event of death, a life insurance policy may be essential for giving your dependants a replacement income or paying off your debts, such as a mortgage, or inheritance tax. Take the time to consider disability insurance since an inability to work can have serious financial consequences. Make sure that you have a policy that provides adequate coverage in the event that damage may occur to your home, your automobile and your other belongings.

Do I need a will?

If you die intestate (without a will), your assets will be distributed according to provincial law – perhaps differently than you intended. You should review your will about every five years, or whenever there is a change in your family circumstances. You should consult your legal advisor to discuss your will.
What is a power of attorney?

It is a legal document which allows you to confer responsibility on someone you trust to do certain things on your behalf, for example, rent an apartment or sell your car while you are on holiday or even if you become incapacitated.

Your web site constantly tells me to count on you for the details. Is that really necessary?

Insurance and investment products are very complex. The wrong choices can severely affect your financial well-being. Most individuals do not have the expertise to adequately analyze their risk management and investments needs, so it is crucial to get professional advice on these matters.

Is there other coverage I should consider on my auto policy?

Yes. There are a number of options for you to choose from that can enhance your auto coverage:

Options Description
Increased liability limits Up to a maximum of $2,000,000.
Collision coverage Covers damage to your vehicle in the event of an accident.
Comprehensive coverage Provides coverage for theft, fire, vandalism, cracked windshield and other perils.
Loss of use coverage Provides coverage for a rental vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired after an accident.
Rental vehicle coverage Extends physical damage coverage to rented vehicles in Canada and the United States.
Optional Benefits:

  • Income Replacement
  • Medical, Rehabilitation &Attendant
  • Care
  • Caregiver and Dependant Care
  • Death and Funeral
  • Indexation of Benefits
Can increase the maximum levels of accident benefits coverage on your policy. In addition, you can choose to index your accident benefits coverage to ensure it stays in line with the Consumer Price Index. If you have benefits available through your employer or elsewhere, you may not need to buy optional benefits. We can help you decide which optional benefits, if any, are appropriate for you.
Is there other coverage I should consider on my home policy?

Yes. Home, condominium and tenant policies are generally issued with a standard set of limits and coverage. You may find that you need additional coverage to meet your specific circumstances. There are a number of options for you to choose from that can enhance your property coverage:

Options Description
Increased personal liability limit Up to $2,000,000 may be available.
Antiques &collectibles coverage Specifically insures these items so you can realize their true value in the event of a loss. Often an appraisal will be required.
By-laws coverage (for homeowners) Provides coverage for additional costs to repair or rebuild your home to comply with local laws. This is particularly important for older homes.
Earthquake coverage Can be added to your policy.
Coverage for:

  • Bicycles
  • Business property
  • Coin and stamp collections
  • Collectible cards and comic books
  • Jewelery and furs
  • Money and securities
  • Spare auto parts
  • Utility trailers
  • Watercraft
Increases the limits on these items, beyond your standard coverage, to suit your requirements. Contact us for details on your policy.
Can I be sued for more than the amount of liability insurance I purchase?

Yes. Your amount of liability insurance is never disclosed to anyone during a lawsuit. If you are successfully sued for an amount greater than the limit of liability insurance you carry, you will have to make up the difference from your own personal assets. This could mean the loss of your home, investments, RRSPs and ultimately bankruptcy. That is why you should review your liability limits with an insurance professional to determine a limit that is appropriate for your circumstances.

What happens to my auto insurance after an accident?

Your insurance policy will be reviewed after every loss. If the loss is not your fault, your policy will most likely receive no rate increase. If you are deemed to be responsible, your policy may be re-rated with a higher rate charged at renewal or, at worst, the policy will not be renewed and you will have to look for coverage elsewhere.

What options do I have for paying my home or auto policy?

We have many different payment options available to you. They vary slightly based on which insurance company you choose. Most companies offer the following plans:

  • One Pay: payment in full by the policy effective date.
  • Instalment Plan: two, three or four equal instalments, with the first due on the policy effective date and the others due in set increments (usually 30, 60, or 90 day intervals). A small service charge usually applies to each payment. The number of instalments, payment interval and service charge vary slightly from company to company.
  • Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) program: payments are automatically withdrawn from your bank account. A 3% charge is added to the full premium amount.

Some of the insurance companies we represent have programs available where no service charge applies to any of the payment plans offered.

What does “replacement” value mean?

For home insurance, the replacement value guarantee allows you to replace the insured item with a new item of the same kind and quality if that object is destroyed or rendered unusable. In this case, the insurer does not apply any depreciation.

For automobile insurance, the owner of a new vehicle can also take out a replacement value guarantee. Various options are available in the case of a total loss, ranging from the reimbursement of the initial purchase price to the replacement of the destroyed vehicle with a new vehicle that has the same features.

Automobile Insurance Notes*

Automobile rates are affected by many things:

  • Do you use your vehicle just for pleasure?
  • Do you drive to work, or use your car for business?
  • What type of vehicle do you drive – year, make, model and body type?
  • Approximately how many kilometres is the vehicle driven annually?
  • Who will be driving it?
  • What is the age and driving experience of each driver in the household?
  • Are drivers under age 25 male or female?
  • How much will each be using the vehicle?
  • What is the claims and accident history for each driver in the last six years?
  • What is each driver’s conviction record for the last three years?
  • Has any driver in the household had a license suspension or an automobile policy cancelled in the last six years?

 Various Premium Discounts Available:

  • Low-mileage car use, graduation from approved driver training courses, two or more vehicles insured for the same household.
  • Retirees with no employment income. Mature drivers over age 50.
  • Loss prevention devices, e.g., car alarms.
  • If your car is not used in winter, you can suspend third-party liability &collision coverage while the vehicle is stored but maintain accident benefits coverage.
  • Increased deductibles.
  • Policy renewals for long-time, claims-free policyholders.

 

If You Are Thinking of Changing Insurer

Ask what happens to your classification if you have an at-fault or partially at-fault accident. Many companies allow partial forgiveness of the first at-fault accident and re-classify at the next rating category. Others do not, and this results in a substantially increased premium.

The Effect of Claims on Premiums

If you are at fault, or partially at fault, in a collision, your renewal premium may be affected.

Many companies allow one “at-fault” claim for clients believed to be good drivers and make little or no adjustment in rating or premium at renewal.

Claims for theft, vandalism, fire, broken glass and for collision when you are not at fault do not affect your renewal premium.

If you lend your car to others and they cause an accident, your premium may be affected.

A multitude of “at-fault” claims and/or driving convictions could result in your being transferred to the high-risk, high-premium Facility Association at renewal time.

The Ins and Outs of Home Insurance *

What kind of home/tenant/condo/mobile home insurance coverage do I have?

  1. Some policies cover only “named perils” – in other words, if the “peril” (the cause of the damage) isn’t listed on your policy, it isn’t covered. This is generally referred to as a standard policy. 
  2. Other policies cover named perils on the contents of your home and “all risks” on the building. “All risks” provides insurance for losses due to a wide range of causes. But instead of listing what is covered, an all risks policy lists what is EXCLUDED, or NOT covered. This is generally referred to as a broad form policy. 
  3. Still other policies cover all risks on both the building and its contents, but are still subject to some exclusions. This is generally referred to as a comprehensive policy.
What’s not covered in my home insurance policy?

This is very specific to you. Only your broker or agent will be able to answer this question.

Are there certain risks or potential hazards to my home for which I can’t buy insurance?

No policy covers everything that could go wrong. And if it did, the premiums would cost too much to be useful. Insurance is intended for unforeseeable events. Flooding, for example, generally cannot be insured against, that’s usually because such damage is inevitable. After all, a house built in an area which can be flooded … eventually will be flooded. That’s what Mother Nature does on flood plains!

Is optional coverage available for hazards/risks that are not normally included in my homeowner’s policy?

Yes, for example, if you live in an earthquake zone, you might want to consider buying earthquake coverage or if you are worried about water damage from a blocked drain, you might want sewer back-up coverage. Discuss which options you may need with your insurance representative.

What things could happen to my property that won’t be covered, unless I make special arrangements?

Here’s one example. Damage arising from the freezing of indoor plumbing is seen as preventable. So, if you are away from home for more than four days during the normal heating season, you must drain the plumbing or arrange to have your home checked daily by a competent person to ensure that heat is maintained. If you do not make these arrangements and your pipes burst, you may end up holding the clean-up bill along with a mop and pail. Ask your insurance representative about other conditions that may apply to you.

What are some belongings that might require additional insurance?

The dollar limits to replace stolen cash, or garden tractors, watercraft and computer software are relatively small. Coverage limits may apply also if the following are stolen: *bicycles, jewelery, watches and furs, coin, stamp and *card collections. Reasonably priced supplementary insurance is usually available. This supplementary insurance, often called “riders” or “floaters”, provide extended coverage for these specific items. Coverage can be worldwide and there’s usually no deductible. Discuss the items that you may want specifically listed to be insured with your representative. 

* There are no limits on bicycles or card collections in policies in Quebec.

What is the deductible? Give me the price of my home insurance coverage with some different deductibles.

The higher the deductible (the portion of a claim that you have to pay), the lower the premium. Compare the premium with different deductibles, and then decide whether the lower premium is worth the higher amount you would have to pay out of pocket if you had a claim.

Am I entitled to any discounts and/or is there anything I can do to get a discount?

Many insurance companies offer discounts to policyholders who have newer homes, who have installed safety features like smoke detectors and burglar alarms, and who have made no claims for a certain period of time. Some are even giving discounts to non-smokers! So you can quit smoking or install a burglar alarm! Whatever the case, make sure you get all the discounts to which you are entitled.

On what basis are claims going to be paid?

Most claims on home policies are paid on a replacement cost basis, meaning that the insurance pays the cost of replacing the damaged or lost belonging with a new one that is as close to the original as possible in functionality and quality. However, some policies may pay only actual cash value, which means replacement cost LESS depreciation. Ask your insurance representative what you have. Of course, you have to actually replace the belonging in order to receive replacement cost for it.

What kind of liability coverage do I have and how much?

You are covered for unintentional property damage, bodily injuries for which you are legally responsible anywhere in the world as well as legal costs if you are sued. A minimum limit of $1 million is recommended. Ask your insurance representative about the specific coverage in your policy.

I’m going on sabbatical for a year and renting out my home. Does my home insurance cover any damage that the tenants may cause? Will my home insurance protect me if they end up stealing my TV, stereo and bedroom furniture? Do I need special insurance?

First, whenever you have a lifestyle change like this, tell your insurance representative because there will usually be restrictions on such things as theft and damage by tenants. He/she can outline these restrictions so that you can be take precautionary measures. Other lifestyle changes that warrant a phone call to your broker include: home renovations, home exchange programs, running a small business from your home, installing a home security system, purchasing a cottage/boat etc.

For more information about home or tenant insurance in your region, contact us or call the Insurance Bureau of Canada and ask for the booklet: Home Insurance Explained, or visit IBC on the Internet at http://www.ibc.ca. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) represents the private (non-government) insurance companies that protect your car, home, and business. If you want more information about these topics or if you have any questions about insurance besides life insurance please call your regional IBC office.

*This information is published with the permission of the Insurance Bureau of Canada. Premium discounts vary by company. Ask your broker what discounts apply to you.