Water Woes: Basement Fooding and Sewer Backup

When you walk down your basement stairs after heavy rains to find a few inches of murky looking water – your first thought shouldn’t have to be ‘Will my insurance cover this?’.

As with any insurance, it’s always a good idea to consider your options and unique needs before something happens. Depending on where you live, things like overland flooding, overflow from a lake or river, sewer or water backups, frozen pipe breaks and extreme weather may all be factors.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Contact your city to know if grants or programs are in place to assist if flooding occurs.
  • Review your areas history of flood and heavy rains as an indicator of what you may need coverage for.
  • Have your property assessed for changes that may minimize impact. Sump pumps, backflow preventers and extended downspouts are some easy options.
  • Does your property have a history of flooding or seasonal issues with things like heavy rain, snow melt or a sewer and drainage system that hasn’t been upgraded?
  • Consider your layout. While insurance can help with repairs and damage, some thing are irreplaceable. Consider storing electronics, valuable items and personal items like photos on a higher level, or invest in shelving and waterproof storage containers to keep items dry and off the floor.

It’s always important to choose the coverage that’s right for you and your insurance broker can help you determine things like the amount of coverage you should have based on your individual needs, the needs specific to your property and benefits like flexible deductibles.

Some great places to start are with your regional municipalities and cities. Resources like this one from the city of Oshawa are excellent resources, while Durham region offers helpful PDF references.

Here are a few others:

What’s in Your Boat: Lifejackets, Sunscreen, Insurance?

Owning a boat in Ontario is a dream for many – whether it be a stately sailboat for a trip through the 1000 Islands or a powerboat docked at a cottage.

Synonymous with summer and relaxation, knowing that your craft is covered by insurance is a guaranteed way to leave your worries on shore.

McCAM offers Marine Insurance for your boat, that can be arrange stand-alone or combined with an existing automotive or home insurance policy. Here are some things to consider when discussing boat insurance with your broker:

  • Marine insurance is not required by law but as a consumer you can opt for insurance that covers liability, damage, loss, theft, off-season storage and on-board equipment.
  • It’s not just limited to boats! Personal watercraft vehicles (PWCs) like Jet-Ski™ or Seadoo™ can be insured as well.
  • A Pleasure Craft Operators Card (PCOC) is required to legally operate a motorboat in Canada. Failure to do so may void your policy.
  • There are legal age restrictions for unsupervised operation in Canada for operation of vessels under 10hp, 40hp, PWCs for children under 16 years of age.
  • A boat out of water needs insurance too, as seasonal transportation and storage are key times when boats can sustain damage.

Much like your boat, your insurance should be unique to your needs – get in touch with us to discuss your coverage options. With the number of lakes and kilometers of waterfront in Durham region – we can offer coverage in Ajax, Brock, Clarington, Markham, Pickering, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Scugog, Stouffville, Oshawa, the GTA, Unionville, Uxbridge, and Whitby.

Provincial Changes to Auto Insurance Policies Will Adjust Coverage

You may not know that on June 1st, 2016 province mandated changes to Ontario’s auto insurance products took effect. The 2014 Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act was passed with goals to fight fraud and abuse, provide greater choice and lower rates for consumers.

Now taking effect, the changes are most significant in that they adjust total benefit coverage and give you more options to customize your automotive policy for your needs. A few key things to know:

  • Despite the official date of June 1st, you won’t see the update until you renew your insurance policy. Talk to your broker to ensure that your new coverage gives you the same protections.
  • You’ll have more options and flexibility, but make sure you understand the new combined benefit amount and areas where increases can be added.
  • If your new or renewed auto insurance policy is over twelve months the maximum fees charged for monthly premiums will drop from 3% to 1.3%
  • In an at fault accident if the damages are under $2,000 and paid out of pocket by the at-fault driver, they won’t impact your insurance policy rates.
  • The new changes allow for more flexibility and the potential for lower rates, but you’ll want to ensure that your policy still fits your unique needs.

As always, the team at McCAM Insurance is here to help and we’ll go over the changes and updates to your policy with you in detail at your renewal. In the meantime, we’re more then happy to answer questions – so give us a call, send us an email or come in and see us at the office.

Insurance Fraud Costs Everyone

The true costs of insurance fraud can be difficult to determine, as the best fraud is when no one suspects fraud at all. It’s difficult to estimate exactly how many of all the insurance claims in Ontario are fraudulent, though the Ontario government’s Anti-Fraud Task Force cites a 2010 KPMG study estimate saying fraud costs insurers in Ontario between $770 million and $1.6 billion in 2010.

That averaged out to between $116 and $236 per policy that year, putting innocent drivers on the hook for hundreds of dollars every year in Ontario, considered the staged-collision capital of Canada.

The good news is, anti-fraud teams are now able to used pooled data and analytics to better track repeat fraudulent claims – from body shops and towing companies who over quote storage fees, staged accident teams with suspiciously similar and frequent collisions, healthcare claims for injuries that don’t match accident details and simple over-claims filed in the hopes that they’ll be paid without investigation.

All these things add up to significant costs for insurance policy holders – every fraudulent claim caught by anti-fraud teams is a win for consumers in the long run. Should you ever find yourself a victim in an auto accident that appear suspicious, be sure to mention it in your claim.