Why did my Auto premium’s not go down by 15%?

Everyone has heard the media reports about auto insurance rates in Ontario going down, but what most people don’t realize is that they shouldn’t expect to see a straight 15% reduction in their premiums.  As is often the case, you can only trust so much of what you hear in the news.  Many Ontarian’s have received their renewals and are left wondering what the heck is going on!  While I am certain that it isn’t what most want to hear, I will do my very best to give an accurate explanation of what a 15% overall reduction really means!

Our most recent Liberal minority government mandated that all insurer’s take an overall average rate reduction of 15% on their automobile products by August 2015.  They were required to do this in 2 phases, the first round (which was split into 2 groups) was required to be filed with The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) by August 2014 with an overall reduction of 7%, the second round will be due into FSCO by August 2015 with the final 8%.  Here is the catch, because each insurer has different loss experience in the many different territories of Ontario (most often broken down by postal code), they can’t all just reduce their rates by a flat 7% – the insurer’s themselves must act responsibility, but just as important, FSCO can’t approve rate reductions that may jeopardize the sustainability of that insurer either!  So, in order to achieve this overall reduction, the insurer’s take a look at their book of business by territory.  Territories that have a favourable loss ratio – meaning the premium collected in that area are adequate to cover the losses – will see a larger reduction, territories that have an average loss ratio will see small or no reduction and those territories that have an unfavourable loss ratio may actually see an increase in their rates.  So, at the end of it all, while some are up and some are down based on the actual experience – it does average out to be 15%.

As I mentioned before, each insurer uses their own data to file their rates with FSCO, so it is difficult as a broker to say which territories will see a large decrease or which will see a large increase, but what we can tell you is what is driving these insurance premiums up so high!  FRAUD!  Insurance fraud is the single largest reason for the current rates in Ontario.  Staged accidents have become a large issue for all insurance companies.  The government is currently working with recommendations put forth by the Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task force to help reduce the amount of and effect of fraud on our system.  From the regulation of tow truck operators and medical clinics to investiagation of known fraud rings, they continue to work to improve the claims process.  Ontario’s automobile coverage is the richest product in Canada in terms of the benefits it offers, however, in order to keep those benefits at a price Ontarian’s can afford, the government must find ways to control the fraud within our system.

What is the difference between an Insurance Broker & Insurance Agent?

So you have all heard the terms Insurance Broker and Insurance Agent, but do you know what the difference really is?  As Insurance Brokers, we represents multiple insurers and are able to shop each market to ensure that you are getting the best value & coverage for what you are paying.  An Insurance Agent represents one specific insurer only and does not have the ability to offer the same choice that we as Broker’s can offer.

So, what are some of the benefits as we see it to dealing with a broker?  First off, you get choice; Secondly, you can be sure that when we see changes or increases in your policy premiums, we will do the work of making sure your premium & coverage are the best possible solutions for your individual needs.

At Nicol Insurance, we represents several of Canada’s largest insurance companies including, Intact Insurance, Travelers Canada (formerly The Dominion of Canada), Aviva, RSA, Gore Mutual & Economical Mutual as well as Peel Maryborough – an Ontario Mutual specializing in farms & rural properties.

We offer group rates for employees of many local businesses, including members of the Chamber of Commerce for most of our local communities, Bruce Power, Keystone, Tenneco, OARTY, amoung others, through Novex Group Insurance.

Call one of our licensed Insurance Broker’s today to learn for yourself the benefits of dealing with an Insurance Broker!

What do I do when I’ve been in a car accident?

What do I do after a traffic accident?

If you’ve ever been in an accident you know it can be a stressful and confusing situation. When you’ve made sure each person is safe from harm and that immediate injuries have been addressed you might not be sure what to do next. Do you call the police? Do you report the accident to your insurance provider? It might not be immediately clear what you should do. However, the Ministry of Transportation and the Ontario Automobile Policy require that certain steps be followed after an accident.

owen sound car accident
Accident in downtown Owen Sound. Photo courtesy of Cory Laycock, Bayshore Broadcasting.

Do I have to report the accident to the police?

In the following cases you are required to report your accident to the police:

  • If anyone sustains an injury or if there is a fatality.
  • If there is more than one vehicle involved.
  • If you damage private or public property.
  • If the damage to your vehicle is $1000 or more.

The penalty for failing to report an accident to the police is a fine of $300-$1000, 3 demerit points, and a possible jail term and license suspension.

You are required to provide your name, address, license number, license plate number, insurance information, and the name and address of the registered owner of the vehicle to the police as well as any other person involved in the accident. You are also entitled to request this information from the other driver.

Do I have to inform my insurance broker?

All accidents are to be reported to your insurance provider.

When do I call my insurance broker?

As soon as possible!

Who decides whether my vehicle will be repaired or replaced?

Your insurance provider determines whether your vehicle will be repaired or replace. They make this decision by calculating your vehicle’s value and the estimated cost of repairs. If the cost to repair you vehicle is higher than its value your vehicle will be replaced. If you have questions about this process, speak with your broker. He or she can answer your questions about how this decision is made.

What is wedding insurance?

Wedding Photography by Sophia LemonYour wedding is a carefully planned and intimate affair. You spend a not-so-small fortune and put your blood, sweat, and tears (literally) into every detail. After all this is a day you’ll remember for the rest of your life; this is a day you will relive with your children and grandchildren. It will be a perfect day! But what if your photographer is a no-show? What if your dress rips? What if a close family member falls ill and the wedding must be postponed?

Each of these scenarios and more can ruin your wedding and leave you with a significant financial burden that is seemingly impossible to navigate. This is why wedding insurance is necessary. Should your photographer be unable to deliver your album for whatever reason, we’ll have you covered for the cost to retake your photos. Should you, in a wedding-induced frenzie, put a heel through your dress while trying it on the week before your wedding, we’ll have you covered for the cost. Should your father contract a severe case of adult chicken pox, we’ll have you covered for those non-refundable deposits.

What does wedding insurance cover?

  • Commercial General Liability including Host Liquor Liability for three 24 hour periods including the rehearsal dinner, ceremony, reception and gift opening.
  • Wedding cancellation: Reimbursement of deposits paid or contracted to be paid because of the unexpected cancellation of the wedding.
  • Wedding photos and video: Payment of the extra expenses necessary to retake the photos if they cannot be reproduced for any reason including non-appearance of the photographer.
  • Bridal attire: Coverage for physical loss or damage to the bridal attire once the property is in the care of the Insured.
  • Wedding presents: Insurance for direct physical loss or damage to wedding presents.
  • Honeymoon cancellation: Reimbursement of pre-paid, non-refundable cost of travel due to the cancellation of the actual wedding.
  • Loss deposit: Reimbursement of non-refundable deposits made to providers of any booked goods or services if they suffer financial failure.
  • World-wide coverage.

How do I get wedding insurance?

The cost of wedding insurance is minimal, and considering the literal and emotional value of your special day provides considerable piece of mind! To learn more about wedding coverage, and to prepare for your wedding contact us. We’ll give you all the details and put your mind at ease for your special day.

What are the restrictions on my teen’s G2 license?

Your teen has passed the G1 exit test and he or she is ready to experience this new-found independence. However, having a G2 license is not the same as being fully licensed; having a G2 indicates one is still learning. These restrictions are intended to eliminate distractions which could cause an accident, serious injury, or even death.

Before you hand over the keys be sure your teen knows the rules!

Your G2 driver…

  • must have a blood alcohol level of 0.0%.
  • must ensure that every passenger has a seat belt.
  • must not drive with more than one passenger under the age of 19 within the first 6 months of driving with a G2.
  • may have up to 3 passengers under the age of 19 between 6 months of driving with a G2 and obtaining a full G or when he or she turns 20.
  • is exempt from passenger age restrictions if accompanied by a fully licensed driver or if the passengers are immediate family members.
  • may not operate a limited-speed motorcycle or moped.

What are the restrictions on my teen’s G1 license?

The time has finally arrived. The time when those first few steps toward real independence are taken. Your teen has written and passed the G1 test and he or she is itching to get on the road!

Before you hop in the car and start driving, however, be sure you and your teen know the rules. After all this is your baby we’re talking about, and these rules have been put in place to keep him or her safe.

Your G1 driver…

  • must be accompanied by a licensed Class G or higher driver with at least four years of driving experience and a blood alcohol level of less than 0.05% (LESS than the legal limit of a fully-licensed driver, 0.08%).
  • must have a blood alcohol level of 0.0%.
  • must ensure that each passenger has a working seat belt.
  • must not drive on any 400-series highway with a posted speed limit over 80km/h unless accompanied by a driving instructor.
  • must not drive between midnight and 5:00am.

Why should I complete a home inventory form?

Imagine: You’ve spent a lifetime building a happy and healthy home. You’ve filled it with family, friends, laughter, and memories. But one day you get a call saying your home is on fire, or you come home to messy remains of a break in, and all those things which reminded you every day of how lucky you are were gone. No one can imagine the devastation of losing one’s home and possessions.

Unfortunately we can never predict a loss and should you fall victim to a fire, theft, or other event, it can be incredibly difficult to remember all of your possessions and their approximate values. You shouldn’t need the added stress of trying to remember every little detail of your home, but instead should be focusing on picking up the pieces and healing. This is why it is important to create and maintain a home inventory form. Your form documents all the possessions in your home and their replacement value for the event of this very scenario, which you can provide your insurer.

What is the list and how do I make one?

The list is a document which outlines everything in your home with a brief description of each item including its value. This takes a huge step out of filing a claim. We have created a handy form which you can download and print as many times as you need.

What should I include in my list?

Everything! Go through each room in your home and record each possession. Don’t skip closets, cabinets and drawers, sheds, your garage, or your attic. If you are able, use a camera or video camera to record each room.

I’ve completed the form. What now?

  • Put it in a safe place like a safety deposit box. Do not keep it in your home! Should your home and possessions be lost in a fire, for example, your form will also be lost.
  • Make copies of important documents like the deed to your home, birth certificates and passports, car ownership, insurance documents, bank account and credit card numbers, and tax returns for at least the past 5 years. Keep these copies with your form in your safety deposit box.
  • Don’t just make the list and never think of it again. Review and edit it accordingly each year.

What else should I know?

Your standard home insurance policy will cover the value of your possessions for up to 70-80% of the value of your home. As you fill out your form and calculate the value of your possessions be aware of the value of your home. If your possessions exceed 70-80% of the value of your home it may be a good time to donate the excess or have a yard sale. Speak with your broker to be absolutely sure of your coverage and for more advice regarding how to protect yourself in the event of a loss.