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General Insurance Terms

An insurance broker finds you the best insurance products by comparing what insurance providers are offering in the market. This allows us to find the best coverage for your individual needs.

The deductible is the amount of an insurance claim that you pay. If you suffer any damage, you pay the deductible and the Insurance company pays the remaining amount (up to the limit of your policy).

Insurance rates (also known as premiums) are based on risk and exposure. Risk refers to the likelihood of a loss, while exposure refers to the impact of a loss. Insurance companies use statistics to measure these factors, along with individual factors such location, age, value, among others.

Premium increases are sometimes necessary because they reflect increasing costs for insurers. Policy premiums are in part dependent on the overall claim levels within the industry. This means, the more claims are made, the riskier that coverage becomes and which then results in an increase in premiums.

An act of God is a flood, earthquake or any other accident or event arising purely from natural causes and without human intervention, of such a nature of magnitude that it could not have been foreseen or prevented by reasonable care or foresight. 

Auto Insurance

Auto insurance will cover damages to a car, injuries to drivers, passengers or pedestrians. Auto insurance is a form of protection. In Ontario, car insurance is mandatory by law.

Your driving record is the most important factor. Insurance companies also consider your vehicle based on criteria such as:

  • Type and age
  • Whether the car is used for business or pleasure
  • Where and how far you drive, and how many people use the vehicle.
  • Your record of moving violations are used by most insurance companies as an indicator of how responsible a driver you are.

If you are considered to be a risk, the higher the premiums you will pay.

No. A person who owns more than one vehicle can be the primary driver of multiple cars. But you lose that privilege when the number of cars matches the number of licensed drivers within the household. Under that scenario, every car needs to be matched with a primary driver.

Your car insurance company is saying you were either responsible for this collision (“at fault”) or not responsible for it (“not at fault”). No matter how big or small a collision, your car insurance company will assign a percentage of fault to you and a percentage to the other driver involved. They base this percentage on a strict set of collision scenarios that have been established over time and are included in an official document called: “Fault Determination Rules”. Fault is not a judgment call and your insurance broker does not have the ability to change your at-fault rating. If you are considered fully (or even partially) at fault, your car insurance company is required to mark “at fault” on your insurance record.

As soon as they pass their test you should contact your insurance broker. Many companies will start accumulating their insurance history from their G1 license date.  There is no charge for placing them on your policy until they pass their G2 license.  Having them take an approved driver training course will not only make them better drivers, but it will also help lower their insurance premium.

Licensed sons or daughters, residing in your household must be reported to the insurance company where they will be noted as drivers on the policy. Typically children under 25 with a licence class higher than a G1, who are not the primary driver of any vehicle, will be listed as an ‘Occasional’ drivers and have a premium charge. In rare occasions where the child has a poor driving history (traffic convictions & accidents) there may be instances where the insurer excludes them from driving any vehicle on the policy by having you sign an “Excluded Driver Form”. Usually, coverage would automatically apply to children living away from your home who are not regular or frequent drivers of your vehicle, however you would want to check with your Broker about your obligations to have them noted on your policy or not. 

The basic auto insurance policy in Ontario does not automatically include coverage for rental vehicles. Be sure to check with your Broker on the maximum limit they will cover for a rented vehicle, the restrictions on which drivers are covered and if there are territorial limitations. Many insurers only provide this coverage for rentals in the continental borders of Canada and the US.

Traffic tickets can raise your auto insurance premiums. Unless, of course, you’ve purchased a policy that offers forgiveness for your first infraction. These products can be purchased on top of your policy (and you’ll want to purchase it before you need it). Serious infractions can definitely send your premiums skyrocketing — a major criminal conviction can double your premium. But insurance companies don’t take the number of demerit points you have into consideration. The type of offence matters more.

Commercial Insurance

No – nothing can prevent your business from being sued. Good business practices reduce the probability of a lawsuit but a person or organization can sue your business for almost anything – frivolous or justified. Your business insurance coverage can help you pay to defend allegations or actions against your business.

Home Insurance

Home insurance will cover damages to your property, whether it be a home, an apartment, or condo you live in.  If you have a mortgage on your home, you need home insurance.

Insuring your home for its accurate rebuilding cost is critical. Along with the specific details on the construction type, Brokers will also calculate the cost to remove debris and rebuild your home based on the square footage and other variables including the current cost of labor and building supplies. Typically, Brokers are equipped with software to accurately determine the proper amount for which your home should be insured.

All policies have common exclusions and limitations such as war, nuclear hazard, and willful damage (to name a few). However the cheaper policies usually have more exclusions and will limit or cut coverages in areas where a loss is most likely to occur. A common exclusion on a cheaper policy would be to exclude electrical power surge to computers and appliances or limit jewelry coverage to $2,000 and cash to $200. A better policy will provide $6,000 for jewelry, $500 for cash, and include power surge. Contact one of our brokers for more information on exclusions and limitations.

Your insurer considers an unoccupied dwelling riskier than an occupied one. Depending on how long you are away from your home, you may need to make arrangements to ensure you are taking the precautionary steps outlined within your policy. During the heating season, the common things you need to consider are turning off your water and draining the pipes, keeping your heat turned up or having your dwelling checked regularly. In some circumstances, you may need to inform your insurer. If your home will be unoccupied, we recommend you speak with your broker about the specific requirements for your insurance company and policy.

Group Home & Auto

With Group Home & Auto Insurance, you pay less for insurance. This program is only offered to employees of select companies and organizations

Insurance companies usually charge a service fee (3%) for offering the option of monthly payments on home & auto insurance. Our program waives this fee. Therefore you save even more!

Halpenny Insurance Brokers started in 1912 by serving the region of Westboro and has now grown to become the largest independent insurance broker for Ottawa and Eastern Ontario.

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