Mandatory Car Insurance in Alberta

You have just passed your road test, and your vehicle has been successfully inspected and registered, so what’s the next step? Before you can legally drive in Alberta you need to understand the differences between the many types of auto insurance and the degrees of coverage they offer. Not all insurance is mandatory to operate your vehicle in Alberta, so here is a quick guide to understanding the provincial requirements and the penalties for disobeying them.

PERSONAL LIABILITY AND PROPERTY DAMAGE INSURANCE

Before you can drive your vehicle, it is mandatory by provincial law to have a minimum of $200,000 in insurance and accident benefits coverage. In Alberta, any coverage beyond this considered to be optional auto insurance coverage. Personal liability and property damage insurance, commonly referred to as third-party liability insurance, is mandatory for all drivers in Alberta. It covers damages your vehicle causes to another person or their property. All drivers in Alberta qualify for the coverage this basic car insurance provides under the All Comers Rule. Under this rule, no insurance company in Alberta can refuse to provide mandatory coverage to new drivers. However, there are some exceptions to the All Comers Rule which include payment issues with previous insurers or insurance fraud.

ACCIDENT BENEFITS

To operate a vehicle in Alberta, drivers are required by law to have accident benefits. In the case of an injury or death, passengers in a vehicle are covered regardless of who is at fault. Accident benefits include medical and rehabilitation costs, death benefits, income replacement, funeral expenses, and uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you in the event of an accident with an uninsured driver.

THE PENALTIES

Driving uninsured in Alberta is illegal and those driving without valid auto insurance can face a number of penalties for breaking the law.

  • A first offense fine will cost you a minimum of $2,875 but you can pay up to $10,000. If you fail to pay this fine you can spend 45 days to six months in jail
  • If you are caught driving without insurance within five years of your first offense, you will be fined a minimum of $5,000 but can be charged up to $20,000. Failure to pay this fine will result in increased jail time – from 60 days to six months.
  • While you will not receive demerit points in Alberta for driving without insurance, your insurance rates will drastically increase.
  • If deemed necessary, a judge can order a driver’s license suspension resulting in you losing the right to drive.

Be smart, drive insured! If you are found responsible for a collision, you are personally responsible for any bodily injury costs. On average, a bodily injury claim is more than $15,000. These costs are covered by your auto insurance policy, but if you drive uninsured you must pay out of pocket. If you leave the scene of an accident before police and first responders arrive, there are some serious consequences including a $2,000 fine, six months in prison, and seven demerit points.

AT SADLER INSURANCE WE HELP YOU WITH YOUR CAR INSURANCE NEEDS, AND MAKE SURE YOU UNDERSTAND YOUR INSURANCE COVERAGE.

Five Big Risks for Renters

Unprepared for Disaster

Are you renting an apartment or home? You may think you’re covered by your landlord’s insurance for unforeseen disasters, such as fires or floods, or a nasty electrical surge. The truth is, there’s a good chance you’re not.

While renting comes with fewer responsibilities than home ownership, you may be held financially accountable for damage done to your rental via an accident or disaster. Some disasters, like a major flood or fire, could render your rental uninhabitable for months at a time. Who’s going to pay to put you up in a hotel during that time? Your landlord may have insurance to fix the damage to your apartment, but chances are he or she isn’t going to cover your accommodation costs in the meantime. With renters’ insurance, however, you can file a claim to recover the costs of any items that were damaged by the disaster and file for money to cover the costs of your temporary accommodations.

 

Thinking You’re Covered

The biggest risk you can take as a renter is assuming you’re covered by your lease or landlord’s insurance without checking into it. Read the fine print on your lease agreement. Ask your landlord what their policy covers. If your home is broken into, will your landlord’s policy be able to replace the stolen items? Probably not. With renter’s insurance, however, you can file a claim for the financial and personal losses you’ve experienced from a break-in or disaster.

 

Too Little, Too Late

When disaster strikes, you want to be prepared. You might be procrastinating getting renter’s insurance, but you need to get on it! You never know when things can go wrong, and you want to be prepared in case something does. Hindsight may be 20/20, but it won’t help you replace all your lost or stolen furniture, electronics, clothing and precious memorabilia. If you’re delaying getting renter’s insurance, don’t. It costs very little money and can provide a lot of security and peace of mind.

 

Neighbours!

If you’re living in an apartment building or housing complex that has other tenants besides you, you may be held liable for things that you didn’t cause. For example, your neighbour’s tub might overflow, damaging your apartment. Your landlord’s insurance might cover a portion of the repairs, but it might not cover all of it or be able to replace your damaged personal items.

Alternatively, if you have a leak or kitchen fire in your apartment that causes damage to another rental unit, you can be held financially and legally liable to pay for the costs of repair. If you have renter’s insurance, however, you insurer could step in and actually pay for the costs and may even help with the cost of hiring legal representation.

 

99 Problems But Insurance Ain’t One

If you’re renting an apartment, condo or house, the bottom line is that you need to have renters’ insurance. You never know when things could go wrong, and you want to ensure you’re covered in case they do so that you don’t have to face undue financial and emotional hardship. Don’t take unnecessary risks: get insured. Contact Sadler Insurance and speak to one of our brokers today.

Do you Need Travel Insurance?

Summer holidays are almost here, and for many families, it is time to travel! You might wonder if travel insurance is worth it and question what you’re actually buying. Perhaps you think it sounds like insurance you don’t need, and travel insurance is just a money grab; kind of like buying extended warranties on products that will last two years.

To help you understand it’s importance, let’s look at what travel insurance is, if you need it, and what to look for when you’re buying coverage.

What is Travel Insurance?

 Travel insurance is a short-term insurance policy. Policies include coverage for out-of-pocket expenses you have to pay if you’re injured. These can include prescriptions, ambulance costs, hospital visits, and dental procedures.

You can also get accidental death or dismemberment insurance: This insurance feature pays out up to about $500,000, depending on the situation.

Do You Need Travel Insurance?

You could say there are pros and cons to each side. Insurance professionals will tell you that you should never go on a trip without coverage. A world traveler who has never purchased it will tell you how many trips they’ve taken without incident.

The latter might lead you to believe you’re better off to take your chances, because you’re healthy and you’ll be careful. Although this might be true, most accidents happen due to the negligence of someone else, and you could always catch a virus.  Even food poisoning can lead to a trip to the hospital.

It’s important to note that if you’re in another country (including the United States) and need any type of medical care, you’re not covered unless you buy travel insurance. It’s also important to note that you could be out thousands of dollars if you require even a quick trip to the hospital outside of Canada. In the United States, medical care is especially expensive.

Travel Insurance Options and What to Look for When Buying Coverage

You can buy travel insurance from many sources: directly from airlines and cruise lines, independent travel agencies, some credit card companies, and insurance brokers.  Make sure to buy from someone you can trust, and remember the cheapest isn’t always the best. When you buy from a company or broker, they can advocate on your behalf if you have to make a claim.

Generally, travel insurance costs around 5 per cent of your entire trip. Make sure that you’re covered prior to your trip. You can’t make a retroactive claim if you become ill, then try to purchase a policy while on vacation.

Travel insurance protects you within Canada as well. When you go out of province your provincial healthcare doesn’t cover you for everything.  For example, ambulance, hospital transfer, or transportation back to your home province, will not be covered.

If you go to Quebec, they’re not part of the interprovincial billing agreement. You’ll probably have to pay upfront for services. Although you can usually submit a claim and get reimbursed from your own provincial ministry, you’re still short money until you’re paid.

 

At Sadler Insurance, we can help you find the best travel insurance policy for your needs. For more information please visit our website.

Airbnb And Home Sharing Insurance: What You Should Know

We live in a sharing economy, (a.k.a. collaborative consumption) and it’s become a trending business concept. It’s a preferred way for people to rent or borrow items rather than buy them.  This sharing economy has opened the doors for people to supplement their income.

It’s a win/win situation for both the owner and the paid borrower. This sharing economy is a way to enjoy experiences that weren’t available a decade ago, and save money. Two excellent examples are Uber and Airbnb. With Airbnb you can rent your home for short or long stays, but there are implications with respect to home insurance.

Airbnb and Home Sharing Insurance – What You Should Know

Although Airbnb hosts have the benefit of supplemental income and guests enjoy an actual ‘home’ away from home, it doesn’t always go smoothly. So, how does this affect your home owners’ insurance if you’re a host?

Airbnb has a host insurance program that provides primary liability coverage up to $1,000,000 per occurrence in the event of a third-party claim of bodily injury or property damage related to an Airbnb stay; but it has limitations and exclusions.

Airbnb’s protection only offers basic coverage, so there is still a lot a host can be responsible for if the transaction goes wrong. If something is stolen or damages are done to a shared area for example, you would have to cover the expenses to repair the damages and won’t be compensated for loss of income while fixing them. As well, you’d have to pay for the costs associated with liability claims.

Home Sharing Insurance

Airbnb is an American company and because of its popularity, U.S. insurance companies are adapting to home sharing insurance as a separate product. In Canada, only one province (Quebec) is considering regulations governing home sharing insurance, but some Canadian insurance companies have created a specific home sharing insurance policy.

If you’re considering taking advantage of the new economy and live in Alberta, make sure you educate yourself about your home insurance coverage. Before you open your home to Airbnb travelers, you should first check with your insurance company.

Phone your insurance broker and tell them about your plans. Find out if your home owners insurance company recognizes home sharing insurance and offers insurance products to protect you.  Your broker can also help you find out if your current coverage is adequate and answer your questions.

Some things to consider before calling your broker is how many days of the year you plan to host and any individual risk characteristics that pertain to your situation.

At Sadler Insurance our brokers can help you find an insurance company that recognizes home sharing insurance and make sure you’re protected. If you plan on opening your home to Airbnb guests give us call first.

 

Buying a New Vehicle? The Make and Model of Your Vehicle Can Affect Your Insurance Premium.

Are you buying a new vehicle? If so, you might be interested to know that how the car you choose is rated affects your premium. Most people know their driving record affects their insurance premiums, but many aren’t aware of how much the car they buy affects their rates too. Additionally, there are other things you might not know about how your car impacts your insurance premiums. Here is what to consider when shopping for a new car:

Age

The age of your car directly affects what you pay for insurance premiums. The older the car, the more value it loses. The less valuable a car is the less expensive it costs to replace or repair. This makes it cheaper for your insurance company to insure because the risk of them paying out large sums of money is reduced. It’s important to note that each car starts with a different rate and depreciates at a different rate; the impact varies across different types of vehicles.

Make and Model

The make and model of the car you purchase will also affect your insurance rates. High-end cars are more expensive to insure because of their value. The cost of repairs, parts and the replacement value are pricey for an insurance company, so they charge higher premiums for luxury cars.

The difference between models and even trim levels can greatly affect your insurance premium. For example, a sedan will likely cost less to insure than a coupe,  as coupes are sportier and statistically have a higher risk of getting into accidents.

Theft Potential

Insurance companies also base rates off theft statistics. These help them figure out which cars are stolen most often. For example, in 2017 the 2015 LEXUS GX460 4DR AWD SUV was the most stolen vehicle in Canada. To see the top ten list of stolen cars you can go here. Some cars make the most-stolen lists consistently, thus insurance premiums are higher for them. Although anti-theft devices can reduce the risk of the car getting stolen and can lower rates, if it’s commonly stolen it will still have a higher premium.

Risk and Value

The value of a car directly affects the optional portions of your car insurance, like collision. Dropping collision can reduce your insurance premium rates, but it’s not a good idea to go without this coverage if you can’t afford to pay to replace the vehicle or cover the cost of damages.

The risk factors of accidents and theft impact a number of areas. Theft statistics impact comprehensive costs and accident statistics impact the cost of liability and accident benefits; it’s important to note that your driving experience and record are considered as well.

At Sadler Insurance we help you with your car insurance needs, and make sure you understand your insurance coverage.

 

 

What to do if Your Car Insurance Claim is Denied

So you had a car accident and now your insurance company isn’t going to fix your car. Don’t panic! The good news is there are established avenues in place to resolve conflicts between you and your car insurance company. It doesn’t matter if the dispute involves the settlement value of a total loss of the vehicle, the cost of getting a vehicle repaired, the extent of injuries, or who is at fault. There are ways to get your issues heard without having to go to court.

Before you contact anyone, make sure you’re clear about your concerns and what you expect. Have all your pertinent documentation and information available. Keep a record of everyone you speak to.

Here are five steps you can take to resolve your claim dispute.

Step 1: Phone your insurance broker, insurance agent, claims adjuster, or insurance company representative and request a detailed explanation of the company’s decision to deny your claim.

Step 2: If that doesn’t work for you, phone and ask for the supervisor or manager of the person you originally spoke with.

Step 3: If you still don’t get a resolution, contact the insurance company’s complaints liaison officer. All licensed automobile insurers legally have to have a complaint officer or Ombudsperson. After you tell them your complaint, give them time to investigate your concerns and decide their position. They might adjust the original decision, or agree with it.

Step 4: If you’re not happy with the Ombudsperson’s decision, you can request the insurance company’s final position letter.

Step 5: Contact the General Insurance OmbudService (GIO) with the letter. The GIO is an independent, regionally based dispute-resolution system for the insurance industry.

General Inquiries

For general inquiries, you can contact the IBC Consumer Information Centre (CIC) before going through the steps. The staff at IBC is experienced with answering questions related to: technical insurance wording, how to proceed with a complaint, how to find information about a liaison officer or Ombudsperson.

If after following these five steps you’re still not satisfied with the results, you can take your issue to court. When disputes related to car insurance end up in court, it usually involves personal injury because a dollar amount can’t be agreed upon. If you take this step, make sure you consult a lawyer for legal advice.

Often car insurance claim disputes are the result of miscommunication. The best way to prepare yourself in case your car insurance claim is denied is to become knowledgeable about all aspects of your insurance contract.

At Sadler Insurance we can help you with your car insurance needs, and make sure you’re educated so you understand your insurance coverage.

 

 

Travelling out of the Country While Pregnant? How to Avoid Your own Million Dollar Baby

If you’re travelling out of the country while pregnant, you want to make sure you’re properly covered. In this post we will talk about how to avoid your own million dollar baby if you plan on visiting or vacationing in another country.

You’ve probably heard about Jennifer Huculak-Kimmel’s ordeal when she went to Hawaii on vacation and gave birth to her daughter; only to find out that her Blue Cross travel insurance wouldn’t cover her. Her and her partner, Darren Kimmel, returned to Canada with over $900,000 in medical bills.

Are you travelling out of the country while pregnant, or planning to? If so, you can rest assured that there are precautions you can take to make sure what happened to Jennifer won’t happen to you.

Blue Cross didn’t pay out her claim, but according to Canada Health Insurance Association (THiA) 95 per cent of all submitted travel health insurance claims in Canada are paid by the insurance provider. How did Jennifer become part of the 5 per cent whose claims aren’t paid?

How to Avoid Your Own Million Dollar Baby

First, make sure you’re cleared by your doctor to travel while pregnant. Travelling while pregnant can be safe, but pregnancies can come with additional challenges and risks. Pregnant women can develop severe complications and are susceptible to certain infections that can harm the baby. Jennifer thought she did everything right, but it went very wrong, so let’s look at what happened.

Denied Claim

Blue Cross denied Jennifer’s claim because she had a bladder infection and hemorrhaged when she was four months pregnant. This constituted a pre-existing condition, which nullified her insurance contract.  The insurance company noted her travel insurance expired while she was in the hospital.

When she gave birth to Reece prematurely, she had to stay in the hospital for three months.  Her health insurance coverage was in effect for the length their vacation, and expired on November 9, 2013 the day after they were to land in Canada.

You Should Always Get Travel Insurance

Below are some tips to make sure you’re covered when you travel while pregnant. It’s important to note that Canadian laws and punishments are strict with regard to insurance. It’s highly unlikely an insurance company, agent or insurance broker would ever sell insurance fraudulently. It boils down to wording.

  • Ask specific questions and get answers. Ask the insurance company or insurance broker what happens if you give birth to your baby while you’re in the other country. Find out what happens in the event you have to stay in the hospital past the expiry date.
  • Read the fine print when it comes to exclusions listed in insurance policies.
  • Ask for a list of what the insurer considers to be pre-existing or medical conditions that might compromise your policy, and double check with your doctor if you have any listed.

Another way to ensure you don’t have a million dollar baby when travelling out of the country is to create a relationship with an insurance broker who knows you and your needs.

At Sadler we we can help you with all your insurance needs, including travel insurance. For more information please visit our website.

What Would Void a Life Insurance Policy?

Life insurance policies are in place to help grieving families move on with their lives and give their loved ones a proper ceremony and send off. Unfortunately, every day there are stories about people who do not receive the life insurance payout of a family member based on circumstances that voided the policy. These often come a surprise, but there are many common ways that an average life insurance policy can be voided. Remember, it is always important that you discuss your life insurance policy in detail with your provider so that you fully understand the circumstances that can lead to voiding your policy. That way, there are no surprises for you or your loved ones.

Military Service

Many life insurance policies do not explicitly cover military service people who are killed in the line of duty. There are, however, many policies that are specifically designed for military personnel and their families to ensure that those families have something in the event of an active military death. Unless explicitly stated, you can assume that your policy needs changes if you decide to join the military.

Drug & Alcohol Abuse

Many life insurance policies assume that the policy holder is not struggling with substance abuse, whether that is legal drugs, illegal drugs or alcohol. Many policies clearly state that they are void in the event of a drug-related death or as a result of complications from years of substance abuse. That said, there are still options for people who struggle with addiction, even cigarettes, to ensure that they have a life insurance policy in place. It is important to disclose these issues to your insurance provider so they can work with you to get a policy.

“Dangerous Activities”

The phrase “dangerous activities” is fairly vague but it is safe to assume that, in general, it means activities such as skydiving, base jumping, high-speed racing, etc. You should contact your insurance provider if you are about to do something extreme to see if your policy, or accidental death rider, covers it.

Death in a “Restricted Area”

The Government of Canada puts out regular travel advisories for places around the world and many of the travel restrictions in place can affect your life insurance policy. Unless you are performing a job in a dangerous part of the world (and your insurance company knew about that work before you took out the policy), you can assume that active war zones and other dangerous parts of the world will void your policy.

Every day there are stories about the families and friends of someone who died realizing that a life insurance policy has been voided. Some of these stories involve tragic circumstances, most come as a surprise, and often it leaves grieving families with even more confusion. This is why it is always important to carefully understand any insurance policy that you have. Being informed will help you ensure that your loved ones can receive the benefits of your policy in the event of your death.

Three Christmas Gifts You Should Be Insuring

There are many things that run through your mind upon receiving a valuable Christmas gift—how grateful you are to receive it, how lucky you feel to have such thoughtful people in your life, and perhaps how surprised you are to have received something so generous. You probably also find yourself looking forward to using or showing off the item.

However, one thing that most people don’t think of is insurance. In such a magical season, it can be hard to let your mind stray to practical matters, but if you truly appreciate a valuable gift, you may want to consider protecting it.

Not every gift requires insurance of course, but here are the top three that you might want to consider protecting.

Jewellery

Jewellery is an extremely popular gift. What better way to make the holidays special than by presenting a loved one with an engagement ring, family ring or pendant, or other piece of fine jewellery?

If you are lucky enough to be on the receiving end of such a gift, you will undoubtedly want to insure it. All of your fine jewellery should be insured against theft, damage, or loss. While nothing could replace your original piece, it’s nice to know you could make a claim if anything happened.

Electronics and Furniture

Electronics have become such a mainstay in our everyday lives that many people don’t think to insure them, whether they received them as a gift or did the purchasing themselves. However, in the event of a break-in, electronics are an immediate target.

In addition to taking security precautions to protect your home against theft, you should insure any electronics, or furniture items, you receive as a gift this Christmas. If you do lose a stereo system, computer, smart phone or other electronic item, you’ll want to be able to replace it quickly and easily, and that’s where your insurance company can help. Once the holidays are over, look at incorporating these items into your general home insurance policy.

Artwork and Collectibles

Another gift that you will want to insure is artwork and other similar collectible items. If you are lucky enough to receive an original artwork, a rare print or collectible, or a valuable antique item, you should call your insurance company to see if you need separate insurance for the piece, or if you can add it to your home insurance policy.

These items can carry a great deal of value—value that will likely only increase over the years—and can be difficult to replace. In the event of loss, they can be difficult and expensive to replace. Antique decorative items can be delicate and breakable as well, leaving them vulnerable. Insurance will help you to source a suitable replacement, or at least cover the value of the loss so that the gift was not in vain.

Are you ready to insure your Christmas gifts? Contact us at Sadler Insurance and we’ll help you get started.

Five Insurance Policy Details You Should be Reviewing for the New Year

With a new year right around the corner, it’s time to start about reviewing how you could improve your insurance policy details. Making this kind of review a yearly occurrence will help you stay on top of your insurance policies, and ensure that you are always fully covered. Here are five details that you should look over in your policies.

  1. Re-evaluate the Contents of Your Home

If it has been a year or more since you last took inventory of your belongings, it’s time to re-evaluate. Most homeowner policies also protect the contents in a home, in addition to the house itself. As you’ve most likely purchased new items since your last recorded tally of personal belongings, you should take note of anything that should be added to your list. If you’ve made home improvements, such as kitchen or bathroom upgrades, these additions to your home’s total value should also be mentioned in your policy updates.

  1. Are You Paying Too Much?

It is a good idea to check into any discounts or savings that you may be eligible for at the beginning of every year. Don’t assume that you’re getting the best price, just because the amount you’re currently paying was the lowest you could find when you first purchased your insurance policy. You can potentially save yourself some money by looking into bundle discounts on your auto, business, life, or home insurance. Factors like a good driving record, your age, or full-time student status can have an effect on your policies. Sometimes even raising your deductibles can lower your monthly insurance rates.

  1. Bundle Your Insurance Policies

If you haven’t done so already, you may want to consider bundling your current insurance policies. Do you have a different provider on each of these policies? Most insurance companies offer more than one type of insurance, and for this reason, many of them offer discounts to customers who choose to purchase multiple forms of insurance from the same provider. By simply asking your insurance providers what your potential savings may be, you can save money by bundling two or more policies, like your home and car insurance.

  1. Consider Alternate Insurance Providers

Have your insurance rates skyrocketed since last year, through no fault of your own? It may be time to consider some alternatives to your current provider. Whether due to an increase in claim activity over the past year, or a company experiencing a financial loss for the year, there may be other providers that can offer you a better price for the insurance policies that you require. Make sure to check out other options before your insurance renewal is processed for 2018.

  1. Account for Any Changes from the Past Year

Keeping your policies updated is the best way to ensure that you are fully covered, in every aspect of your life. People change too, so make sure to reflect any changes in your health or situation within your life insurance coverage. If you’ve recently had a baby, stopped smoking, gotten married, or retired from your job, these changes may affect your policy. Similarly, your auto insurance coverage could change if you now travel a shorter distance to work, or if you’ve decided to finally put winter tires on your vehicle.

Contact Us Today!

The professional team at Sadler Insurance has been serving Albertans for over 80 years. We understand that insurance choices can be overwhelming. As a full-service independent Edmonton insurance broker, we aim to make the “fine print” clear for you. No matter what you are looking for – from auto, business, life, or home insurance – our insurance professionals are ready and willing to help you. We strongly believe in fostering relationships with our clients and insurance partners. Request a quote from one of our insurance brokers today to find out how we can help.