6 Expert Winter Driving Tips for New Drivers

If there’s anyone in Canada who knows about snowy, icy, roads, it’s Albertans. Each winter, drivers in Edmonton are presented with challenging conditions and when it comes to new and less experienced drivers, a few winter driving tips are sure to help.

1.Three Point Check Before The Winter Months

Ensuring your vehicle is ready for the more challenging snowy and icy driving conditions ahead is a key component of safe winter driving. Be sure to check these 3 things on your vehicle before you hit the road this winter:

  • Check your vehicle’s wiper blades to ensure they are streak-free and provide an unobstructed view of the road
  • Have your brakes tested to ensure they provide firm braking capabilities
  • Check your tire tread to ensure they are in good form. Pro Tip: insert a nickel in the tire tread. If you are able to see the top of the Queen’s crown, the tread is insufficient.

2. Slow And Steady Wins The Race

Expect to experience slower travel speeds, congested roadways and collision delays, especially with first snowfalls.  Give yourself extra time to get to your destination.

3. Fuel Up

Rollin’ on empty? Think again. Keeping your gas tank at least half full will prevent gas line freeze-ups.

4. Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

Not sure how a recent snow or rainfall has affected driving conditions? Before leaving your block, test your brake’s traction by braking suddenly. This will give you an  idea of how your vehicle will handle. Of course, be sure to check that there are no vehicles behind you before suddenly braking.

Remember, accidents raise auto insurance rates so be mindful behind the wheel.

5. Danger Zone

Take note of higher risk driving segments such as highways, deceleration or braking zones (stop lights, steep hills, curves or bends in the road). Bridges are also danger zones as they can ice more quickly than roads due to cold air passing above and below the driving surface.

6. Best Case Scenario

Did you know that the speed limit is actually just that – a limit? Speed limits are simply meant as a guideline for ideal driving conditions. Roads that are compromised by rain, snow, ice or fog are best navigated with a reduced speed, especially the danger zones listed above.

Help make Edmonton’s roads safer this winter by sharing these tips with the new and young drivers in your life. And remember, when it comes to auto insurance in Edmonton, keep your local neighbourhood insurance broker in mind, Sadler Insurance.

Declutter: Five Home Clutter Culprits and How to Fix Them

Living with clutter starts to become the norm the longer you have lived in your home, but have you yearned for the cleanliness and open feel of a decluttered living space? There may be several factors causing your clutter. Today we will discuss the top five home clutter culprits and how to fix them so you can truly enjoy your home.

 

Culprit: Kitchen Countertops

Over the years of using your kitchen, you start to end up with a lot of things that just pile up on the countertop, like daily use items that are too inconvenient to constantly put away. But never fear, there are several things you can do to fix your kitchen clutter issues. One of the best ways is to invest in some kitchen organization items to maximize the amount of space you can use in your cabinets and drawers. For convenience items you would prefer easily accessible, store them in stylish boxes or baskets to keep them out in the open while looking tidy.

 

Culprit: Bookcases and Shelves

Bookcases and shelves are great organizational furniture, but over time you can lose control of them. One of the best ways to fix clutter on bookcases and shelves is just to get rid of things you haven’t used in a long time, then sort books and items by size, colour, and type. Place alike items in piles with good spacing between them to give a sense of openness. A nice trick for bookshelves is only use half a shelf for books, and the other half for decorative items. Anything you don’t need on display, place in stylish boxes and store on the top or bottom shelf.

 

Culprit: Entryways

Entryways in homes can quickly get slogged with daily items such as keys, mail, clothes, boots, backpacks… the list goes on and on. A great way to start fixing this is to get a nice shelf where thing can be placed, and maybe a decorative bowl for your keys. Next, you’ll want to make sure you have hooks easily accessible for coats, a boot rack for any shoes and boots that come off right in the door, and a basket or two for other items like umbrellas. With modern living, having a charging station for mobile devices right at the entryway can be a convenient addition.

 

Culprit: The Closest

As you buy clothing over time, your closest can start to become a cluttered mess. A great way to solve this is to keep track of items you have worn over the last year or two. If you haven’t worn an item in a while, it may be time to consider donating it. Hanging rods aren’t often the most efficient use of space, so consider boxes, baskets, shelves and drawers. For seasonal items consider storing them in boxes or bags in the higher shelving areas when not in use.

 

Culprit: The Garage

Garages inevitably end up being the last resting place for a lot of boxes in your home. When decluttering a garage, you need to be realistic and get rid of anything you aren’t likely to use anymore, have a garage sale or donate the items. Once you are down to the essentials, start working on garage organization ideas, like shelves, pegboard systems and labeled storage bins. Hooks on the walls also work great to store things like bikes.

Once you’ve decluttered these five major problem areas, you are well on your way to an open and clean home you can feel more comfortable in.

How to Save Money on Gas in Your Home this Winter

There are many things about your house that affect the cost of your homeowner’s insurance. Some of these include the type of roofing (metal or shingles), building frame, and heating system. You must have heat in all areas of your home because if an item freezes in an unheated area, such as a pipe, your insurance may not cover it.

 What Type of Furnace do you Have?

If your furnace is older than 15 years, you should replace it with a new efficient model to offset high energy prices. In addition to saving money, modern furnaces give off less pollution and produce more heat. An Energy Star® certified forced-air furnace is recommended on the Natural Resources Canada website because it uses 6 per cent less energy.

Check your Furnace Temperature in the Winter

According to Stats Canada, you should have a programmable thermostat to optimize the operation of your furnace. The Canadian Centre for Housing Technology did a study to examine the impact of thermostat temperature on gas and electric furnaces.

The following is what the study discovered with respect to gas furnaces:

  • Using a daytime temperature of 22°C and a nighttime temperature of 18°C resulted in a 6.5 per cent savings.
  • Setting the temperature to 16°C at night and when the home was unoccupied during the day resulted in a 13 per cent reduction in the amount of gas used.

You can use the above as a benchmark for what you set your temperature to during the winter. When Edmonton goes through it’s common deep freezes you might want to adjust your numbers. There are other things to consider such as the type of home you have, if pipes freezing is a concern, and the needs of people in your home such as babies, small children, and seniors.

Monitor Water Heating Costs

Your water heater consumes quite a bit of energy (14 per cent to 25 per cent). If you don’t have an energy-efficient model you should consider buying one to save money on gas. It’s also recommended that your hot water tank is turned to 49°C to save on energy usage.

Use Your Dishwasher!

Did you know that washing dishes in a newer model dishwasher uses less hot water than if you clean dishes by hand? It might sound crazy because dishwashers spray water continually, but they’re really using less water. Washing dishes by hand uses up to 102 litres of water per load; while an efficient dishwasher can use as little as 11 litres.

So, how does using your dishwasher save money on gas? When you wash dishes by hand the water heater makes the water hot. When you use an energy efficient dishwasher it has a heater inside to warm up the water.

To save money on gas you need to have energy efficient appliances such as your furnace, hot water heater, and dishwasher. With the tips presented here you can save money on gas and still enjoy the winter season in comfort.

To see if you have proper home owner insurance and to learn more tips like this, visit our website and our blog.

Why Do I Need Equipment Breakdown Coverage?

Curious about whether or not you need equipment breakdown coverage?  If your equipment isn’t covered and it breaks down, you might find yourself with an unexpected debt. If you’re a small business you can’t afford this kind of surprise.

What Equipment Does Your Business Rely on Daily to Operate?

If you’re a retail shop owner, contractor, skilled tradesperson, web developer, or a professional service provider, your small business probably relies on some type of equipment on a daily basis. Whatever equipment your business needs to operate, you should always ensure that it’s protected under the safety umbrella of your business insurance policy.

 

Why Doesn’t My Property Insurance Cover the Cost of My Equipment Breakdown?

Your commercial property insurance policy is designed to protect the building you operate your small business out of and the contents inside. A commercial policy can protect a number of possessions from specific losses including furniture, equipment, inventory, computers and electronics.

Additionally, property insurance can protect items outside the building. These can include landscaping, outdoor signs, and fencing. Unfortunately, your policy may not cover you for the sudden, accidental breakdown of your equipment.

 

Equipment Breakdown Insurance

If you had purchased equipment breakdown insurance in addition to your commercial property insurance you would have been covered for your loss.  At one time this coverage was limited to major manufacturers but is now an increasingly important part of a sound small business insurance package.

 

Equipment Breakdown Insurance for Electronics

Technology: New technology such as computerized and electronic equipment is subject to breaking down frequently and depending on your system can be more expensive to repair than mechanical equipment (such as a welding machine).

The Internet and Marketing: Necessary business practices such as Internet marketing make all businesses (large and small) more dependent on their computer systems.

Critical Business Information:  Businesses keep sensitive information about their clients and their business on their computer or on an online management system that can’t be accessed when equipment is down.

Employee Travel: Employees now travel with electronics and many work from home. At one time computers were at one fixed location so now there’s more opportunity for equipment breakdown in different areas of the world.

For more information for about equipment breakdown coverage or to speak with an experienced broker you can visit our website.

What Is Disability Insurance, and Do You Need It?

Disability insurance replaces lost income when the wage earner of a family can’t earn income because they can’t work.  There are two types of disability insurance: short-term and long-term. If you’re wondering what disability insurance is and if you need it, you’ve come to the right place.

In this post we’re going to take a deeper look into why you would need disability insurance and the potential consequences of going without it.

What Is Disability Insurance?

As we mentioned above, this type of insurance protects lost income. To help explain, we can compare it to life insurance. Life insurance replaces lost income via a death benefit to a beneficiary when an income earner passes away. Disability insurance does the same thing, but it isn’t paid out in a lump sum and it’s paid to the disabled person.

Disability insurance pays a percentage of your income on a bi-weekly basis. So, when you can’t work you still receive an income. This kind of insurance doesn’t only apply to physical inability to work due to an accident or illness, it includes other reasons such as mental illness.

More than likely your situation is: if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. Thus, if you don’t have disability insurance you will not have any income. If you support yourself you might have to give up your home, lower your standard of living, and make lifestyle changes.

If you share the household income responsibilities with another, your loss of income will put a financial strain on the home – and your relationship.

Now you might be thinking that you’re young, careful, healthy, and mentally stable so you don’t have to worry about insurance. This is called the “It Won’t Happen to Me” – optimism bias. You don’t want to be fooled with this type of thinking.

Did you know that the chances of becoming disabled are significantly higher than your chances of getting into a motor vehicle accident or your house burning down? In Canada, there’s a 25 per cent chance that a 20-year-old person will be disabled during his or her career. If Canadians are at risk of a disability by this young age, consider how the possibility rises as we age.

Now let’s compare short-term and long-term disability insurance.

 

Short-Term vs Long Term Disability Insurance

Short-term disability insurance benefits are available shortly after you become disabled – from a few weeks to a few months. You receive your disability payments regularly like a pay cheque thereafter for a set time, which is generally three to six months, depending on your policy.

Long-term disability kicks in after you’ve exhausted your other short-term disability benefits. This type of insurance provides protection for serious health issues and conditions. Thus, you receive your long-term disability pay for longer.

We hope our article answered your questions about what disability insurance is, if you need it, and the difference between short-term and long-term disability. At Sadler insurance we work with several insurance companies to get you the best rate.

If you want to know more about disability insurance or to speak with a broker, please visit our website.

 

 

Surety Bonds: What They Are and Why Your Business Needs Them

You can begin thinking about the function, use, and risk of surety bonds by examining a typical loan scenario. Consider that you’ve opted for a financing option at your local car dealership. Perhaps you’re on the younger side, or perhaps you’re just making what is for you a relatively large purchase. The auto-dealer will only grant you that perfect two-year financing plan with the introduction of a co-signer or guarantor on the contract. You agree, and then ask your spouse or a parent or a friend to co-sign—and the auto company approves what is essentially a loan, to be paid back over the previously established two-year period.

In signing, you have become the “principal,” your co-signer the “guarantor,” and the auto company the “oblige.” A surety bond works similarly—where a surety (guarantor), legally vows to pay the obligee a certain amount if the principal defaults on their payment or otherwise fails to meet some other contractually binding obligation. The surety is essentially proof of the principal’s insurance against failure to fulfill pecuniary duties to the obligee.

Another way of conceiving of surety bonds is by putting them in terms of credit—if credit is understood in its literal, and etymological sense: to trust. That is, the surety bond ensures that the obligee can trust the principal.

 

Does Your Business Need Surety Bonding?

This is just one example of a unique use for surety bonds, available at several locations in and around Edmonton. Issuance and reception of surety bonds is particularly relevant, not to mention prudent, depending on the type of business in which you are engaged. If you’re starting up, be sure you are not legally required to have surety bonding. Regardless of a business’s obligation to have a surety, it may be worth it.

 

Types of Bonds, Types of Businesses

Another type of surety bond available to businesses and corporations is the business service bond. There are two main reasons why this form of bond may suit the needs and goals of your company. For one thing, a business service bond is a surety bond that protects a bonded entity’s client (the bonded entity being your business) from potential theft or negligence causing damage. If your business offers services along the lines of janitorial work, home healthcare, contracting and construction, or any other business type that offers services where employees regularly enter onto a client’s property, then a business service bond could help cover potential losses incurred through your business’s employees.

However, no one enjoys thinking that someone who they have employed to help maintain their thoughtfully orchestrated business is partial to theft. Most likely, as the owner of your business, you’ve made considered work of hiring, and a loss incurred in such a way would not happen. That said, aside from the potential aid a business surety bond could provide in the case of such undesirable circumstances as just described, the surety bond will also increase the comfort level and trust of clients—along with the confidence insurers are willing to extend to your business.

Having such a vote of confidence from others makes for a more confident, and more competitive business.

Contact Sadler today for your fidelity bonds, license and permit bond and contract bonds, including prepaid, bid and performance bonds.

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.