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Home And Business Inventory

When it comes to insurance, there are many details and requirements that are not often thought of until you are faced with a crisis situation, at which point it is often too late.

One such detail is that you are required to provide a schedule of contents lost or damaged as part of a claim. This schedule requires information such as:

- A description of the item(s);

- Date purchased and where the item(s) were purchased;

- Purchase price;

- Current replacement cost;

On the surface, this seems like a pretty straightforward and simple task, but disasters always have a tendency to strike when least expected. Imagine coming back from vacation to your home or business and finding nothing but a pile of burnt rubble. Once the initial steps in the claim process have been taken care of,  you will now be required to provide a list of items lost in the claim. Where do you begin and how are you going to ensure that you are fully indemnified for your loss? Will you remember every single item that was inside your home or business? Not likely.

A great preventative measure to help ensure an accurate and prompt claim settlement prior to making a claim is to complete a home or business inventory. 

Although initially, an inventory does require some work, it is an invaluable tool in the event of a crisis. In addition to ensuring that all contents can be listed and included in a claim, an inventory will ensure that you are carrying an appropriate amount of coverage on your personal property or business contents. 

SOME QUICK TIPS WITH RESPECT TO INVENTORIES:

- To save time, use digital photos or video if available. Something is better than nothing.

- Make sure you update the inventory from time to time,  perhaps at renewal time. A 5-year-old inventory is not likely to be accurate. 

- Keep a duplicate copy offsite.  Your broker would be happy to keep a copy in your file.

A sample inventory tool can be found  in the consumer resource section at  www.myinsuranceshopper.ca/knowyourstuff

Don’t risk financial loss or down time. 
Complete an inventory for peace of mind.
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 “Why are my premiums so high?”

This question seems to come up each year and around the same time…at renewal! The goal of this article is to assist you in having a better understanding of what goes into determining premiums for personal lines policies, like automobile and property risks. Because there are different factors between automobile and property, let’s break this topic into two sections.

AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE

Factors and trends used to form automobile rates are:
- Territory or Where the vehicle is most often used;
- Age of drivers in the household;
- Number of vehicles compared to number of drivers in the household;
- If the driver is under 25 years of age, the age and sex are determining factors;
- Claims (the number of ‘claims free’ years differs by each insurance company’s criteria);
- Convictions in the past three years;
- Use of the vehicle (commute to work, pleasure use only, business use);
- Make, model and age of the vehicle(s);
- Coverage you have chosen (Liability, Collision, Comprehensive and Endorsements).

Depending on your insurer’s offerings, there are numerous discounts that can be applied. It is always important to ask your broker to review all the discounts available to you.

PROPERTY INSURANCE

Factors and trends used to determine property rates are:
- Territory or where your home, condo or apartment is located;
- Distance to a fire hall and fire hydrant;
- Building materials of the dwelling (concrete, frame, brick etc.);
- Use of dwelling (strictly personal use or partial business use);
- Unique features within the dwelling (custom finishing versus builder’s grade);
- Floor, ceiling and wall finishing (plaster versus drywall);
- Claims (the number of ‘claims free’ years differs by each insurance company’s criteria);
- Style of dwelling (two story, split level or high rise versus triplex or townhouse);
- Coverage you have chosen (all risk coverage versus named perils coverage and endorsements).

Again, there are many discounts that can be applied. Ask your broker to review all available discounts to you. 

There are other factors as well that are completely determined through each insurance company’s system that your broker can look into for your unique risk.

Don’t be afraid to call your independent broker for clarification. That’s your broker’s commitment to you… to service you and provide sound and educated advice.
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5 Features of a Good Home Security System

Selecting a quality home security system is one of the safest, most effective ways to give you and your family peace of mind. With so many features and options available, however, it can be difficult to determine which system is best for your home. While a lot of the latest high-tech options boil down to your personal preference, the following five features should be standard on whatever system you select.

AROUND-THE-CLOCK MONITORING

Choosing a security system that offers a 24-hour monitoring service ensures that when your alarm sounds, a caring professional at a 24-hour monitoring center will receive the alert and contact the police or fire department on your behalf. Although this service requires a monthly fee in addition to the cost of your home security system, it can more than pay for itself when you are away from your home and an emergency happens.

A monitored alarm system may also make you eligible to receive a discount on your home insurance. 

REMOTE WIRELESS CONNECTIVITY

A wonderful advancement in home security systems allows homeowners to communicate with their home security system using a smartphone or other wireless device. This feature permits you to arm or disarm your alarm system whether you are in the comfort of your bed or hundreds of miles away. You can also receive instant email or text alerts that inform you when your security system is armed or disarmed. 
All-Inclusive Detection Features

Theft isn’t the only safety issue a good home security system will detect. Today’s systems can also alert you to the presence of smoke, fire, moisture, water, and other potential environmental threats.

WARRANTY

A reputable home security system will come with a warranty that allows you time to utilize the home system to determine if it is right for you. The warranty should also cover system repairs in a timely fashion so your home doesn’t go unprotected for long in the event your system needs repair.

DEPENDABLE CUSTOMER SUPPORT

At some point, you will have questions about your home security system. By selecting a home security company that is known for providing dependable customer support, you can feel confident that you will get the answers you need in a timely fashion. In particular, look for a company that offers in-home consultations to help you perform a safety audit before you install your system. 

In addition to selecting a good home security system, there are several low-tech things you can do to make your home safer. These include:

- Updating the locks on old doors and windows.

- Eliminating hiding spots for intruders by keeping large shrubs or bushes trimmed.

- Participating in your neighborhood watch program.

- Securing your garage and shed with locks.

- Using timers on interior lights, TV and a radio when you are away for long periods of time to discourage intruders.