321 Frederick St., Kitchener, ON, N2H 2N8 - Tel: (519) 576-2020

Answers to Commonly Asked Questions about Ontario Insurance

Q: What are deductibles?

A: A deductible is what you pay to cover a sustained loss before you are entitled to payments by your insurer. Nearly every insurance policy has a deductible of some kind, ranging from $500 – $5,000. The purpose of deductibles is to discourage small claims—the purpose of insurance is to protect the insured in cases of major loss, not minor inconveniences.

Q: What factors affect my insurance premium?

A: In addition to age, your insurance premium is impacted by a number of factors, including:

  • Your driving record
  • The type of vehicle you drive
  • What you use your vehicle for
  • The number of people regularly driving the vehicle
  • Where you live
  • The type of insurance coverage you select
  • Several industry-related factors, including markets, inflation, taxes and regulations

Q: If my car is in an accident, what are my options for getting the damage appraised?

A: You are welcome to have your vehicle’s damage appraised wherever you wish. However, we may suggest that you have your car appraised at one of the licensed repair facilities that we recommend.

Q: How does car rental coverage work if I get in an accident?

A: If your auto insurance policy covers you in the case of loss of use, it may also cover the use of a rental car. Talk to your broker to learn more.

Q: Can someone borrow my car?

A: Generally speaking, yes, anyone can drive your car if they have your permission, the appropriate driver’s license and the car is properly insured. It’s important to note, however, that if a friend borrows your car and then has a car accident, your auto insurance policy is more than likely going to be affected. The accident will probably also appear on your friend’s driving record. Accidents tend to follow BOTH the person driving AND the car, so lend your car to another with care.

Q: Am I covered when I’m driving someone else’s car?

A: If you borrow someone else’s car, you are covered by the insurance on that car. However, if you are involved in an accident, the owner’s record and your record may be affected.

Q: Does my insurance cover me when I’m renting a car?

A: Your Ontario Automobile policy will extend coverage to a rental car if you have added the OPCF #27 Endorsement (Liability for Damage to Non-Owned Automobiles).

If you drive a rented car or any vehicle that is not owned by you and you have this coverage, your existing policy automatically extends accident benefits and third party liability coverage to your rented car. These limits are the same as those on your own car. It is important to note that this endorsement usually has a limit. So, if you rent a luxury car, you should be aware that the cost of repairs is limited. This endorsement is simple to arrange and far more economical than the costly damage waivers offered by rental companies.

Q: What does my insurance cover if I rent a car in the U.S.?

A: Your Ontario Automobile policy will extend coverage to a rental car if you have added the OPCF #27 Endorsement (Liability for Damage to Non-Owned Automobiles). Please keep in mind that the purchase of this endorsement does not provide “downtime insurance,” which seems to be a new term being used in the state of Florida.

“Downtime insurance” is coverage requested for loss of income that the rental car agency could suffer should a vehicle need to be taken off the road and is in for repairs as a result of an accident. The rental agency offers this type of coverage with an additional charge on the contract and if the consumer declines, the rental agency will attempt to charge the consumer at an approximate rate of $25-$30 a day.

Q: I work from home. Do I need extra insurance?

A: Anyone who runs their business from home can benefit from additional coverage. You can purchase an add-on to your homeowners, condo or renters insurance that covers your computer equipment and other business property; liability if someone hurts themselves while visiting you; and reimbursement for extra expenses to keep your business going after a loss that’s covered.

Q: Why do I need condo insurance?

A: Your own policy will protect your personal property, provide upgrades to your unit and provide personal liability should anyone hurt themselves while visiting your unit.

You also want loss assessment coverage. While you own your unit, you also own a share of the common (or shared) areas of your condominium (like the lobby, roof, swimming pool, fitness centre and so on). When it comes to personal liability, you may be held responsible if someone hurts themselves in a common area or if you cause damage to a common area.

Q: Do I need renter’s insurance?

A: While you may not need a lot of coverage for your personal possessions, you do want the added security of personal liability insurance and for living expenses if, due to loss or damage, you cannot live in your rental (for example, while repairs are made after a fire).

Q: What should I do before going away for vacation?

A: Most insurance policies state that if you intend to be away from your house more than 4 consecutive days, you need to do one of the following in order for coverage to be maintained:

Arrange for a competent person to enter your home daily to ensure that heating is being maintained
Use a heating alarm monitored by a 24-hour service
Shut off the water supply and drain all the pipes and appliances before leaving

Q: What if a property is empty?

A: A fully vacant property is one with no occupants and no contents. This may occur if a house sale is delayed and the property remains vacant until sold. In this case, you need to obtain a vacancy permit from your insurer. The permit will maintain most of your coverage, except for risk associated with vacancy such as broken water pipes, glass or vandalism.

Q: Does my insurance cover me in the event of an earthquake?

A: This is not an automatic coverage in your homeowner policy. Earthquake coverage is sold as additional coverage and can be very expensive. To determine whether you should purchase earthquake insurance call our office and discuss your options.

Q: What is covered under water damage?

A: Coverage is usually limited to damage arising from sudden and accidental escape of water from an indoor plumbing, heating, sprinkler or air-conditioning system; or from a “domestic appliance” on your premises; or from a water main. Coverage usually excludes damage arising from:

  1. Floodwater – such as that from an overflowing river or any body of water
  2. Repeated or continuous water seepage (from a cracked basement wall or an un-repaired pipe)
  3. The backing up of water from a sewer, sump or septic tank (may be covered by Sewer Back Up Endorsement)
  4. Leaky gutters and downspouts