What do driving less, moving, putting your vehicle in storage, buying a new water heater and installing an alarm system have in common? All of these are changes that you should (or must) disclose to your insurer. Here is a brief guide to the various situations that should be brought to your broker’s attention to ensure you’re always covered!
Why should you inform your broker of any changes to your situation?
Your situation is constantly changing – that’s the nature of life. While calling your broker to notify them of these changes probably isn’t your first instinct, that phone call could pay off and save you plenty of trouble down the line!
- In the event of a claim, you’ll want to make sure you receive what you’re owed. Failing to mention certain situations in your file could result in your insurer refusing to reimburse you in full following a loss (or, in some cases, not reimbursing you at all).
- Certain changes may save you money on your insurance premium.
When you request an insurance quote, you are asked a series of questions. This information is required to determine what coverage you need. It’s also a crucial factor in the insurer’s decision whether or not to accept the risk. Think back to the questions you were asked when you took out your insurance policy, and ask yourself whether your answers would be the same today.
Important changes for car insurance:
- The area where you use your car affects your premium.
- Driving more or less. With the COVID-19 situation in particular, your typical mileage may have changed. If you’re working from home, you probably spend a lot less time behind the wheel! On the other hand, you may use your car more frequently to make deliveries (Uber Eats, for example). Whatever your situation may be, it must be declared to your insurer.
- Putting your vehicle in storage. Your coverage will be adjusted and you will receive a credit toward your premium while your vehicle is in storage.
- Changes to your driving record. A Highway Safety Code violation or driver’s licence suspension may affect your premium and the insurer’s willingness to accept the risk.
- Adding or removing a driver. If your teen just got their driver’s licence and will now be using your car, make sure to mention it!
- Modifying your vehicle. Some modifications improve your vehicle’s performance, while others are purely aesthetic. Either way, you must notify your insurer so the modification can be noted in your file and the vehicle’s value can be taken into account.
Important changes for home insurance:
- Renovating your home. Renovations to your home, whether minor or major, must be noted in your insurance file.
- Adding an additional insured. Do you have a new roommate, or is your partner moving in with you? Give your insurer a call!
- Replacing your water heater. If you replace your old water heater, notify your broker to update your file and ensure that no exclusions apply.
- Sending your child off to university. Your young adult child has moved into their own apartment and you want them to get tenant insurance? They may automatically be covered by your insurance policy.
- Acquiring valuables. Have you finally built your dream wine cellar? Valuables are often excluded from home insurance policies. Call us to make sure this exciting addition to your home is covered!
- Becoming self-employed. If you’ve recently made a career change and now run your business from your home, it’s importance to bring this information to your insurer’s attention.
- Installing an alarm system. You may be eligible for a discount on your insurance premium!
In short, don’t wait until you renew to inform us of any changes to your situation! Also remember that by law, you are required to disclose any facts that are likely to increase the risk as soon as you become aware of them. Failing to declare certain facts in order to save money isn’t a wise strategy, since you may not be reimbursed in the event of a loss, even if the loss has nothing to do with your misrepresentation. Keep that in mind: it’s better to say too much than too little! Make a habit of calling your broker when in doubt!