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Home Insurance 101

What you need to know about insurance as a first time home buyer

What you need to know about first time home insurance. As your Red Deer insurance broker, we’re happy to walk you through this exciting, and sometimes stressful, milestone in your life. Buying home insurance for the first time should be empowering and educational and we take pride in the time we spend to review your policy and ensure you have the right coverage for your risk.

Know your coverage.
We pride ourselves in taking time with your policy. We’re a little nosy too. Why? We want to know everything about your house so that you have the most accurate home insurance. Home insurance policies can be overwhelming and confusing,  and we are committed to educating you about your home insurance policy so that you know what’s covered and what your best options are moving forward.

Discounts, Discounts.
There are lots of homeowners discounts that we can help you take advantage of. The dual policy discount is a big one (combining your home and auto insurance with the same insurance company). Many companies offer a Non-smoker discount and alarm discounts, for this reason, we help you navigate these and make sure you maximize your discounts.

Find out how much coverage you need.
Determining the replacement cost on your new home is something we can walk you through. And remember, the replacement cost is different from your purchase price. It’s based on your square footage, your finishes, and current industry construction costs. Replacement cost is something we continually revisit and ensure it is up to date.

Take a video inventory of your contents.
Contents coverage is another important area of your homeowner’s policy. Because many items like jewelry, art, or wine may need extra coverage, we help you determine what items to schedule and which items are covered under your existing policy wording. Take a walk through your home and take a video of your possessions. Do this every year to keep it current.

Spring Thaw: Know your Water Coverage

Overland Flooding and Sewer Backup

Spring Thaw: Know your Water Coverage. As Spring begins to shine her sleepy head, we want to equip you with some knowledge around water coverage and your home insurance policy. Also, watch for some tips on preventing flooding during the Spring thaw.

First and most importantly, review your home insurance policy and verify you have BOTH sewer backup and overland water coverage. At Beyond Insurance, we are diligent about having the water coverage conversation with our clients and aim to always educate around the benefits of full coverage. It is important to understand the terminology when it comes to water damage, especially overland flooding and sewer backup. Not having coverage for both can result in one cancelling the other out.

Here is a great definition from Wawanesa:

“What is overland flooding? This is when water literally flows ‘over the land,’ and ends up seeping into buildings through any opening — doors, windows, cracks and any open spaces. The Government of Canada calls this “one of the most frequent and costly natural hazards in Canada.”
“What is sewer backup? This is an unfortunate occurrence that often includes foul odours and other unpleasantries. Sewer backups are when water comes up through your sewer system and drain pipes, flooding into your home. This dirty water should be avoided at all costs, as it can also create health hazards for anyone in the house.”
“If you have coverage for sewer backup but not for overland water, your sewer backup coverage may not respond if you experience a backup but there has also been flood water identified inside your home.

Now that you’ve taken the time to review your policy, please don’t hesitate to call us, your Red Deer insurance broker, and we will make sure you are fully and properly insured.

Here are some great tools for preventing flooding at your home during Spring thaw. Thanks to Wawanesa for the excellent tips!

  1. Call the pros: When you think of calling someone in, the dollar signs start to flash. But this is one area you don’t want to skimp on. Have a plumber inspect and maintain your drains, sump pumps and backflow prevention devices. If you don’t have a sump pump and pit along with backflow devices, strong consideration should be given to having these devices installed as soon as possible.
  1. Backwater valves: Install a mainline backwater valve to protect basement plumbing, including the catch basin. Make sure your backwater valve is maintained and cleaned on a regular basis.
  1. Sump pumps: Select the right sump pump for your home by ensuring the motor is large enough to support it. Your sump pump should have its own outlet and circuit breaker, as well as a battery backup in the event of a power failure. Consider installing a warning device to signal water build-up in your sump pit.
  1. Take advantage of rebates: Before installing a backwater valve or sump pump, check with your municipality for incentives or rebates related to the installation of equipment used for flood prevention.
  1. Landscape: Although this will need to be tackled well in advance (before snow falls), it can make a major difference to adjust the slope of your yard and direct water away from your home. Look at the shape of any flower beds and ensure they don’t allow water to pool up near the building. For some lawns and yards, this could be a major landscaping project. As an interim measure, consider the purchase of a submersible pump and hose to drain “low spots” near the foundation.
  1. Get ahead in colder weather: In winter, move snow away from your home’s foundation as much as possible. But first, look up and consider hiring a professional to clear any excessive snow accumulation from the roof.
  1. Spring into action: As the weather warms up, watch for pooling water, reconnect your sump pump hose and extend it away from the foundation. Outside, also reconnect all downspout extensions and ensure they’re free of leaves and other debris. In addition, you’ll want to ensure those downspouts are not connected to the weeping tile and are directed away from your home.

As always, please don’t hesitate to connect with us. We are happy to answer any questions you have around your home policy, as well as your auto, commercial, farm or liability policies.

Excel Insurance Group a TOP 10 Canadian Brokerage

Excel Insurance Group has been named a TOP 10 Canadian Insurance Brokerage in 2021.

We are so pleased and honored to announce that the Excel Insurance Group has been recognized as one of the TOP 10 Canadian Insurance Brokerages in 2021 by Insurance Business Canada.  What a true honor to have our group recognized for their innovation and leadership in the industry. Excel Insurance Group is driven by the entrepreneurial qualities of its partners. For not even a decade, Excel has worked to grow from managing several million dollars in premiums in one office to more than $200 million across 17 locations. At Beyond Insurance, we are one of 17 partner offices that comprise the Excel Insurance Group.

Excel came about as a solution to a common succession issue in the insurance industry. Over the past few years, owners and principles in locally owned brokerages prepare to retire, and Insurance companies and brokerage conglomerates have been swallowing up local independent brokers. In this, clients suffer through reduced market options and ‘packaged’ insurance solutions. Excel Insurance Group partners maintain their entrepreneurial qualities, their revenue and their equity.

Long term, locally owned brokerages can stay local, and clients benefit from the independent broker’s ability to respond quickly, act decisively and deliver without compromise.

Excel Insurance Group established itself by delivering expert insurance, risk management and surety service to our clients operating in Canada and around the world. We are proud of the Excel Group reputation and continue to uphold the brand and service level with our clients, broker partners and underwriters.

The capabilities of Excel Insurance Group are vast and specialized. As a trusted Partner in the Assurex Global Network, our Group’s expertise help multi-national and cross-border clients to avoid the regulatory pitfalls related to the use of unlicensed (non admitted) insurance in Canada.

Again, we could not be more proud of our partnership with Excel Insurance Group and are honored to have our group recognized as the number 6 Brokerage in Canada in 2021.

Want to know more about the Excel Insurance Group? Check them out.

Want to see the Beyond Service Difference? Show Me Beyond

Insurance Renewal Increases: And what we’re doing for you.

Have your insurance renewals increased 20, 30, 40 percent? Ya, we hear you. As we navigate the changing insurance marketplace together, you can rest assured our team is working diligently to provide the service you deserve for your insurance needs. Here’s how we’re mitigating the industry change for our clients.
If you are a current Beyond client, you have already been benefiting from our proactive approach to insurance renewals. Each renewal is personally reviewed and we take great care in making sure your coverage and policy information is up to date and that your rates are competitive. We actively go to market for you when a policy has a large increase on renewal, and share the market results of numerous insurers.
We broker more than TWENTY reputable insurance companies. This means, we can quote your insurance risk to all of these markets and find the best coverage, package and rate for your insurance needs.  And we care about assessing your FULL insurance risk.
Bring us your full insurance portfolio to increase your discounts & minimize your risk.
If you’re not currently a Beyond Insurance client and you’d like a quote, we are happy to help! Our online quote form is thorough and provides us all the information we need to get the right information to the right insurance providers for your quote. Take the time to fill out all of your insurance risk including Home, Auto and Business or Commercial. You maximize your discounts and minimize your risk exposure by having us review your FULL insurance portfolio. Start your quote here:
https://beyondinsurance.ca/get-a-quote/
Want to know more? We’ve got a blog about what’s behind all of these industry changes and rate increases.
https://beyondinsurance.ca/insurance/why-the-insurance-rate-increase/
 
#insurance #insurancebroker #insurancereddeer #yqf #reddeer #alberta #albertainsurance #rateincrease #albertainsurance #ShowMeBeyond

Winter Tires and Your Insurance

How does having winter tires on your vehicle affect your insurance? If you put winter tires on your car, let us know! It could mean a discount on your insurance policy. Does you car have AI? Same thing! It could mean a reduced rate for your auto insurance policy.
Winter has arrived and we’ve got a hot tip for you. If you put winter tires on your vehicle every winter, let us know. Some insurance companies offer discounts to your auto insurance if you change your tires over to winters every season. We will update your file and in some cases, this generates a discount on your policy.
Also, Insurance companies are getting more and more sophisticated and recognizing AI technology in vehicles. Be sure to inform us if your vehicle has advanced braking features, or lane assist. These features can sometimes generate a discount for your auto policy as well.
As your Red Deer insurance broker, we are accessible, available and always looking for great information to share with you about your insurance policy.

Accident Checklist

Top 5 Things to do if you get into an accident

So, you got into an accident…now what? Here are our top 5 things to do immediately.

  1. Ensure everyone is safe and unharmed. If there are injuries, please call 911. Locate witnesses and gather their information
  2. Take photos. Document damage and the scene of the accident with photos. Also, take photos of the other parties insurance information
  3. Call the police to report the accident
  4. If the vehicle is safe to drive, take it somewhere safe to park. Alternatively, call a tow truck. Many auto policies include coverage for a rental vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced. Be sure to review your policy with your broker to ensure you have this coverage.
  5. File a claim. Contact your broker. You can call or text us directly and we will gather the information needed to file the claim on your behalf. Alternately, on our website, you can find a 24/7 claims portal OR 1-800 number for each insurance company. You will be prompted to provide the accident information and file the claim directly to the insurance company.

We are always, always available to walk you through this process. We are available by text, email, or phone and are happy to review your policy coverage or walk you through any questions you may have. If your vehicle does need repairs, be sure to ask us for recommendations on where to take it for a repair estimate.

Remember to stay calm, take pictures, and ensure that everyone’s safety is your top priority. Want another hot tip? Print out these 5 steps and keep them with your proof of insurance. That way, you have them handy to follow if you do end up in an accident.

Restaurant Insurance

Let’s talk about Restaurant Insurance and why choosing Beyond Insurance as your broker is the best choice!

Do you own a restaurant, lounge, or bar? We’re happy to help you identify potential coverage gaps and develop a balanced insurance program together, managing risk, premiums, and coverage offerings. 

Here are a few services we offer when it comes to managing your commercial insurance portfolio;

-Site Visits

-Inspection Follow Up

-Current program audit

-Review and Renewal strategy

-Resources such as equipment schedules, incident logbooks, referral partners, and industry-specific templates

We are accessible Insurance professionals, who work hard to understand your unique business and build a lasting relationship. We are entrepreneurial just like you and passionate about building our community and seeing local businesses grow and succeed. What makes us your best choice for Insurance in Red Deer? We compete against the biggest players, and we win. Our combination of market access, extensive risk analysis, and industry experience sets us apart.

Check out our Common Exposures for restaurants checklist on Facebook.

Greg Weik, Associate Partner

Greg has over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry. He is a businessman, entrepreneur, father, and was born and raised in Red Deer. Greg takes pride in his honest communication and his accessible, personalized service.

Looking for Red Deer’s best insurance broker? At Beyond, we are the new standard for innovative, anticipatory, community-based Insurance brokerages.

As Associate Partner, he connects with his community and offers experienced advice. He delivers the high level of service we are known for. Greg is truly respected in the Red Deer community and we pride ourselves in surrounding ourselves with brokers of integrity, knowledge, and honesty.

COVID-19 Return to Work Toolkit

As we step into another new and uncharted season of COVID-19, we have a COVID-19 Return to Work Toolkit for our businesses. Flexibility is key as the situation evolves, but we advise our businesses to use the utmost cautious as they chose to re-open. Please create a plan for the health and safety of your staff and clients. Also, remember that employees will have higher expectations of you, so continued, open and honest communication with your teams/staff is
critical.

The Return to Work Tool Includes:

1. Communication sample templates

Workplace Coronavirus Infection Email to Employees, Essential Worker Employee Communications Letter, Letter Recalling Furloughed Employee, Communication Letter to Employees Re: Temperature Testing at Worksite, and a Survey Questions to Gauge Return To Work Concerns of Employees.

2. Preventative Measures Checklists

Preventative Measures Cloth Mask Information and Care Instructions, Sample Standard Operation Procedure Plan –Temperature Checks, Sample Health Screening Form for Visitors, 10 Steps All Workplaces Can Take to Reduce Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus (OSHA), and a Stop the Spread of Germs at Work (SHRM) tip sheet.

Please connect with us if these are resources you think will be helpful for your business as you navigate re-opening and bringing staff back into your spaces.

As we continue to navigate the changing guidelines in our community and province regarding re-opening, we also want to share this resource published by a Comparative Immunologist and Professor of Biology (specializing in Immunology) at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

https://www.erinbromage.com/…/the-risks-know-them-avoid-them

Beyond Insurance will continue to practice social distancing in our office. We will continue to operate in a digital manner with our clients (via phone, email, text, video conferencing, and Docusign). Our office will remain closed to the public and walk-in traffic as we continue to respect the safety and health of our staff and their families.

We look forward to seeing everyone face to face soon, and will likely be doing this via an appointment only format. If you have questions or want help organizing a safe reopening strategy for your business, as your Red Deer insurance professionals, we are here to help you navigate and manage those risks.

COVID-19 and your Auto Commute

Many insurance companies are pivoting and offering solutions for COVID-19 and your auto commute. We continue to compile resources from every company that we represent to ensure we are keeping you up to date on how to best manage your insurance policies during the COVID-19 social distancing and isolation.

You are no longer commuting to work

If you still require use of your vehicle, but you are no longer using it to commute to work/school during the pandemic, or if your vehicle is driving significantly fewer kilometers over this period, we can adjust the applicable policy information. For example, if your vehicle was used for business purposes or driving to and from work or school, we can determine if you now qualify to modify your policy to pleasure use.

As a quick disclaimer, it is important to note that, in order to avoid potential risk of being under-insured, you are responsible for calling us to have the use and/or mileage adjusted once your situation changes. 

You are no longer driving your vehicle at all during the COVID-19 pandemic

It’s important that you understand the options available. If you are not using your vehicle at all during the pandemic, there are two options:

1. You can chat with us about reducing liability coverage as well as your comprehensive and collision deductibles.

2. You can choose to park the vehicle and completely remove road coverage. This is something we will chat with you about on a case-to-case basis and help you determine your risk vs. reward for amending coverage in this way.

Please note – if the vehicle is leased or has a lien holder, we can’t reduce to Comprehensive only without written confirmation from the lessor or lien holder.

 

Paying your Premiums

We are proud of the insurance companies we represent as many of them are offering flexible payment options or even payment deferral options. If you feel you can not pay your insurance premium, please contact us and we can navigate this with you and the insurance company.

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