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Things To Consider Before Renewing Your Insurance

When your insurance renewal arrives, do yourself a big favour: don’t ignore it

Renewal time is the perfect time to check that your insurance still covers you sufficiently, and that you’re not paying too much.

 

Many Canadians just allow their insurance to renew automatically, without taking time to consider if the premiums and if the coverage levels are still a match for their life circumstances. This could cost hundreds of dollars in extra premiums, and even more if you have to make a claim that you’re not sufficiently covered for if the worst were to happen.

 

Whether it’s auto, home,  or term life insurance, reviewing your policy is essential. If you’re not sure where to start, here are our top tips on what you should consider when you that insurance renewal notice arrives.

 

AUTO INSURANCE 

 

  • Assess What’s Changed

If any of the following changes have happened over the last year, you need to consider discussing them with your insurance representative:

 

The number of drivers using your car has changed

You’ve started (or stopped) using your car for work

Your commute distance has changed

You installed an anti-theft device

You received a speeding ticket or other traffic violation

You installed big-ticket upgrades like a new stereo system, or premium rims

There is unrepaired damage to the car

 

Any of these changes could mean a reduction in your premiums or that you need to adjust your policy to ensure you’re adequately covered.

 
  • Things to Ask Your Insurance Representative

Auto insurance varies from company to company, so here are a few questions to consider asking your representative to make sure you have the coverage you need:

 

Does your insurance cover car rental insurance when your car is being repaired after an accident?

Does it cover damage caused by vandalism or hitting an animal?

Are you covered for damage caused by rodents?

Does coverage include weather damage such as hail and flooding?

Are you covered for towing expenses?

 

  • Be Sure You’re Getting the Best Premium Rate

Shopping around for a better quote is one of the first things you might consider when you receive your auto insurance renewal notice. An insurance broker can get you quotes from a wide range of insurance providers. You can then decide to either switch insurance providers or use the quote as leverage to negotiate a better deal with your current provider. Check reviews on service levels for insurance providers before you switch to ensure that support is smooth when there is an issue you need to claim for.

 

Many insurance companies offer employer and university alumni group rates for both auto and home insurance, which could reduce premiums by as much as 20%.

 

Consider bundling your auto and home insurance together. If your household has more than one vehicle, ask your representative if it makes sense to put them all on one policy. The savings can be up to 15% for auto and as much as 50% for home insurance.

 

Increasing your deductible will also reduce your premiums. Just be prepared to pay more towards the cost of repairs if you do have an accident.

 

HOME INSURANCE

 
  • Assess What’s Changed

If your home insurance premium has gone up, talk to your provider or insurance representative about discounts. A new alarm system or dead bolts or a new sump pump or backwater valve could all reduce your premium.

 

As with auto insurance, shop around for a better deal. Our tips for saving on auto insurance work for home insurance as well.

 

Check that your renewal coverage is enough for your current needs. Talk to your representative if any of the following changes have happened over the last year:

 

You bought expensive jewellery, artwork, electronics or technology

You carried out renovations like new windows, roof, flooring, an addition, a new bathroom or kitchen

You installed a new boiler or heating/cooling system

 

Your original insurance coverage was based on the old value of your home. Once you make changes that substantially increase its value, you need to look into increasing your coverage as well.

 

  • Things to Ask Your Insurance Representative

Home insurance can also vary greatly, so here are some questions you could ask your representative regarding your coverage:

 

Are you covered if your dog attacks someone?

Does coverage include flood damage, winter run off damage, and sewer backup?

Will your liability coverage extend to pool or hot tub accidents?

Are your valuables covered?

Will your insurance pay out for damage caused by animals like rodents, birds, bats and insects?

What would happen if something you did or something on your property caused damage to a neighbours home or property?

How long would you be covered for if your home was damaged significantly enough that you had to be displaced? How would that work?

Are you covered for weather (wind/hail) damage to your exterior, windows and/or trees and garden?

What would you not be covered for?

 

  • Changes That Often Impact Your Home Insurance Coverage

Someone new living in your home, like a baby or an elderly parent – even if it’s just for an extended temporary period

Starting to run a business out of your home

Renting out all or part of your home, either short or long-term

Leaving your home vacant for long periods, e.g., over the winter months  - this requires special coverage to be added to most policies

 

Talk to your insurance representative or provider about these changes to make sure you’re fully covered.

 

TERM LIFE INSURANCE 

 
  • Assess Your Coverage – This is Essential

Life insurance renewal terms are typically 10 or even 20 years.  A lot can happen over that period, so renewal is the perfect time to reevaluate your coverage.

 

According to research by investment company Edward Jones, 23% of Canadians said they were not prepared financially if they were to die prematurely. And only 16% had enough life insurance to cover remaining mortgage payments.

 

Major life changes, like getting married or divorced, starting a family, losing a partner, getting a promotion and buying a home can all affect the amount of coverage you need.

 

If you were to die, would your coverage allow your family to continue living in the family home? Would it replace your income? Would your kids’ education costs be covered? Would your family be financially secure? If not, it may be time to increase your life insurance coverage.

 
  • Switching Your term life insurance

Renewals of term life insurance can bring large increases in premiums, sometimes ten times more than before. In this case - and when you need to increase your coverage - it may be time to switch your insurance.

 

If you are in good health and comfortable with having a medical exam, switching companies for your next term insurance may make sense. If you’re healthy, you will probably be able to increase your coverage and save money. Term rates have been coming down in recent years, so switching providers could be cheaper than renewing your old policy.

 

If you have health issues that could affect your premiums, it may be better to switch to permanent life insurance. You can do this without a medical and this could be the most affordable way to increase your coverage.

 

 

  • Things to Ask Your Insurance Representative

Your life insurance is an extremely important investment. If the worst were to happen, you want to be sure that your beneficiaries will get paid out. Consider asking your representative these questions to ensure you have the coverage you need:

 

What is the contestable period and how might it affect the payout?

Are you covered if you travel to a war zone or restricted country?

Will your insurance company pay out if you die during a high-risk activity like skydiving, base jumping or scuba diving?

Are you covered if you die through reckless endangerment or suicide?

 

What To Do Next

 

When you receive your insurance renewal, discuss it with your Chinook licensed insurance representative. They’ll be able to provide you with the most beneficial options for your situation and find coverage that’s right for you, at the best prices.

 

Find An Advisor Near You

 

The Legal Stuff:

*CUMIS is our insurance partner, providing insurance protection to our members. CUMIS is a trademark of CUMIS Insurance Society, Inc. and is used under license. Insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company. For details, please visit www.cumis.com. Legal Terms of Use apply.