Learn how to file an insurance claim the right way

Accidents and natural disasters can strike without warning!

surprise flood

When this happens, you will have to file an insurance claim in order for your policy to kick in and recoup your losses.

To get the most out of the claims process, consider the following tips:

Call your insurance broker as soon as an incident occurs.

  • The sooner you get the process moving, the better.
  • After you’ve contacted your insurance broker, you can ask the adjuster to come and inspect the damage.

Document your losses before the adjuster comes.

  • Make a thorough list of property that has been impacted by a disaster.
  • Provide purchase receipts, or estimate how much the belongings cost and when you bought them.

Take photographs of the scene.

  • Don’t throw out damaged items before notifying your insurance broker and adjuster.

Above all, it’s important to document the claims process, noting when you speak with your insurance broker and what the conversation entailed.

At Scrivens, we keep detailed notes on every customer interaction.

This helps track the amount of reimbursement you should receive and allows you to keep a record of insurance claims for future use.

Scrivens highly recommends everyone keep a thorough home inventory to help make the claims process run smoothly and quickly. You can download our Home Inventory Checklist in Excel format here.

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Are you prepared for a home break-in?

While it may be difficult to imagine it happening to you, home break-ins are a common occurrence. In the past 6 months there were approximately 959 incidents of breaking and entering in Ottawa.

breaking and entering

If an intruder enters your home, your property and the well-being of your loved ones are at risk. In order to protect your home and family from intruders, consider doing the following:

  • Put an emergency plan in place and discuss it with everyone in your household
  • Never post on social media that you will be away and wait until you return home to post photos from vacations. When on vacation, arrange to have your home appear lived-in by having someone shoveling the driveway, collect the mail, setting lights on timers, etc.
  • Take any measure possible to let the intruder know someone is home and aware of his or her presence
  • Do not assume the intrude is unarmed. He or she may be concealing a knife or gun and could produce ti at a moment’s notice
  • If you have something immediately available you can use for defence, grab it, even if it is just a scare tactic.
  • Remain vigilant. Take note of the intruder’s physical characteristics and provide the most accurate description possible to the police if he or she gets away

In addition to the above, consider arming your home with a security system. A security system may seem expensive, but knowing your family and possessions are safe at all times may make it worth the cost.

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Preventing Vehicle Rust is a Winter Thing, Too

While dirt on a vehicle is unsightly, it can also wear away your car’s finish and accelerate rusting. This can be expensive, difficult to reverse and even negatively affect your car’s resale value.

Prevent Vehicle Rust
To protect your car against rust, practise the following:

  1. Wash your car often, even during the winter months. Salt that builds up during this time can create holes in the body of your car.
  2. Wax your car from time to time to protect the finish. This can help prevent oxidation that leads to rusting.
  3. Utilize car washes that feature hand-held pressure wands. Pay close attention to the undercarriage during washes, as that’s the primary risk area for rusting.
  4. Address scratches and dents that appear on your vehicle’s body, as they can easily lead to rusting.

Experts recommend that you wash your vehicle at least once a month if possible. Keeping these tips in mind will help preserve the car’s resale value and help you save thousands on body work.

Your Home Away From Home

If you’re investing in a second home, Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions has gathered some insurance basics that will help you make the best buying decision when it comes to determining insurability and estimating your ongoing cost of ownership.

Coverage Options

At a minimum, your lender will require that you carry hazard insurance to protect your property against damage from theft, fire, flooding or windstorms. It is also a good idea to add liability insurance, which covers you and members of your household for accidental injuries to your visitors. Opting for property plus liability insurance adds up to a standard homeowners insurance package. For an extra layer of protection, a personal umbrella liability policy extends your liability coverage for properties named in the policy.

Dwelling Fire Insurance

Since most homeowner policies require occupancy as a condition of insurance, the fact that you visit infrequently may preclude you from obtaining full homeowners coverage. Dwelling fire insurance is an alternate coverage option used for insuring residential rental or non-owner occupancy property, including vacant property.

A dwelling fire policy continues to offer coverage for a home and other structures (detached sheds or garages, for example) for perils named in the policy. Named perils listed in a typical fire dwelling policy protect against damage caused by fire, collapse, lightning strike, wind, hail, explosion and smoke. For more coverage, consider adding personal property protection and liability insurance to a dwelling fire policy.

Renting Out Your Home to Others?

Whether your second property is an apartment unit or a family home, if you are renting the property, you will have little control over the physical damage that can occur in or on it. To mitigate your risks, tenant-occupied dwelling insurance will cover the costs incurred by damage, including fire, storms, burglary and vandalism. It does not cover your tenant’s personal property.

Renting your property furnished or unfurnished also has insurance coverage implications. If you are renting your property furnished, make sure to let us know. We can advise you on the best coverage options and whether you need to consider requiring longer-term tenants to carry additional renter’s insurance.

As with all homeowners insurance, it is important to be sure that there is enough coverage to protect all of your property values and assets when purchasing coverage.

property insurance

New Car Features That Improve Driver Safety

As vehicle technology advances, consumers have access to a variety of new safety features. The following are just some new technologies to look for the next time you shop for a vehicle:

  • Adaptive headlights: This feature uses information like steering wheel movement and speed to pivot the direction of your headlights, thus improving visibility.
  • Collision monitoring: These systems alert drivers with audio, visual or physical cues when sensing an impending crash.
  • Electronic stability controls: These tools slow individual wheels during turns to help keep a car on course.
  • Onboard cameras: These 360-degree cameras improve visibly when drivers back up or park.
  • Lane assist: These systems detect if your vehicle departs a lane and can even provide corrective action.

Avoiding Scams When Doing Home Improvements

Remodels and other home improvements are an important part of being a property owner. When done correctly, these projects can add value to a home and make it more attractive to future buyers.

Unfortunately, hiring a contractor to complete home improvement projects is not always simple. The average homeowner is often unaware of the average cost of materials and labour. What’s more, construction projects can be stressful, and it’s common for individuals to rush when choosing a construction firm just to get a job done faster.

As a result, homeowners are an easy target for contractor fraud, which is when a firm performs substandard repairs or offers services that deliberately cheat another party. To avoid contractor fraud and ensure that your home improvements are done to a high standard, look out for the following:

  • Contractors that contact you looking for work
  • Unsolicited, free home inspections that turn up problems you were previously unaware of
  • Contractors that want you to commit to repairs immediately
  • Contractors that request money in advance
  • Contractors that do not get the right permits or want to sell extra materials to you for a cheap price

When choosing a contractor, obtain as many references as you can and be diligent about researching reputable firms. If you are the victim of contractor fraud, you can report it to your local police department or notify services like the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

Protecting Your Home From Storms

Heavy rainfall, high winds, hail and lightning from storms can cause severe damage to your home and endanger you and your family. In fact, flooding alone can cost Canadians an average of $42,000.

Make sure to protect your home from storm damage by taking the following steps:

  • Be aware of the types of storms that are likely to affect your area, and always listen to the weather forecast so you can stay informed of potentially dangerous weather patterns.
  • Update your home inventory at least once a year in case a storm causes damage to your home or possessions.
  • Inspect the outside of your home for any damage that could cause a leak. Even a small leak in your home’s roof, siding or foundation can cause severe damage and weaken the structural integrity of your home.
  • Prepare a home disaster kit that includes a first-aid kit, flashlight, battery-powered radio and clean water. You should also create emergency shelter and evacuation plans with your family in the event that any of you are separated during a severe storm.
  • Check your home’s windows, doors and gutters to ensure they can withstand heavy rainfall and high wind speeds.
  • Contact Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions to make sure that your home insurance policy offers enough protection to cover storm damage, or to learn more about home storm protection.