Tips for Renting Out Your Home

With the rise of services like Airbnb, you may be considering renting out your home for extra income while you’re away for an extended period of time. Though this seems like an ideal solution for families with extra room to spare, it can create issues for those who don’t properly prepare.

To get the most out of renting out your home, keep in mind the following:

  • Review the terms of your insurance policy closely and talk with your insurance broker about renting out your home.
  • Draw up a rental agreement that defines the terms of the rental, including restrictions, liabilities, and occupancy guidelines.
  • Request a security deposit. Explain that this deposit will be refunded if there is no damage to your home.
  • Set aside a secure place in your home to store personal items, such as clothing and valuables.
  • Take pictures of all areas of your home before the rental takes place in case damage occurs while you are away.

If you uncover any red flags while checking references, do not agree to rent your home. Your first priority should be to protect yourself and your property.

Advertisements

Recognize Staged Car Accidents and Help Prevent Insurance Fraud

Staged accidents are a common type of insurance fraud.

Often, dishonest drivers will manoeuvre into auto crashes. While your car may only suffer minor damages, fraudsters can make large claims for fake injuries or charge your auto insurance company for damage.

The following are some tips on how to avoid becoming the victim of a staged auto accident:

  • Call the police immediately if you’re in an accident
  • Report accident claims to your insurance broker immediately. Don’t settle on-site with cash
  • Use medical, car repair, and legal professionals you know and trust
  • Drive defensively and don’t follow other vehicles too closely.

The best way to protect yourself from staged accident fraud is to drive safely at all times.

The best way to protect yourself after an accident occurs is to take detailed notes and photos. The more information you have, the more equipped you are to fight a fraudulent claim.

When possible, your notes should include driver’s licence numbers, VIN, car insurance information, names, addresses, and phone numbers of all parties involved in a crash.

Take A LOT of photos. Even if you don’t think it’s important at the time, it may help prevent headaches in the future. Be sure to get multiple angles and closeups. You should also consider investing in a dash cam.

Accident Scams to Watch For

  • The Drive Down: You’re attempting to merge when another driver waves you forward. Instead of letting you in he slams into your car. The driver will deny ever motioning you.
  • The Swoop and Squat: The first car swoops in while another squats in front of you. After the “accident”, passengers will file bogus injury claims with your insurance company.
  • The T-Bone: You’re crossing an intersection when a car coming from a side street accelerates and hits your car. When the police arrive, the driver and several planted “witnesses” claim that you ran a red light or stop sign.

By comparing as many car insurance companies at once, you’re able to find the best combination of price and coverage that fits your needs. Compare insurance company now by getting a car insurance quote online in minutes.

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.

Getting New Year’s Resolutions Right: Lifestyle Changes vs. Quick Changes

Historically, one of the top New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight. Unfortunately, many people look to fad diets and weight-loss products to achieve their goals quickly.

While fad diets may prove effective initially, research shows that many people don’t find long-term success with these types of diets.

Instead of setting a goal to lose weight fast in 2018, set a goal to lead a healthier lifestyle. Common lifestyle New Year’s resolutions include the following:

  • Exercise regularly – Aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week and to do strength training exercises of major muscle groups at least twice a week. For example, “I will go for a 30 minute walk every day at lunch.”
  • Maintain a well-balanced, healthy diet – Try to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grain,s protein-rich foods, and healthy fats. Make it a goal to incorporate more fruits and veggies in your diet. For example, “I will eat a piece of fruit at lunch ever day”.
  • Increase the amount of sleep you get – One of the best ways to become healthier is to get enough sleep. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep, the expert-recommended amount, per night. For example, “I will turn off my phone at 10:00 PM every night.”

Regardless of what you choose to make your New Year’s resolution, make sure it is a “SMART” goal – one that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely – to increase the odds that you will stick to it.

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.

get an online home insurance quote

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