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.

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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.

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

Home-Based Business Coverage

What Protection Does it Offer

Common coverages for home-based businesses include personal business property, professional liability, business income, personal and advertising injury, loss of business data, crime, theft, and auto coverage. Depending on the type of home-based business you have, not all coverages apply, and other coverage options may be available.

Coverage Options

Based on your business needs, you have three basic coverage options to choose from, depending on your level of risk:

Homeowners Policy Endorsement

This provides the least amount of coverage and, therefore, is not ideal for most home-based businesses (depending on the level of risk). While it may provide enough coverage for a freelance writer with one computer and no business foot traffic, it’s not enough for someone who employs others, has clients visiting his or her home or has valuable business equipment and/or inventory.

In-Home Business Policy

More comprehensive than a homeowners policy endorsement, in-home business coverage is a stand-alone policy that provides higher amounts of coverage for business equipment and liability.

Business Owners Policy (or BOP)

A BOP bundles property and liability insurance into one policy. Created specifically for the small- to mid-size business, a BOP covers your business property and equipment, loss of income, extra expense, and liability. It is the most comprehensive property and liability option. It does not include health or disability insurance, which are available as separate policies.

What’s Your Risk?

While most homeowners insurance policies do cover a limited amount of business equipment – computers, copiers, and printers, to name a few – it’s likely that what you own is worth more than your policy’s limits. Also, your homeowners liability insurance probably won’t cover any injuries that may occur to the employees or clients that you have on your premises. What’s a home-based businessperson to do?

Scrivens is Here to Help!

Properly insuring your home-based business is crucial to protecting both your business and your home. At Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions, we understand the small business owner’s personal and business needs, and can help you tailor coverage that’s as unique as the products and services you provide. Contact us today at 613-236-9101 to learn more about how we can help you insure your livelihood.

The 10 Most Common Life Insurance Myths

Life Insurance. Just the term itself can put people on edge. You might think you are wasting time and money if you sign up for life insurance if you don’t consider it necessary.

However, you should purchase life insurance because it will be essential sometime in the future. Life insurance protects your loved ones in case something happens to you by designating beneficiaries who will collect financial benefits upon your death.

Term life insurance is generally the simplest and cheapest form – you buy coverage for a specific time period, and it can usually be renewed, but premiums will increase based on age and health factors. All other types of life insurance are permanent, but there are a few varieties – whole life, universal life, and variable life. Each type is slightly different, making each one ideal for certain types of people.

The ten myths listed below are some of the largest misconceptions individuals have regarding the necessity of life insurance. Read on to learn why life insurance is important to purchase.

Myth 1: I just simply don’t see the need for life insurance.

No on is immune to having to pay back his or her financial obligations after death. If you have a vehicle to pay off, or credit card or student loan debt that has accumulated, life insurance is a very beneficial option for you. If you die unexpectedly, no one waves a magic wand and makes those responsibilities disappear – you have to make the preparations to take care of them, or your family members will be stuck with the bills.

Myth 2: I’m young. Why would I start spending my money on life insurance now?

Being young also usually means you’re more active and probably putting yourself at risk more often than the older generation by travelling, clubbing, hiking, boating, driving longer distances, and staying out later. Your body may be younger and less likely to break down on you, but your high-risk activities put you in the same boat as older, less healthy people.

Myth 3: I’m a stay-at-home parent. There isn’t a need to replace my income, since there isn’t an income to replace.

If you’re a stay-at-home parent and you pass away, your spouse may not be able to afford childcare for your kids. Or, if there is no partner in the picture, your relatives or friends might not be able to take care of your children in a way that allows them to attend the same school, with the same parenting style you used, etc. Also, when the time comes for college, you will want your children to have the option of affording the education they desire.

Not having an income and staying at home means you are saving money you would be spending from a spouse’s income (or from any other source of income) on childcare and even on tending to your home. When you’re gone, those things still need to be covered, and life insurance can do that for you.

Myth 4: My kids are all adults and my house has been paid off, so what do I need life insurance for?

Everyone has daily living expenses. Just because the home is paid off doesn’t mean there aren’t other financial obligations for which your spouse would be responsible, such as owning multiple cars, a boat, an RV, or another large purchase you both made later on in your lives.

Also, consider this: if your spouse outlives you by 10, 20, or even 30 years, he or she might not be able to afford to stay in an assisted living centre when he or she can no longer take care of him- or herself.

You need to ensure that your spouse continues living with the same financial security he or she has with you now. You don’t want your spouse to fear having to take care of daily expenses with only half the income.

Myth 5: I’m a smoker. Insurance companies won’t even consider me.

Being a smoker doesn’t mean you can’t get coverage. Your premium will be a bit higher than the premium for someone who doesn’t smoke, but it is more affordable than you may think.

Myth 6: Even if I quit smoking, I’ll always be considered a smoker to insurance companies and be stuck paying a higher premium.

Most insurance companies consider you a nonsmoker if you’ve stayed away from cigarettes for at least a year. Even if the first six months were an accident because your spouse hid your cigarette packs, you can most likely get your premium lowered after a year.

Myth 7: Life insurance seems too good to be true.

It can seem that way, but it’s not. Life insurance isn’t like one of those free vacation spam emails – it’s the real deal. As long as you keep paying the premium, you’re covered, whether that is until your kids move out or until your home is paid off.

Myth 8: It is too much of a hassle to obtain life insurance.

Finding life insurance isn’t as hard as you think. Getting a life insurance quote is quick and painless. All you need to do is provide basic information about yourself, including height, weight, age, and gender. Once you have a quote, you can choose the right coverage for you.

Myth 9: I get life insurance through my job. Why would I need more?

The life insurance you get through your job might not be adequate coverage. You should compare your family’s living expenses with your coverage to see if it’s sufficient to cover all of your family’s needs. You should be thinking about future responsibilities as well, like being able to pay for your children’s education after you’re gone.

Also keep in mind, like all good things, your employer-paid coverage ends when the coverage limit is met – which is the maximum amount your employer will pay out upon your death. Most experts suggest obtaining coverage five to eight times your yearly salary. If you are only covered for half of that amount, what will your family do when their living expenses exceed that amount?

Myth 10: My mortgage lender provides me with coverage. Isn’t that enough for me?

Your mortgage isn’t the only expense your spouse or children will have to take care of if you pass away – there are cars, college education, food, medical expenses, funeral costs – the list goes on. Life insurance can cover those for you.

Getting started with life insurance starts with a conversation with a life insurance professional. Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions has dedicated life insurance advisors who advise you on the best life insurance plan for your individual needs. Give us a call at 613-236-9101 or request a life insurance quote.

Earthquake Preparedness Tips

Earthquakes, one of Mother Nature’s most unsettling phenomena, are unpredictable and can strike without warning. That’s why it’s important for you and your family to learn how to prepare for an earthquake, and develop a plan to react quickly and safely if a disaster strikes.

Preparing for an Earthquake

  • Locate and learn how to use the shutoff valves for water, gas, and electricity in your home.
  • Prepare an emergency earthquake kit with warm clothing, non-perishable food items and bottled water to last you and your family for at least 72 hours.
  • Bold down and secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace, and gas appliances to the wall studs.
  • Hold earthquake drills with your family members: Drop, cover, and hold on!

During an Earthquake

  • Remain inside of your home and seek shelter under a heavy table or desk; brace yourself inside a door-frame or inside wall.
  • Stay at least 2 metres away from windows and out of kitchens and garages, if possible.
  • Stay under the structure that is protecting you. If the shaking causes the table or desk to move, then you should move with it so you remain protected.
  • Do not panic, and anticipate what you should do next to remain safe.

Follow these guidelines to remain safe after the ground stops shaking:

  • Remain in your safe location for several minutes in case there are any aftershocks
  • Do not leave your home unless it is absolutely necessary to do so
  • Check your family members for injuries and administer first aid
  • Establish a temporary shelter area in your home away from areas that have severe damage

Preventing Auto Theft

Cars are a popular target of crime because they are relatively easy to steal. To reduce your risk of becoming a victim, use the following tips:

  • Never leave your car running and unattended.
  • Never leave your keys in the car or ignition, even inside a locked garage.
  • Always roll up your windows and lock the car, even if it is in front of your home.
  • Park in high-trafficked, well-lit areas, if possible.
  • Consider anti-theft devices such as steering wheel locks or fuel cut-off switches.
  • Purchase an auto alarm system if you live in a high-theft area or drive a theft-prone vehicle.

For additional protection, a strong auto insurance policy can help you recoup some of the losses associated with a stolen vehicle.