Car Insurance Q&A's

What kind of insurance do you provide?

If you own it, we can insure it. We offer auto, home, and life insurance, as well as health and disability, mortgage, and travel insurance… Call or come in to chat with us about your needs.

Should we carry higher liability limits on our policies?

Nova Scotia Court awards for personal injury are climbing all the time. You don’t want to be in a situation when you have a car or home accident where the court awards a payment higher than what your insurance policy will pay. If this happens, you may be required to make up the difference.

If I'm sharing a car with another driver,will my insurance rates be lower than if I was the only driver on the policy?

Each individual situation is different. Depending on the age and driving record of each driver, there may be no charge for a second driver, or additional charges could apply. The best advice is to contact your broker to find out what effect an additional driver would have to your policy.

I am going on vacation and plan to rent a car. Does my Halifax auto insurance policy provide coverage for my rental car?

If you are renting a vehicle, make sure you talk to your insurance broker in advance.Your policy can be extended to provide coverage based on your own unique needs.

Will a comprehensive claim affect my auto insurance premium?

While a comprehensive claim will not affect your driving record, it could affect your premium. Two or more comprehensive claims in a short span of time will likely affect your rate. Or, your insurance company might ask you for a higher deductible, not offer this coverage, or cancel your insurance coverage/policy altogether if you’ve had a number of comprehensive claims. Examples of comprehensive claims are theft, vandalism to your vehicle, or glass damage due to a pebble coming up from the pavement.

Why should I have home insurance?

While the government doesn’t require you to purchase home insurance, your mortgage-holder probably will – at least enough to cover its share of ownership. There are various kinds of home insurance that cover general and specific kinds of damage to your home, and you should research your options carefully. You can also buy specialized insurance to cover a condominium, home business, or other kind of property or valuables found in your home.

Home insurance also includes liability coverage for people who are hurt on your property.

What is a deductible?

A deductible is your share of the amount that needs to be paid to cover the repair or replacement of your covered property (vehicle, home, or other property) before your insurance pays the rest.

Why should I choose an independent brokerage like Strums?

As an independent insurance broker, we are not limited to only certain products from certain companies. We maintain relationships with several insurance companies. That means we can search for the product that best meets your requirements.

If I have to make a claim, how long will it take before it is reflected in my rates?

Your premiums may be affected at the next renewal. You may qualify for “forgiveness” of your first accident, and experience little or no increase in premium. Or, it could take six years before you are back at the best driving record and “the best rates.” Contact your insurance broker to find out how a claim would affect your premium.

If I get into an accident in another province, do the same insurance rules apply?

The rules of the province where you have the accident will prevail. If you live in a province that allows you to sue an “at fault” driver but the accident happens in a “no fault” province, you will have to look at your own policy for any payment.

My credit cards promote that I have insurance coverage for car rentals. Is this sufficient?

Each credit card offers different coverages and limits. You need to read the small print very carefully, there may be limitations. Depend on your insurance broker not on your credit card.

My car is five years old. Do I still need collision?

We would say ‘yes’, because a five year old car has more value than the amount of your insurance premium. But it is up to you.

Who is allowed to drive my car?

Technically, anyone to whom you give permission is allowed to drive your car. This is because your insurance is attached to your car, regardless who is behind the wheel. But, if a driver you’ve authorized gets into an accident with your car it is your driving record that is affected. In Nova Scotia, all licensed vehicle owners must carry liability insurance. Liability coverage is extended to any person who holds a valid license and drives your car with your consent. Insurance companies want to know if there is anyone else besides you who drives your car on a regular basis.

I have a son who is licensed but I don't let him drive my car. Nevertheless, my insurance company wants to "charge" for him anyway. What can I do about this?

The reason that insurers include “all licensed individuals in the household” as part of their premium calculations is that they are not allowed to refuse to settle a claim with your car. Some insurers, however, will allow you to sign a document stating that if your son has an accident with your car that you will reimburse the company if it pays out a claim. The best thing to do is ask your broker.

Are parking lot accidents normally split 50/50?

Not always. With many parking lots having roadways marked by specific lines of travel, the usual road rules may apply. Thus, when assessing fault, adjusters will look at the damage of the cars and how and why the collision occurred.

How are driving records determined?

Driving records are determined primarily by the number of vehicle accidents and traffic convictions you’ve had.

What can I do to reduce my insurance costs?

Drive safely. Think about carrying a higher deductible. Keep your car and your property in good and safe repair.

Why are my rates going up while my car is getting older?

Only about 15% of your premium relates to the age of your vehicle. The remainder of your premium is affected by the same factors pushing rates up for all vehicles regardless of age.

Why won't insurance companies insure rebuilt or written off vehicles?

If your vehicle was written off, it must have been badly damaged. There is always a worry that the repair job wasn’t adequate. Nevertheless, many companies will insure them but will require certification that it has been professionally rebuilt at an accredited shop and then independently inspected at an approved inspection facility.

What can happen if I don't pay my insurance bills on time?

Your policy may be cancelled. Once cancelled for any reason, it may be difficult to get another policy.

Home Insurance Q&A's

My car was broken into while I was shopping at the mall. A brand new golf bag and a leather briefcase I had just purchased for my husband were stolen from the trunk. Do I claim these items through my automobile or homeowners insurance policy?

Your home insurance will cover items stolen from you car that are not permanent fixtures of your car, as long as you have receipts to prove ownership of those items.

Is my house covered if I am on vacation?

Generally speaking, your insurance coverage continues while you are on vacation, but the length of time you are away and the steps you take to protect your home while you are away, can impact whether a loss is covered. If you are planning to be away for more than a couple of days, it is recommended that you contact your insurance broker to determine what action you must take to protect your home from loss and ensure a claim is not denied. This is most critical during colder months. For example, there is no coverage for damage caused by freezing of any part of a plumbing, heating or domestic water container unless you had arranged for a competent person to enter the dwelling on a daily basis.

My son is going away to college next fall. Is he still covered under our homeowners insurance?

Most likely he will be covered, as long as he is a dependent and is temporarily living outside your house. Speak to us to find out what the limit of insurance is on any personal property he will take with him.

While on vacation in Florida, I rented a boat to go fishing. I accidentally caused a fire which damaged the boat and injured others trying to help. Am I covered?

Yes. Your personal liability coverage protects you when you are legally responsible for bodily injury or property damage to someone else.

I left my apartment to go shopping, unaware that the water was still running in the kitchen. Upon my return my landlord said I was responsible for the damage to the apartment below and asked if I had insurance. I have a tenant package, am I covered?

The liability coverage of your Tenant policy would pay for the cleanup costs, debris removal and damages to the building, and for the damaged property belonging to your neighbour..

I bought a digital camera while I was on vacation overseas last month. I forgot to declare it at Canadian Customs when I returned. It was stolen. Am I covered for this loss?

No, this loss is not covered. Any items illegally kept or acquired, or not declared at Customs, are not covered by any policy.

If my apartment was damaged by fire, restoration could take weeks. How will my policy respond?

Your policy does include coverage for temporary accommodations like a motel room and any other increased living expenses.Your broker will advise you of the claims process and work with the insurer to get your life back to normal as quickly as possible.

Is my all terrain vehicle (ATV) covered by my Home-owners policy?

No, ATVs are excluded from Home-owners policies. You must buy an Auto policy for them. You can be charged by the police for driving with no insurance by merely crossing the road on one.

What's the difference between vacant property and unoccupied property?

Property is deemed to be vacant when the occupants have moved with no intention of returning regardless whether they left personal property behind. Insurance will not cover vacant property. Property is deemed unoccupied when there is an intention to return to it. Insurance will cover it.t.

Why do companies want to inspect my home?

Inspections are made to ensure there are no fire or liability hazards. Inspectors pay specific attention to roofs, plumbing, wiring, and whether there is a wood stove on the premises.

Why is my oil tank causing problems for insurance?

Your oil tank isn’t causing problems for insurance; but one day it might cause problems for the environment. The cost of oil spill cleanup from leaking or bursting home oil tanks has risen dramatically in recent years. The average cost is now about $65,000, with many coming in between $100,000 and $200,000 as environmental clean-up must take place. Remember, your insurance might not pay for the cost of a spill on your property, only the neighbouring property. In the absence of tough provincial legislation requiring oil tank inspection and replacement, it is up to you to inspect your tank regularly for leaks and to replace it in a timely manner. Call your home oil company to find out how to inspect your tank properly. And always call your broker to find out exactly what your policy covers.

My home is assessed at $70,000. Why do I have to insure it for more?

Your home assessment is for tax purposes and it roughly equates to the value of your home if you sold it on the open market. For insurance purposes, you have to ensure it up to its replacement value which is the cost of having to rebuild it at today’s prices for building materials and labour. This is almost always more.

Commercial or Business Insurance Q&A's

What type of insurance do I need?

Your insurance broker is there to help and guide you on what insurance you require in order to protect your assets.The criteria will depend on the size of your operation, the scope of the products you have, and the risk that it poses to the public.

What can I do to lower my insurance premiums?

There are a number of things you can do:

  1. Examine all your deductibles. Determine your ability to assume smaller losses.
  2. Lower liability risk by ensuring safe visitor and workplace conditions.
  3. Whether you run a single vehicle or a fleet, you could choose not to insure collision on vehicles that are older.
  4. Consider adding safety measures such as automated alarm systems, lighting, etc.
  5. Ask your broker to arrange a complete loss prevention survey to identify possible hazards and offer solutions to reduce exposures from injuries and fire to fraud and theft.

How do I find a broker to insure my business?

Most brokers provide business insurance. We have years of experience and are professionals that people rely on to protect their assets. The designations your broker holds, such as CCIB (Canadian Certified Insurance Broker), CAIB (Canadian Accredited Insurance Broker), and CPIB (Canadian Professional Insurance Broker) are an excellent indicator of their professionalism.