Personal Lines COVID-19 FAQ’s
I am have not driven to work since the COVID-19 situation started and am only using my car for essential trips. Can I save money on my car insurance?
Firstly, thank-you for staying home. Many of the insurance companies have announced opportunities to save money on your car insurance during this difficult time. Please be aware that every company is different. Please read all the details on our page dedicated to announcements and updates regarding COVID-19 auto insurance premium rate relief.
Will I get my renewal documents?
Insurance is considered an “essential” service and as such, the insurance companies and brokerages remain dedicated to providing coverage and service at this time. While there may be some delay in mail delivery, most renewals are issued 60 days prior to your renewal date so we don’t anticipate any issues with you getting your policy documents prior to renewal.
What if my parents move in with me during this crisis? Do they still have coverage at their house?
In the world of insurance, vacant and unoccupied are totally different. When your parents move in with you temporarily during this crisis, their home remains furnished and they have every intention of returning. Their home is considered unoccupied and insurance companies are fine with this situation. When someone moves out with no intention of returning, that is considered vacant. When this happens, the insurance company must be notified as most companies will cease or restrict coverage on a vacant home unless a vacancy permit has be approved and added to the policy.
I cannot afford to pay my insurance. What can be done?
Many insurance companies have expressed sympathy and are fully aware of the financial impact COVID-19 is having on Canadian citizens and are willing to work with policy holders on a case-by-case basis to assist with a payment solution. Many will defer payments for up to 30 days and some are waiving NSF fees. While the companies are trying to ease financial burdens, there is an expectation that the premiums will be paid.
My license is about to expire and the Service Ontario site is closed. Can I still drive?
Service Ontario has the ability to provide many services on-line so go to www.ontario.ca/page/serviceontario to see what services can still be provided. They have extended validation to expired and expiring driver’s licenses, health cards, Ontario Photo Cards, license plate stickers, accessible parking permits and many more products. Please visit their site to determine appropriate steps unique to your situation.
Why are my premiums increasing? Do the Insurance Companies not realize what is going on?
The rate increases you are seeing now are not a reaction to COVID-19 but rather a reflection of what has been unfolding in the insurance industry for some time now. Overall, insurance premiums are rising for both home and auto, largely due to an increase in claims frequency, severity and claims costs over the past few years. The amount that insurance companies are paying out for claims has increased dramatically due to such things as extreme weather events and the increased cost of materials and labour for repairs.
I will be delayed in launching my boat this year. Should I cancel my insurance?
A boat insurance policy is an annual policy. Unlike an auto policy, where you can suspend operating coverage, with a boat policy you either have full coverage or you have no coverage. While you may not run the risk of damage in the water, there are still so many ways your boat can sustain a loss. Your boat could be stolen; there could be a fire; rodents may be chewing up your upholstery or wiring and the list goes on. You still need coverage on your boat even though it remains winterized.
Money is tight and I want to start delivering for Skip the Dishes or Uber Eats for extra income. Will my car insurance cover me?
Most insurance companies will NOT extend coverage if you are using your vehicle for food delivery. Even if the company you deliver for provides coverage while you are working, you would be in contravention of your insurance company’s underwriting rules and therefore, the company can deny coverage for any loss cover regardless if you are delivering food at the time of the loss. In simple words, you jeopardize any coverage if you are doing food delivery and do not have a specific policy in place that covers you for this use. There are a few exceptions so make sure you speak with your broker if you are considering this venture.
As I am not leaving my house so I am no longer driving my vehicle. Can I delete operating coverages?
While this might be a measure undertaken to save money, we highly recommend that you consider important ramifications that you should be aware of – should an emergency arise (i.e. medical) you would have absolutely no coverage to drive your vehicle without first having spoken to your broker and been given confirmation that coverage had been reinstated. In the event of an emergency, you will likely not have time for this important step. Some Customer have also inquired about “suspending” their coverage. Although this might be an option, most insurers have guidelines and minimum timelines (eg. 45 days) where the vehicle will be parked. Needless to say, there are many considerations and, as such, we are strongly recommending you speak with your broker for the best advice on this.
I am working from home? Is this going to affect my property insurance?
Every company that we represent has advised that this is a temporary, extra-ordinary situation and they have all advised that nothing is required and property insurance will not be impacted. Most companies have a “special limit” for books, tools and instruments pertaining to a business so if there is a loss to these items, coverage will be limited.
I have home based business coverage. Do I have coverage for business interruption?
No. The Home Based Business (HBB) Endorsement is a basic extension of coverage and typically does not include business interruption. In addition, coverage under HBB applies only when the loss is related to a peril insured under that endorsement. Pandemic is not a peril that is insured.
In the event of a claim and I can’t get my car fixed quickly, what will happen with my Loss of Use coverage. Will I run out?
There is a specific dollar limit for this coverage and depending on the company and options, this limit will vary. If you find yourself in the situation where you are reaching your limit and your car repairs are not complete due to delays related to COVID-19, reach out to your adjuster first, or your broker. Companies are doing their best to work with clients during this difficult times and may make considerations on an individual case basis.
I was in Florida and rushed home leaving my car behind. Do I still have coverage on my vehicle?
Most companies have time restrictions on how long a vehicle can remain out of country. If you are in this situation, reach out to your Account Manager/Broker at Rhodes & Williams and they will speak directly with your company to see what can be done to maintain coverage.
I was told the insurance company would be sending someone out to inspect my home. Is this still going to happen?
The insurance companies are complying with government direction to limit social interactions and will not require customers to meet with vendors for property inspections at this time. They may reach out to verbally obtain information.