Banker and Traders Insurance Brokers Edmonton

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I save money on my insurance?

There are two issues to consider… short-term savings and long-term savings. The short-term savings is the money that you can save if you choose the lowest premium. The long-term savings is the money that you can save if you select a policy that will save you money at the time of a claim. Generally, the long-term savings are much greater than the short-term premium reduction. For example, saving $200 on the premium up front may mean owing $2,000 when you have a claim because you are not covered or valuable choices aren’t available to you. Be certain that you evaluate more than just the premium when making your personal insurance selections.

How much insurance coverage should I buy for my house?

In selecting an appropriate amount of coverage, be sure to avoid the most common consumer mistake — insuring your home for what it costs to sell (the market value), rather than what it costs to replace. Homeowner policies are designed to cover the cost of reconstructing your home should it ever be destroyed. Therefore, you should select an amount of insurance that represents the replacement value of your home. Look for a company that assists you in the valuation of your home. Additionally, look for a company that provides a payment basis called “extended replacement cost”. This payment basis helps you rebuild your home even if it exceeds the amount of insurance on your policy.

When I rent a car, do I need to buy the coverage that the rental company sells?

It depends on your automobile policy. Here’s why: If you damage a rental car, the rental car company may charge you for the damage to the car as well as for the rental income it loses while the car is being repaired. In order to cover these potential charges, the rental car company may try to sell you a collision damage waiver which can cost anywhere from $8-$15 per day. If your automobile policy covers rental vehicles under the liability portion of your policy, you may not need to buy the collision damage waiver if the policy provides coverage for your legal obligation to the rental agency. Additionally, you won’t be charged the deductible. If your automobile policy covers rental cars from the comprehensive and collision coverages, you may only be covered for the damage to the car, but not for the loss of rental income that the rental company could charge you. What’s more, you would be obligated to pay your deductible. In that case, you should consider purchasing the collision damage waiver.

Do I have coverage if I’m hit by a driver with no insurance?

It’s estimated that 6 out of 10 drivers on the road either have no insurance or inadequate insurance to pay for a serious accident, so uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage is a critical part of your insurance portfolio. Referred to as “UM/UIM”, this coverage helps to protect you and your family if you are hit by a driver with no insurance or insufficient insurance to pay for serious injuries or damages. You probably have some amount of UM/UIM coverage on your automobile policy, but do you have enough? If you seek substantial levels of coverage, consider a UM/UIM amount of $1,000,000.

How much liability coverage is enough?

Ask yourself how much you have to lose if you are sued. The amount of personal excess liability coverage you choose depends upon your individual requirements. Review your assets: your home, other personal belongings and investments. Select a limit that provides adequate financial protection and be certain that your insurance company can provide this limit. Also, because the cost of litigation can be very expensive, look for additional coverage for defense costs.

Is my child’s property (including his computer hardware) covered while he/she is away at college?

As long as your child is covered under your insurance policy as a member of your household, his personal property, including the computer, would be covered. Insurance companies cover children away at school differently so check with your insurer to see if your college student is covered by your policy.

Is my jewelry fully covered by my homeowners policy?

Most people don’t realize that many homeowners’ policies offer only $1,000 in coverage for jewelry. Given that this limit is generally less than the cost of an average engagement ring, it is doubtful that most customers will have enough coverage for their jewelry. The solution is to purchase a Valuable Articles Policy so you can insure specific jewelry items. Tips on selecting a valuable articles policy: (1) look for a policy that doesn’t mandate that you replace an item to receive the full value of the settlement, and (2) select a company that makes it easy to insure your jewelry by requiring appraisals only on high value items.

Will my insurance company allow me to have my car repaired at the body shop of my choice?

Many companies will allow you to choose a repair shop. However, if you select a repair shop that charges a labor rate greater than the one allowed by your insurer, the difference may come out of your pocket. If you don’t want to pay the difference, the company will then steer you to a shop that will do the work for their allowable rate. If you prefer to do business with the repair shop of your choice, including your dealership or a specialty shop, look for a company that honors your selection and pays for it.

I drive a corporate car, provided as a benefit by my company. How can I find out if I have adequate insurance protection when I drive this car?

Talk to the individual or department at your company that manages the commercial vehicle fleet. They may be able to provide you with a copy of the commercial insurance policy, which you can then review with your independent insurance agent. Be forewarned, however: commercial auto policies may only offer standard coverages and low liability limits that you cannot change and may be inadequate for your asset protection needs. Furthermore, your company’s policy may not protect you when the vehicle is driven for personal use; it may also exclude coverage for drivers other than yourself. Since typical personal automobile policies oftentimes will not insure regularly used vehicles not specifically listed on the policy (your corporate car, for example) you may be faced with a significant gap in coverage.

I live in a condominium and I’ve been told that I need to buy additions and alterations coverage. What is it?

Additions and alterations are permanent improvements made to condominiums and cooperatives. Many people mistakenly believe that the condominium association’s policy covers interior improvements like floor coverings, cabinets, bookcases, wall coverings, kitchen appliances and light fixtures. Generally it does not. Additions and alterations coverage is protection you can purchase for interior improvements that you’ve made to your condominium or cooperative.

What is a family office?

A family office is a business that specializes in managing the financial, charitable and even philosophical goals of distinguished families. Family offices accomplish this by providing services to the family, including tax and estate planning; the management of foundations, trusts and philanthropy; the coordination of risk management; and more.

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