Wondering if Your Drone is Covered By Home Insurance? Here's What You Need to Know

If you recently purchased a drone and are wondering if drones are covered by your home insurance, I did a little research and put together all the information you may want to know about insurance if you own a drone or are considering buying one for personal use.

What Insurance Coverage Should You Get For Your Drone?

You will want to find out about your personal liability, and if it covers you for injury caused to others as a result of your ownership of a drone.

You will also want to find out about damage to the drone itself. Are you covered if you crash your drone? What if it is lost or stolen?

The best way to do this is call your insurance representative and ask them if there are any exclusions or limitations on your policy regarding drones, and find out if it will be covered on your personal liability. Every insurance policy is different, and as more incidents and drone accidents happen, insurance companies may take a new approach to personal drone insurance. Especially when it comes to liability arising out of the use of a drone. Find out if your drone is already insured:

Check out the Essential Checklist to Help You Ask Your Insurance All the Right Questions About Drones.

You might find that you might not need to spend any extra money to get your drone insured! 

If for any reason your insurance company wants to know more information about how you are using your drone before they can confirm if it is covered or not, then this Checklist of Information of What You Can Give Your Insurance Company About Your Drone may also be helpful.

All of these links come from my most recent article that provides tips and cool resources for drone owners, and drone hobbyists. I hope you find it useful!


Wondering if your car insurance is going to pay in a claim, or which insurance company has the best rating for customer satisfation in your state or region, you might also want to check out this list of 10 award winning insurance companies as rated by consumers for car insurance.

July 1st Moving Day in Quebec - Do You Really Need Apartment Insurance?

People moving out in the Limoilou borough of Q...People moving out in the Limoilou borough of Quebec City, on July 1, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is Renters or Tenant Insurance Mandatory In Quebec?

Tenant insurance is not mandatory by law in Quebec, however, many landlords now require that their tenants get liability insurance when they sign a lease. 

Moving To Quebec ? Learn about How to Save Money on Your Insurance When Moving to Canada 

If I Don't Own the Building, Why Would I Buy Renter Insurance?

Some of the most under-insured people are renters. In today's environment, home ownership is becoming less trendy and condos are becoming more popular, when people “buy” something, it makes sense to them to insure.  However, we see more and more that those who don’t buy a property totally overlook the need for insurance.

Why Do Renters Need Tenant Insurance?

Many people do not understand what is covered on a tenant or renter policy. We have clients regularly tell us, they have “nothing of value” in the apartment.

This misconception leads them to feel they have nothing to worry about or insure.

“Doesn’t the landlord pay for everything? I don’t own the building…What do I have to lose?”

These are common but dangerous assumptions.

We hear about apartments burning down in the news all the time.  This is just one example that helps show that tenants have just as much to lose as those who own properties. What would you do if your apartment was uninhabitable or suddenly damaged by fire?

Here are some things covered by tenant insurance that can make a huge difference to you :

Additional Living Expenses.*

When a dwelling is made uninhabitable by a fire or other covered loss, such as water damage, the time to repair the units can take a significant amount of time.

During that time the tenant may have to find somewhere else to live. Most tenant insurance protects you for covered losses by providing you with the resources to stay in a hotel or other temporary place until the building is inhabitable again (up to the specific special limit of your tenant policy). Additional living expenses can include items like the increased cost of eating at restaurants, instead of cooking at home; the increased cost of staying in a hotel or furnished apartment, etc.  Learn more about Additional Living Expenses Insurance.

What’s Liability?
Why do I need that?

Liability is extremely important for people who rent apartments. Liability covers you for anything you might be held responsible for as the lessee of the apartment. If your name is on the lease, then you could be liable for damages arising out of the use/control of the premises.

What could happen?
A number of things, water overflowing damaging the building, or people's property in units below yours. A candle could tip over and cause a fire taking down half the building! And let's not forget that when there are visitors, like, for example when you have a party, someone could trip and fall and hold you responsible! Start to think about it, a lot could happen.

Liability also covers you off premises. Some scenarios where you could be held liable for your actions worldwide include at sporting events : imagine you are golfing and your golf ball goes off track and hits a property in the vicinity causing damage…or even worse hits someone in the head. You might be held liable!

Imagine you are staying in a hotel and you leave the water running in the tub, water starts pouring out before you notice and your getaway weekend suddenly turns to much more than just the bill for an overnight stay. Hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage can happen in a very short amount of time. If you are held liable, it’s your tenant insurance liability that will assist and come to the rescue.

What about things in your apartment? Your personal belongings or “Contents”, what is covered?*

Although most people do not think the value of what they own is very high, they are often just thinking about their furniture. Although furniture can be a big part of it, there are many more things in your apartment than just furniture. Think about everything you use that is in your home in the day to day.

  • Your kitchen has utensils, plates, pots, food and many more items that you might take for granted.
  • Your bedroom may include many decorations, clothing, shoes, specialty gear, like for scuba or skiing.
  • Your living room many be stocked with electronics, and more so now than ever before, items like iPad's , computers, and related software.
  • Specialty items like sporting goods, or home theatre systems and associated items

All of these are contents, and they are things you should insure! The only time you should consider skipping tenant insurance is if you have the means to protect yourself or recover easily from losses like the ones above. 

Remember when you are a tenant, you are not in control of the maintenance of the building, nor in the activities of the people who live in the building around you.

All it takes is a poor plumbing or electrical system, an outdated roof, or tenants to forget their water running in the unit above and all of a sudden you can be hit with a great inconvenience and loss.

Tenant insurance helps protect your assets and make sure there is something protecting you and your lifestyle.

It’s time to take a second look at tenant insurance and think about what is really at risk if you don’t have it.

Tenant insurance is usually available for about $300-$500* per year (sometimes even less!), that works out to $25-$40 per month – at that price, it’s less than the cost of a movie night for two, or a coffee a day.

Get a Renter or Tenant Insurance Quote in Quebec

This article was originally written on June 24th, 2013 and has been updated June 2019.
*Please note that insurance coverage varies from state to state or province to province, the information in this article and on this site is given to serve as a information to empower consumers, and as a bouncing board to a discussion with a licensed broker or agent that can review your specific needs and explain various coverage options to you. Every insurance company has their own policy wording, in all cases the policy wording will take precedence over any blog discussions or examples. Empower yourself with information, so you know the questions to ask, and take charge of your insurance to save money and protect yourself!

5 Tips to Prepare and Stay Safe in The Winter Driving Season - Do you pass the test?

We all wish summer would last forever, especially in provinces where the temperature drops below zero and we face heavy snowfall for several months out of the year. If you have lived in Quebec, you know what it is to have to battle the snow on the roads.

Here are 5 tips to help keep you safe and prepared for winter driving & a VIDEO Quiz.

1.    Don’t get left out in the cold! Check your roadside assistance plan.

Most new vehicles now come with roadside assistance included in the new vehicle purchase. Sometimes the roadside assistance can last years, and is easily something we take for granted as new vehicle owners. However, in some cases it expires based on the use of the car, meaning the number of kilometers – this could reduce your automatic coverage or make it expire long before you realize.

So the first step to ensuring you have a safe winter season is to prepare for emergencies by contacting your roadside assistance provider and making sure your coverage is in place.

If it is not, Aviva Canada and Intact insurance both offer special deals with their insurance policies for roadside assistance.

CAA also has alliances with some insurance companies which can get you the coverage for free (for new clients) and offer a discount on insurance for others.

So make sure  you are covered so that if you get stranded on the side of the road, you’ll have help and spend as little time as possible out in the cold.

2.    Winter Tires – Why  are they important?

According to Transports Quebec  a study in 2005 showed that 38% of accidents that occurred on the road involved at least one vehicle with all season tires, vs. winter tires.  Therefore since 2008, in Quebec, it is a law to equip your vehicle with Winter tires from December 15th to March 15th – the winter driving season. Want more info on Winter Tires? Check out this post where I cover all the details.

3.    Avoid Gas-Line Freeze up - Keep your Gas tank At Least Half Full.

According to CAA, keeping your gas tank at least half full reduces condensation that can cause gas line freeze up. Besides preventing this inconvenient situation, it also assures you always have enough gas to get where you are going and once again, you’ll never get stuck in the cold. During the winter driving season it is not unusual to get stuck in traffic for hours, or use extra gas to get out of a snow bank – stay prepared.

4.    Prepare an Emergency Roadside Kit & Get Winter Tools for Your Car

Keep a roadside emergency kit in the car so that if you do run into trouble you are prepared. Some items to include:
•    A Bag of sand – incase you get stuck in the snow
•    Shovel and Windshield Scraper
•    Extra Windshield washer fluid that is made for below zero temperatures
•    A Blanket
•    A Flashlight or flashing light, Matches, Batteries for the flashlight, A First Aid Kit, A Cell Phone Charger

Note that some stores sell some great emergency roadside kits that even include items that can fill your tires with air, or have flashing lights to use  if you’re stalled. It’s always a good idea to check the options at your local supply stores.

5.    Vehicle Maintenance Winter Checklist  - Keep Your Car Running In Winter!

The following items should be verified because their functioning will directly affect your ability to drive in wintery conditions.

  • Windshield - Snall cracks or nicks in the windshield can often spread or get worse in the cold weather.

Did you know some insurance companies will repair your glass for free if there is a small chip or crack in it?

If you have a small nick or chip in the glass or a hair line crack, call your insurance to see if they offer this special coverage on your policy- you may be surprisd to find out they will take care of it for you with no deductible or consequence if it is your first incident!

  • Winter wipe blades & Windshield fluid - make sure they are winter ready - a clear windshield will help you significantly when weather conditions are bad
  • Vehicle lights - make sure they are all working properly
  • Tread on tires
  • Check the battery
  • Check your antifreeze level
  • Also verify critical winter car functions like the thermostat, heater, brakes and defroster.

Best Driving Practices in Winter to Stay Safe : Video QUIZ

Think you’re ready for safe winter driving, check out this awesome video for a True or False Quiz!

That's my list, what are your best tips for winter driving safety?


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5 Tips For Closing Your Cottage For The Winter

Winterizing - Closing up your cottage - Quebec - Ontario for the winter

Fall is the most beautiful time of year and the perfect season to spend a long weekend in the country. I was away just last weekend and caught some incredible scenery!
In Montreal, Ontario and Quebec, we are lucky to live in picturesque regions that truly spoil us this time of year. With a diversity of areas to enjoy this natural beauty, many locals own cottages or cabins where they can enjoy the summer months into the fall.

How do You Protect Your Seasonal Home or Cottage?

Some cottages are winterized, however many are not. This weekend marks Thanksgiving in Canada, a perfect time to take advantage of the natural beauty in the Quebec and Ontario countryside on our last long weekend of the year!

Quebec and Ontario Tips for closing down the cottage for the winter - beautiful chalets

For many seasonal cottage owners, this weekend also marks the date for the closing of the cottage for the winter season. 

The Most Common Causes Of Damage To Cottages

Every spring, people return to their cottage with the hopes that there is no damage, however statistics would indicate that the top claims for cottages usually include water or wind damage caused during the winter or early spring months.

5 Tips For Closing Up Your Cottage

Here are some tips to help keep the cottage safe during the winter months while you are away:

1.    Avoid Water Damage:

Any time you leave your home during months that temperatures will drop close to zero Celsius or below, you should take precautions to avoid water damage. *

Did you know that almost 50% home claims paid in Canada this past year were related to some sort of water damage

The best way to avoid water damage is to drain the pluming and turn off the water so the pipes don’t freeze. 

•    Shut off the main water valve and any water supply valves like for example on a toilet, dishwasher or washing machine.

FamilyHandyman.com has some awesome detailed explanations on how to do this, if you want more details, you can check them out here.

2. If you have a sump pump, check it to make sure it is working.

Often the water will rise in the spring when the snow melts. If you will not be at the cottage when this starts to happen it is critical to make sure you have left everything ready to go. 3. Bring in all your décor and other items like lawn chairs, boats and BBQ’s from the garden and property. These items will preserve better indoors and you will also avoid the possibility of them flying off causing damage to property or others in heavy winter storms, or fall and spring winds.

Did you know that there are 80 confirmed and unconfirmed tornados that touch down in Canada each year? Most occurring in southern Ontario, the southern Prairies and southern Quebec? Learn more here.

How to take care of your wood stove and tips to close the cottage for the winter Photo Copyright Mila Araujo 2013

4. Close the flue or block the stove pipes on your fireplace, chimneys or woodstoves.

These make good places for animals to get into your home, or make nests in. This may also be a good time to have your chimney cleaned, the build up within a chimney can cause chimney fires and if left for the winter, you may have a nasty surprise in the spring when you go to use them again. 

If you have a BBQ make sure you disconnect the propane tank and store it in an appropriate location out of direct sunlight – you may want to refer to your BBQ manual for specific details for your tank. Remember that the BBQ tank carries contents that are explosive – handle this with care.


5.    Trim any branches hanging over the cottage, and inspect the roof and gutters to make sure there are no areas that will be vulnerable.

Weight of snow and ice in various circumstances, or blocked up drainage systems can create significant damage while you are away. Prevention is your best option. Clean out eaves troughs. Make sure they are clear of leaves and that the drainage is directed at least several feet from your home (the distance depends on the slope of the land and specifics of your property, however we recommend you look into this to avoid any issues with water damage).

How do you prepare the cottage for winter?

Everyone has specific lists of how they lock up their cottage for the winter, after you’ve enjoyed your final weekend away, we hope these tips help keep your property safe so that next year when you open the cottage, you’re ready to enjoy a  glorious spring!

That’s my list – what’s on yours?


*Please note that insurance coverage varies from state to state or province to province, the information in this article and on this site is given to serve as a information to empower consumers, and as a bouncing board to lead to a discussion with a licensed broker or agent that can review your specific needs and explain various coverage options to you. Every insurance company has their own policy wording, in all cases the policy wording will take precedence over any blog discussions or examples. Empower yourself with information, so you know the questions to ask, and take charge of your insurance to save money!

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How to Save Money On Insurance When You Put Your Car in Storage

Winter Storage & Saving Money on Your Car Insurance

When people are not driving their cars, they sometimes think that it is a good idea to cancel their insurance and just buy new insurance when they decide to drive again. What most people don't know is that they don't need to cancel their policy to save money or get money back for the period the car is stored.

When is Storing A Vehicle A Good Plan?

  • If you have a "summer only" car, like a sports car for example.

  • Specialty or Antique Vehicles

  • Going out of the country to travel or work for several months, or for "Snow birds" in the winter months

  • If you prefer not to drive in harsh winter conditions

Don't Cancel Your Policy! Put it on "Hold."

Cancelling a policy is not a good idea when a car is in storage, here’s why

  • It will cost you time and money: You will receive a penalty for cancelling your policy mid-term. You will also create a gap in your car insurance history and make the process much longer when you want to insure your vehicle again.
  • When you cancel an insurance policy but still own the vehicle, you are still liable for the vehicle or any damage that may occur as a result of your ownership of the vehicle. A car does not have to be driven to cause damage!
  • When you cancel a policy, you also cancel the coverage for physical damage to the vehicle. So if someone scrapes your car, does a hit and run, steals your car, etc. You will not be covered if you cancel your policy.

A Winter Storage endorsement is the best alternative to save money and protect your car.

In Quebec, we offer a winter storage endorsement QEF16/QEF17.  In other provinces or places, there may be similar programs - please contact your insurer or broker to find out how you can save money or if there are similar programs available.*

The QEF 16 endorsement can be added at any time, and at the end of a storage period, it is ended based on your request, with a QEF 17.  This endorsement allows for a  reimbursement or reduction of the premium for the timeline where the vehicle will be off the road or not being driven. Depending on the insurance company, some may even issue the credit to you in advance.

The credit will normally be for the period between November 1st and April 1st, however, this varies by insurer, and of course, if you only put your car away from January to March, for example, it can be adjusted to your needs. The important part is always to remember that once you have advised your insurer a vehicle is in storage, your insurance is limited or suspended, and you are not insured to drive it again until you call your insurer to advise it will be going back on the road, and you need the full insurance back.

Most companies have a minimum amount of time a vehicle will be stored to qualify for the endorsement, this time frame is usually over 60 days.*

How does the Winter Storage Endorsement Work?

•    It normally provides minimal coverage in liability. In other words, it takes into account that you will not be driving the vehicle. However, it maintains a portion of the liability coverage in place for situations where you might become liable for damage caused due to your ownership of the vehicle.

•    It maintains comprehensive coverage. This is the coverage that protects you for damages that may occur as a result of fire, theft, vandalism, windshield, for example.

•    Collision coverage may also be adjusted for the duration of the storage. Collision is the portion of automobile insurance that covers your car when you are responsible for an accident that results in damage to your vehicle – since you won't be driving; it stands to reason this coverage can be limited during the storage period.

Please contact your insurance representative to find out how you can save money while protecting your car during a storage period. You may be surprised to find out how much you can save!


You may also enjoy learning which insurance companies were awarded top ranks by consumers in J.D. Power survey, check it out!

*Please note that insurance coverage varies from state to state or province to province, the information in this article and on this site is given to serve as information to empower consumers, and as a bouncing board to a discussion with a licensed broker or agent that can review your specific needs and explain various coverage options to you. Every insurance company has their own policy wording, in all cases, the policy wording will take precedence over any blog discussions or examples. Empower yourself with information, so you know the questions to ask, and take charge of your insurance to save money and protect yourself!

Who Pays For Damage When The City Tears Up Your Lawn - Water Service Pipe

Typical PVC municipal water main being install...Typical PVC municipal water main being installed in Ontario, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The water service pipe is the pipe that brings the water from the city's water main to your home. The pipe is partially located on city property and although the city may be responsible to make repairs to the pipe for various reasons, when they have to do work on the parts of the pipe that is on your property, they are not necessarily responsible for repairing your property and land they damage in the process. This means that your trees, shrubs, walkways, driveways - basically anything they need to get through to fix this water pipe is at risk of being destroyed. The lawn may be all dug up and landscaping could definitely be affected. The city is not always obligated to pay for these repairs. Home insurance policies do not all automatically cover this kind of damage, however some companies do with a water service pipe endorsement. Usually the cost is under fifty dollars per year, and if you think about the hassle of repairing all your property after the city comes in to do repairs, you just may find this is one coverage that is well worth it.
Water Service Pipe Endorsement Information
Photo From http://mississaugaelectricalcontractor.blogspot.ca

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3 Steps To Protect Your Home From Oil Tank Damage and What's covered by insurance

Abandoned Oil TankAbandoned Oil Tank (Photo credit: massmatt)

Oil is a popular fuel source for heating, heat pumps/air conditioning. During the summer months, we aren't thinking of heating too much, and it's not unusual for people to just forget about the tank unless something goes wrong...

Can an Oil Tank Leak Really Cause That Much Damage In My Home?

According to The IBC,

  • One litre of leaked oil can contaminate 1 million litres of drinking water.

  • A pinhole in your tank can empty 1,000 litres of oil.

  • Cleanup of an oil spill can involve everything from replacing the tank and supply lines and removing contaminated soil, to replacing your home’s foundation.


Who Pays for damage resulting from an oil tank leak or spill?


If you have an oil tank and it leaks out due to a malfunction, maintenance or simple wear and tear you are responsible for the damage caused, not only to your own property but to the surrounding areas (such as your neighbours property) if it spreads. I have seen claims where people had an oil tank and it leaked causing damage to the neighbouring land - these situations are very stressful and require experts to come in and do soil evaluations as well as specialized removal and other tests.


Outdoor and Underground Oil Tanks


Outdoor oil tanks must be declared to insurance companies because of the fact that they have a higher incidence of leakage, corrosion and spills.

If you have an underground oil tank, or are considering buying a property with an underground oil tank, call your insurance company first, many insurers will not insure a home with an underground tank (even if it isn't being used). Underground tanks should be removed and never left to "rest" on the property.


3 Steps in Prevention

How to make sure your oil tank is safe:

  1. Make sure your tank is installed properly by a professional and is ULC or CSA certified. Poor installations are a major cause of damage. Never purchase a used oil tank - the risks associated with taking an old tank are high. The most serious damage to oil tanks (and hot water tanks) occur from the inside out.
  2. Have your furnace and tank professionally checked and serviced at least once a year. Make sure they change the filter, inspect the integrity of the tank, and remove any excess water or sludge to avoid/reduce corrosion. 
  3. Don't wait for a problem before you replace the tank.  The average recommended time line to replace a tank is about 10 -25 years depending on the tank itself and its location  - make sure to check the specifications for maintenance and expected lifespan for your tank specifically. Even 10 years sounds like a safe number, but if we look at the data in this study (p.6), there is a very high incidence of damage and claims from oil tanks in the 6-10 year range - up to 44% of claims.  That's not a small number. 

Just because you have home insurance, doesn't mean you are covered for oil damage!

Every home policy is different, however in many cases there is no coverage included in your policy.  Many insurers offer an option to add the coverage up to a certain limit on your policy for a small charge. Having this coverage could help you dramatically in the event of an incident, so please be sure and contact your insurance provider and ask them if this is available to you, and find out what your policy will provide you with.

Bonus step: Add Oil Coverage With Your Insurance Company

Those are three easy steps to reduce risk and keep your home safe from oil damage. Even in the best of conditions, things sometimes go wrong, so your bonus step is to make sure and call your insurance company and ensure you add coverage wherever possible for damage resulting from the use and ownership of an oil tank.The coverage is usually not expensive - a few dollars a month, and well worth investigating.

Summer Tip:

Did you know its recommended to keep the oil tank mainly full during the summer to minimize condensation?


Taking care of this now will save you money and a lot of problems later!

If you've had an oil spill, I'd love to hear what your experience was, and  if there was anything you  would recommend to prevent spills in the future. 

You can share your story in the comments below!

  • Do you have an oil tank at home?
  • When was the last time you checked it?



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The Real Story on Insurance and Who is Responsible to Pay Flood or Water Damage

If you suddenly find yourself heading down the street in a lifejacket  or find yourself thankful that your local community has boats to perform commuter rescues, you've probably lived through a flood.


After the rain stops pouring, the only thing left to do is cleanup.

Yesterday, Toronto was hit with massive rainfall totaling over 90mm. This exceeds the regular monthly rainfall for Toronto by 20mm!


Last month we saw Alberta struggle with disastrous flooding, and the cleanup is still going on. Right about now, many people are wondering where they can turn to for help, and trying to see who can pay for the damage - it's not always easy to figure out.

Who is Responsible for the Damage?

Before we can answer that question the exact source and reason for the damage has to be determined.

Call your insurance company and report the damage to them.

Even if you aren't sure if you want to make a claim, make them aware and get their advice and feedback first.  This will help you make the best decision for you and understand consequences and benefits. There is no good answer to whether or not you should claim because it depends on many factors, but at the very least by calling your insurer and letting them know you are reaching out to get some guidance and information, it starts you on the right track. Insurance professionals are knowledgeable and are there to help you, you don't need to figure everything out alone.  For my insight on the question of whether or not you should claim, you can check this article here to help you make a decision.

Flood vs. Sewer Back Up vs. Infiltration

Water Damage is not a straight forward coverage. Water can come from many places and stem from many sources.

In today's The Star, they wrote an article with the following question:

"If your basement is flooded during a storm, are you covered for losses caused by water damage?"

Great question, unfortunately, the answer is never straight forward. The article suggests that it would be sewer back up to cover this, but the reason for flooding of a basement is not always a sewer back up, it could be as a result of infiltration, or even actual "flooding".

You may even have damage coming from the roof which is handled differently by various insurers, some call it "above ground water", sewer back up also may cover it, and if it's simply due to rain, and not a backed up drainage system, its your policy form that has to respond.

What do all these different water related terms mean? 

The easy answer will come by a quick phone call to your insurance representative or broker.

Water is a complicated coverage, you do not need to figure it out alone.

Some people might define Flood as being caused by the overflow of a body of water,  in Toronto's storm  are Sewer back up could mean the backing up of a sewer, but lets not forget the overflow of a drainage system. Infiltration could mean water trickling in from a downpour of water - with colossal damages and massive rains like the ones Toronto just had - people throw a lot of terms around.

Every insurance company has different coverages, many of them are optional - which ones do you have? The answer to this question becomes very important during a situation like a massive downpour which causes "flooding".

The cause of the damage is what the insurance company is going to be looking at.


The city of Toronto responded well to the situation online,  posting safety tips and help advice during the rainfall and also by listing how people could make claims through them.

Will the City of  Toronto pay for water damage?

If the reason your property was damaged is as a result of poor maintenance of the city systems , according to this City of Toronto Site, you may meet the criteria to put a claim against the city. Make sure and check this out as an option. Keep in mind processing may take longer wait times, however it's worth investigating.


Finally, we always focus on the damages and losses as we try and protect our home and families.

Prevention Pays - What can you do for the future?

  • The city of Toronto offers up to $3,200 to homeowners who install flood protection devices through its basement flooding protection subsidy program.
  • Some insurance companies, like The Guarantee Company of North America help their clients take preventative measures and offer similar programs where if you install a water detection device, they may help cover the costs and even give you a discount! 

Staying Safe

On a final note, it was nice to see this tweet go out during the chaos reminding us all of the important things in life - helping each other and keeping each other safe.

Wishing all those effected from the storms safety - remember that a little help makes all the difference!

Stay safe!


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*Please note that insurance coverage varies from state to state or province to province, the information in this article and on this site is given to serve as a information to empower consumers, and as a bouncing board to lead to a discussion with a licensed broker or agent that can review your specific needs and explain various coverage options to you. Every insurance company has their own policy wording, in all cases the policy wording will take precedence over any blog discussions or examples. Empower yourself with information, so you know the questions to ask, and take charge of your insurance to save money!

Water, Flooding and Power Failures - What You Can Do To Deal With The Damage

The situation in Toronto on Monday was extraordinary. As of midnight 90mm of rain had fallen, with the total rainfall expected to reach about 100mm. According to the CBC, this exceeds Toronto's monthly rainfall by about 30mm, all in one day.

You can check out some of the images on CBC's website:

Screen of Slide Show from CBC

Commuters were stranded for hours, some rescues on the highway were carried out by boat, and property was damaged everywhere. The weather advisory is over, but the damage and chaos as Torontonians try and recover from this rainfall has just begun.

Many people are wondering if they should make insurance claims, others may be questioning what is covered click here for some tips and information to help make these tough decisions.

Affected by the Toronto Flooding? Here are some things you can do immediately :

  • Let's talk about Rot and Mold-Is it Insurance to the rescue or Are you out of luck?
  • Water - Vital to life, but a potential hazard to your home. 
  • - See more at: http://www.milasblog.com/myinsurance/2012/05/montreal-region-massive-sewer-back-up-water-damage.html#sthash.j1uB4iDP.dpuf

     The City of Toronto issued a statement including the points below:

    In the event of a flooded basement:

    • Call the City of Toronto at 311 to report a blocked basement drain or sewer back-up, or for information or assistance with a blocked drain, 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. During this extreme weather event residents should expect high call volumes. Calls will be answered by the first available agent.

    • Call your insurance company as soon as possible to report property damage caused by flooding.(If you wonder

    • Be mindful of your health and safety when cleaning up a flooded basement - do not stand in flood water, call a professional for assistance. More information about basement flooding is available on the City of Toronto’s website at http://www.toronto.ca/water. .

    How to report a power outage:
    • Call Toronto Hydro-Electric System’s Lights Out number at 416-542-8000.

    During an outage:
    • Unplug or turn off all appliances to avoid possible damage when power resumes.
    • Turn off water to the clothes washer and dishwasher if they are in use when the power goes out.
    • Leave a light or radio on so you will know when power is restored.
    • When power has been restored, check all fuses to ensure that none have been blown, before calling Toronto Hydro.
    • Plug in only the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15 minutes to give the electrical system time to stabilize before connecting everything else.

    Food Safety:
    During a power failure, food kept in the refrigerator or freezer may become unsafe to eat. The following tips will help ensure food is stored safely in the event of a power outage:
    • Keep your refrigerator door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, the refrigerator section will keep foods cool for four to six hours - if the door is kept closed.
    • Throw out perishable foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and leftovers that have been at temperatures above 4°C for more than two hours.
    • Keep your freezer door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, an upright or chest freezer that is completely full will keep food frozen for about 48 hours - if the door is kept closed. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for about 24 hours.
    • Foods that have thawed in the freezer may be refrozen if they still contain ice crystals or are at 4°C or below - evaluate each item separately.
    • Partial thawing and refreezing may reduce the quality of some food, but food will remain safe to eat.

    Water damage is serious and it can create major health risks, and reduce the value of your home. Let your insurance advisor help you make the right decision. Isn't that why you deal with a broker? - See more at: http://www.milasblog.com/myinsurance/2012/05/montreal-region-massive-sewer-back-up-water-damage.html#sthash.j1uB4iDP.dpuf
    Water damage is serious and it can create major health risks, and reduce the value of your home. Let your insurance advisor help you make the right decision. Isn't that why you deal with a broker? - See more at: http://www.milasblog.com/myinsurance/2012/05/montreal-region-massive-sewer-back-up-water-damage.html#sthash.j1uB4iDP.dpuf

    If you are insured with Ogilvy Insurance, you can find information to report your claim here.

    Stay Safe Toronto Friends!

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    Summer Fun Specialty Vehicles - The Amphicar Collectible Car

    AmphicarAmphicar (Photo credit: Flicktone)

    We like to have a little fun once in a while, and what's more fun than hitting the beach - or heading to a lake? How about for a cruise in your car?

    It's a car on land and a vessel on the water. "The car that swims"

    The Amphicar was built in Germany from 1961 to 1968, the total production was 3,878 vehicles - the majority of which were imported into the United States.

    I have to thank one of my clients, Jacques B. for showing me these amazing vehicles, and also for sharing his video, below.

    Some of you may remember my post about saving money on new car purchases,  I mentioned there that I would be sharing a pretty cool car on an upcoming article, well what better time than at the start of the summer season, and what cooler car than an Original Amphicar?! 

    How do you insure an Amphicar?

    It's a little tricky.

    Amphicar's are quite interesting because they can drive on land, reportedly to 70mph, and then can transition to hit the water - just like a little boat. For insurance this vessel is a bit of a challenge. When they are on the road they are governed by the laws of the road, but on water, they are treated as a vessel or any other boat, in fact you even require a Pleasure Craft License (at least in Canada) to operate any motorized vehicle in the water.  So the insurance policy of a car normally would not cover this kind of vehicle! You may have to search for a car insurance company to get the coverage you need, due to the nature of the risk, even the best car insurance companies may have a hard time insuring the amphicar. The only way to find out is to call and ask..

    *Due to these special concerns and needs, if you are planning on purchasing an Amphicar, make sure to speak to your broker first. In my own experience, I do have markets to insure them, but it is not always a straight forward process, and information such as updated evaluations from recognized evaluators help!

    Want to see it in action, then take a look at this fun video (you can skip to minute 4, and watch for about 30 seconds to see it transition from water to land).

    The video is courtesy of Jacques B, who took it during his 2011 "Orilla Swim" Meetup.

    What do you think? Does this look like a super fun way to get around?

    A Word of Caution:

    Not all cars are Amphicars - or cars that swim!

    Remember the Amphicar is built for water, it is a vessel and not a "modified vehicle" so please don't try this at home kids!

    It takes a special car for this kind of adventure!

    Amphicars Photo
    Photo from unknown origin, found on www.amphicars.com in an ad for the sale of one of the original 1964 Amphicar 770 The Cross Channel vehicles.
    How to Insure Antique and Collector Cars for Less and Save Money - See more at: http://www.milasblog.com/myinsurance/2012/08/antique-and-collector-cars-your-insurance-special.html#sthash.dfaYwoUB.dpuf

    Photo from unknown origin, found on www.amphicars.com in an ad for the sale of one of the original 1964 Amphicar 770 The Cross Channel vehicles.

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    Did You Feel That #Montreal? To celebrate 371 Years : How About A Birthday Quake | When You're Shaken By An Earthquake - Do You Know If You're Covered?

    "On May 8, 1642, Maisonneuve embarked from St. Michael, and on the 17th his little flotilla, a pinnace, a flat-bottomed craft moved by sails, and two row-boats, approached Montreal, and all on board raised in unison a hymn of praise." - CanadaHistory.com
    Montreal is a city of culture, fun, adventure - definitely a place to shake things up and live the most out of life. Today we had a little shaking up of a different sort. Montreal is 371 years old today, and seems like we've started this year out with a little birthday quake!

    Does your residential policy provide you with Earthquake coverage?

    The following article was produced in an earlier blog, however given the number of earthquakes in the Quebec - Ontario region, and our most recent earthquake of today, felt in Montreal, I thought the info might be fun to look at again, and help you if you're wondering what the risks are and if you're covered.

    How Many Earthquakes Do You Think Happen Every Day?

    You may not be in one of the zones highlighted on the map below, but earthquakes are shaking our world more and more each day. Do you need this coverage? Read more below...

    Earthquake insurance is a coverage that people buy based on their own personal experience.  In Canada, there are several hundred earthquakes with a magnitude 3.0 or less per year.  At this magnitude, the effects are rarely more than "a low rumble heard".*  Naturally, these have not been a concern for individuals.

    Starting at 4-5 on the richter scale, people start to notice effects of earthquakes. According to Natural Resources Canada, the effects of earthquakes start to be noticable by humans on a larger scale - over 5.0, where vibrations start to be felt and the impact is enough to move light objects.

    Does your home policy cover earthquake insurance?

    It is essential to ask your broker or insurer this question. Most policies do not cover earthquake insurance on buidlings automatically, this coverage must be purchased as an additional coverage for additional fees.

    I live in Canada, what are the risks?

    Clients often ask me to tell them what they should do, based on my knowledge. Should they purchase earthquake insurance, given we hardly ever, if ever experience them ourselves first hand in this region. How do you decide? The only person who can assess if you should or should not buy earthquake coverage is you.  It is your insurance, and your investment in your home that you are seeking to protect. "But do you think I should buy it?".  I always recommend, better safe than sorry - buy it to make sure you are protected. However, given our experiences living in Canada, and the fact that we rarely feel earthquakes, at times it is hard to say. I wish I had the answer, it is an individual choice, however, to help make the decision I can offer some facts.

    Historically, in Eastern Canada, there have been records of ten earthquakes between 1663 and today measuring over 5.0 on the richter scale. In this range, one can expect anything from the movement of objects, to fallen chimneys and destruction of old buildings. In the 6.0-7.0 range rockfalls and landslides also become issues. Furthermore, as the intensity reaches closer to the 7 on the scale, tsunamis become risks if the epicentre is off shore.*

    How much does it cost?

    Earthquake insurance rates vary from insurer to insurer. Usually a higher deductible than your homeowner policy applies (somewhere around 5% of the value of your building is usually a starting point for the earthquake deductible on the building). I have seen rates as low as $50-$100 per year to as high as $1000+ per year. Remember, it depends on the value of what you are insuring.

    I don't own a home, is Earthquake covered on my condo or tenant policy?

    No. Earthquake insurance is not automatically covered on a condo or tenant policy. Some insurers may offer this, but most of them exclude the damages to your property caused by an earthquake. The rates of adding the coverage onto a tenant policy are usually significantly less than a homeowner policy. You could expect to have it for as little as $30 per year. Again, this is based on the amount of coverage you need, your region and the insurance company. Please note that the company who offers you the lowest price on your policy without earthquake, is not necessarily the one who will offer the lowest price when you include earthquake coverage. Have your broker check all the companies to make sure you are getting the best rate. I have seen comanies charge twice the price for the same home, simply because their earthquake rates are different. Always remember, the price goes up as your contents amounts go up.

    For Condo's the coverage may be more expensive since you are insuring the additions and alterations to your unit as part of the coverage. I have seen it as low as $50 per year, but it can also range upwards of $200 per year, again depending on the location and other standard rating factors.

    It would be essential for you to contact your insurer or broker for a quote, as well as a brief discusion to find out what is covered in all cases.

    Don't leave yourself unprotected, learn about the facts, find out what is available from your broker or insurance company, then make an informed decision. Never assume you have the coverage, it is excluded on most policies in Canada, unless specifically added to the policy upon request.


    *Statistics in this post come from Natural Resources Canada where you can learn more detailed information on your area here including an up to date listing of the most recent earthquakes.

    For information on global earthquakes, visit:


    Give me quick & easy, personalized and confidential Feedback here or be part of the discussion by commenting below.