Frequently Asked Questions
I am leaving for an extended vacation and my house will be unoccupied. Is there anything I need to do about my house while I am gone?
It is very important to have someone checking your home when you are gone for an extended period, for a couple reasons. First, a property that looks unoccupied is a potential target to for thieves or for others wanting to do damage. It’s important to have the house appear occupied, so have someone check around periodically, cut the grass/shovel the walk, pick up garbage, etc. Second, your home insurance policy states that the house needs to be entered and checked during the heating season, to determine that the heat is working. Failure to do so means your policy will not respond to a claim involving freezing of plumbing.
My spouse and I are driving to Mexico. Is there anything special I need to know?
Your auto insurance policy provides you coverage while in Canada and the continental United States, but not in Mexico. You will have to arrange for coverage prior to your entry into the country.
My tenant moved out of my rental house a couple months ago, and I haven’t rented it out to anyone else. Is that a problem?
You require specific permission for your property to be vacant beyond 30 days, so you need to let us know. We will also want to know if the property is being checked on, and when you expect it will be occupied again.
Is it safe to give my credit card number when ordering something over the Internet?
Yes, it can be safe. But you need to make sure you are in a secure environment first. Look for the “secure transaction” symbol on your screen before entering your credit card – it will look like a key or padlock somewhere on the very bottom of your browser window. If you don’t see this symbol, don’t enter your Personal Information. You should also verify the validity of the digital certificate to make sure it was issued from a trusted certificate authority like Verisign. Simply double-click the padlock icon to view the certificate’s details.
What can I do to protect my accounts and Personal Information?
To protect your accounts and personal Information, you should follow these online security practices:
- Protecting your password
- Using a firewall
- Keeping your browser and operating system up-to-date
- Protecting your Internet connection
- Protecting yourself from online fraud
I received an email from you asking for my electronic banking information. Is this a legitimate email?
No, that is not a legitimate email from ATB Financial. ATB Financial will never ask you to respond via email to any requests for Personal Information, including your passwords, customer card numbers, or login information.
For help with online banking questions please click here.
Canada Post has changed my address and/or postal code. I know I need to update this information on my driver’s license and registration, but will I be charged a fee for that?
No, you can change the address information on your driver’s license and/or vehicle registration free of charge as long as the change was mandated by some authority (e.g., Canada Post, municipal government) and you have not physically moved to another residence. You must provide the letter from Canada Post informing you of the change as proof.
Can you take my passport or firearms renewal photo?
No, our camera equipment and computer software is connected directly to the license renewal centre in Ottawa. We do not have the ability to print the photos taken.
Do I need the renewal form that I received in the mail in order to renew my driver’s license and vehicle registration?
No, you are not required to present the renewal form if you don’t have it.
What do I need to do to register my vehicle?
To register a vehicle, you will require proof of ownership (such as a bill or sale, lease agreement), proof of valid insurance and drivers license If the vehicle is new, you will also require a new vehicle information statement (NVIS). If the vehicle was imported into Canada, you will require a Vehicle Import Form from Transport Canada. Used vehicles previously registered outside of the province require an out of province inspection.
The bill of sale for my new vehicle is in joint names with my spouse, can I register it without them present in the office?
Yes, in order to do a registration in a name other than your own, whether jointly owned or not, you are required to have an authorization signed by the party unable to attend the registries office. This form can be found on the Service Alberta website or at any registry office.
Why should I have home insurance?
Your home is your biggest asset and it is important that you take steps to protect it. Also, while the government doesn't require you to purchase home insurance, your mortgage-holder will. There are various kinds of home insurance that cover general and specific kinds of damage to your home and contents. 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.
Why should I buy tenant’s insurance when I live in an apartment and don’t have many contents or valuables?Most people would be surprised at the value of their personal property if they were to add it up and have to replace it all immediately. Think about your furniture, clothing, and electronic equipment – then try to put a price tag to it all. Also if you’ve purchased items on credit and they are stolen or destroyed by fire, you could still have to make the payments. Tenants insurance also includes liability insurance for damage the tenants or their guests cause to the building, for injuries in the rented home, etc.
What if I share my apartment with a roommate? Do we both need to have renters insurance?
Standard renter’s policies cover only you and relatives that live with you. If your roommate is not a relative, each of you will need your own renters policy to cover your own property and to provide you liability coverage for your own actions.
What can I do to lower the cost of my homeowners insurance?
There are a number of things you can do to lower the cost of your homeowners insurance.
One way to lower the cost is to look for any discounts that you may qualify for. For example, many insurers will offer a discount when you place both your automobile and homeowners insurance with them. Other times, insurers offer discounts if your home has a security system. Be sure to ask about any discounts you may qualify for.
Another easy way to lower the cost of your homeowners insurance is to raise your deductible. Increasing your deductible from $500 to $1,000 will lower your premium, sometimes by as much as fifteen percent. However, be careful to make sure that you have the financial resources necessary to handle the larger deductible.
Will my homeowners policy cover me for losses that occur outside of my home?
There is only one way to find out the answer to this question, and that is to check your policy. Homeowners policies regularly provide protection for off-premises destruction or theft, which covers your possessions while they are outside your home. For example, if your luggage were stolen while you’re on vacation, a homeowner’s policy containing off-premises protection would cover the loss. This type of protection can also protect your kids’ stereo equipment and other possessions when they go off to college.
If you homeowners policy does not contain off-premises protection as part of your standard coverage, you may be able to purchase this coverage for an additional charge.
You should check the liability portion of your policy to determine your level for coverage for accidents that occur outside your home. Homeowners policies typically cover accidents that occur on your property – if the mailman slips on your sidewalk or if a neighbor is injured in your backyard. Many policies will even cover you for accidents that occur away from your property. For example, if you run a shopping cart over someone’s foot at the grocery store, many policies will cover the medical bills. But once again, the only way to know whether you’re covered is to carefully read your homeowners insurance policy.
Are all house insurance policies the same?
There are many similarities but policies do differ. It's better to have an "All Risk" policy versus a named peril policy. The "All Risk" is the best money can buy. But beware, just because it says "All Risk" does not mean every claim/scenario is covered. There are numerous exclusions that are part of every property policy.
I have just bought a new home but won't be moving in right away. When is the best time for me to get home insurance?
You need to ensure your home insurance coverage begins as soon as you become the legal owner of the property. Before moving into the house, make sure to ask your broker or agent if your current policy covers your contents at both old and new locations, and also while in transit. Moving into a newly built home? It's important to note that theft insurance is only applicable when a building is ready for occupancy; vacant buildings are not normally insured for more than 30 days.
Below are some things you need to have ready for your insurance quote. Be ready to give personal details.
- Date of Birth
- Current Insurer
- Address of Location to be insured
Have your new home details ready. If this is a home you’ve just purchased, keep the MLS details handy.
- Year built
- Style of home: Detached? Attached?
- Number of stories above ground
- Square feet
- Flooring material
- Fireplaces? Type?
- Number of Bathrooms
- Roof age and material
- Material on Exterior walls, for example, vinyl, stucco etc.
- Garage? Attached/detached/number of vehicles it will hold
- Any insurance claims on the home in the last 10 years
- Sewer back up? Sump pump and/or backwater valve?
If the home is 20+ years old, your insurance broker will ask about the following:
Additionally, they’ll want to know if there have been any updates done to the home.
What types of perils (causes of loss) are insurable under a typical home policy?
The most common types of perils are fire and theft, but some examples of others that can be insured against include:
- Electrical currents
- Smoke (only if released suddenly from malfunctioning cooking or heating devices, not from fireplaces)
- Vandalism (while building is normally occupied) Water damage (this is a complex issue; be sure to discuss it carefully with your agent or broker)
- Wind and hail (usually applies to the outside of a building with exceptions for antennas, satellite dishes, etc.; the interior of a building and its contents are covered only if the storm has first created an opening)
Acts of God are never covered, right?
No, things like a tornado, lightning, and hail are always covered, however earthquake is a common exclusion but this coverage can be added to your policy, for an additional premium.
What is the difference between replacement value and actual cash value?
The amount of money your insurer will pay to you following an insured loss is usually referred to as either Actual Cash Value (ACV) or Replacement Cost. Actual Cash Value is the cost of replacing the property with something of like kind and quality - minus an allowance for depreciation. Replacement cost means you may be able to receive a settlement of your claim without deduction for depreciation, but this requires you to have the property repaired or replaced with like kind and quality. A deductible may apply in either case.
Although you and your insurer may appraise your home thoroughly, there's still a possibility of underestimating the replacement cost of a building. Guaranteed replacement cost coverage will make up for such a shortage either completely or to an agreed amount.
How can I reduce my automobile insurance costs?
There are several things you can do to reduce your insurance premium costs:
- Work on your driving record – it is an easy, yet effective way to bring down your insurance costs; build a consistent accident and conviction-free track record with an insurance company.
- Choose higher deductibles – if you choose a higher deductible up front, your premiums will be lower.
- Review your coverage – take a closer look at your coverage to make sure you’re not paying for things you do not need.
How are auto premiums calculated?
Your insurance premium is calculated based on the likelihood that you’ll have to make a claim and how much that claim will cost. This depends on several things such as where you live, your driving record, your vehicle, how you use your vehicle and the coverage on deductible you choose, the company’s experience insuring people and paying claims and the cost of all of the claims the company pays out.
The government of Alberta also has a say in how premiums are set. The government sets the maximum price on insurance premiums for the liability coverage you have to have in what’s called the “grid” system.
Where you live – if you’re a city dweller, for example, accidents and vehicle theft are more likely, which may translate into higher premiums.
The kind of vehicle you drive – newer, more expensive vehicles cost more to repair or replace, which usually results in higher premiums.
How you use your vehicle – more time on the road means there’s a higher chance of an accident. That means higher premiums if you drive a lot or you drive long distances.
Your driving record – your driving record has a big impact on the premiums you pay. For example, a long driving history with no accidents can help keep premiums down. Every accident where you’re at-fault will push your premiums up. Convictions and speeding tickets may also increase your premiums.
What is a Deductible?
A deductible is the portion you are responsible for paying in the event of a claim. For example, if your car insurance policy has a $1,000 deductible for collision and there is $5,000 in damages, you will pay the first $1,000 and the insurance company will pay the remaining $4,000.
What is “Collision” coverage?
Collision coverage covers accidental loss or the cost of repairing your vehicle if involved in a collision with another object or tips over. Collision coverage is optional to purchase but usually required if your vehicle is financed or leased. There is usually a deductible amount indicated and this amount is either paid by you, toward the cost of repairs or is deducted from the loss settlement. Higher deductible lowers your insurance premium.
What is “Comprehensive” coverage?
Comprehensive coverage covers accidental loss or the cost of repairing your vehicle if damaged by fire, theft, attempted theft, vandalism, lightning, windstorm, hail or rising water, earthquake, explosion, riot or civil disturbance, falling or flying objects and missiles. In general terms, Comprehensive covers damage to your vehicle from any peril other than by collision with another object or upset. Comprehensive coverage is optional to purchase but usually required if your vehicle is financed or leased. There is usually a deductible amount indicated and this amount is either paid by you, toward the cost of repairs or is deducted from the loss settlement. Higher deductible lowers your insurance premium.
What is an “At-Fault Accident?”
If involved in a car accident, your insurance company is required to assign the percentage of fault for each of the drivers involved in the accident. Insurance companies determine responsibility for an automobile accident according to the “Fault Determination Rules” located in the Insurance Act. These rules allow insurance companies to fairly assign fault in accidents resulting in fair compensation for everyone involved.
What is Pleasure and Business use?
Pleasure use includes driving to and from work. Business use means that you use your vehicle either full time or part time for your work; an example is sales calls, etc.
What is Third Party Liability coverage?
Provides coverage if you are legally responsible for an automobile accident that causes bodily injury or death to another person or damages to property.
Can I let my friend drive my car? Will he or she be covered?
If you lend your car, you also lend your insurance. If anything happens, your friend will be covered under your auto insurance policy, as long as he or she has a valid driver’s license and meets the other conditions of your policy. If your friend is involved in an at-fault accident while driving your car, it could affect your premium. If you lend your car to someone, remember that your auto insurance coverage may not apply if he or she does not have a valid driver’s license.
Why do I need travel insurance?
Just as you have home or car insurance, travel insurance is no different, by protecting the investment you make in travel plans. Travel insurance can protect your financial investment (up to the amount of your policy limits) should your trip be canceled or interrupted for a covered reason, as well as provide additional benefits like baggage protection and emergency medical and dental coverage.
What does travel insurance cover?
Travel insurance can provide benefits for a number of situations that may occur before and/or during your trip, including:
- Trip Cancellation Protection
- Trip Interruption Protection
- Emergency Medical Transportation
- Emergency Medical / Dental Coverage
- Lost / Stolen / Delayed Baggage Coverage
- Travel Delay Coverage
- Missed Connection Coverage
- Rental Car Damage Protection
Note: not all plans include each benefit listed here. Please see the Certificate of Insurance/Policy for terms, conditions, and exclusions.
If I cancel my trip, do I get my money back?
Trip cancellation coverage gives cash back for prepaid, nonrefundable payments if you have to cancel your trip for one of the reasons covered by your policy. Some reasons include sudden covered medical emergencies, financial default of a covered airline, cruise line or tour operator, employer termination, terrorist incidents, and jury duty. Some reasons for cancellation aren't covered, such as changing your mind about taking a trip or other things not named in your policy/certificate of insurance.
If you cancel your trip for a covered reason, you must notify your travel supplier(s) within 72 hours of the cancellation.
What is an existing medical condition?
An existing medical condition is an illness or injury that you, a traveling companion or family member were seeking or receiving treatment for or had symptoms of on the day you purchased your plan, or at any time in the 120 days before you purchased it. Please also note that you may still be covered for losses caused by reasons other than those related to an existing medical condition.
We’re as passionate about cars as you are. Our deep knowledge of cars and their owners allows us to offer you better collector car insurance coverage for less.
Guaranteed Value™ Coverage
In the event of a covered total loss, you receive every cent of your car’s insured value. No depreciation. No messing around. No hassle.
Our policy allows you occasional pleasure use with no fixed mileage restrictions. With Hagerty, you can go for a weekend drive, take your vehicle up to the local ice cream shop or attend unlimited events and cruises.
Why choose an insurance broker?
There are many different ways to shop for & purchase Insurance. So why would you choose an Insurance Broker?
As an Insurance Broker, we deal with many insurance companies in the marketplace, in order to provide to you a wide range of products.
We take the time to understand our client’s needs & lifestyle and, using our experience and the knowledge of this range of products, design an insurance package that provides the best protection while fitting into your budget.
In short, we are not here to sell you an insurance product; we seek to understand your unique needs and will then help you purchase the right product for you.
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