Navigate Your Winter Adventures with Confidence: Insurance for Snowmobiles and Other Winter Toys

Get the right insurance for snowmobiles – customizable, affordable coverage for all your winter adventures.

As our Trail winter wonderland unfolds its snowy blanket, cold-weather adventure enthusiasts eagerly gear up for exhilarating rides on their beloved snowmobiles and other winter toys. Amidst the excitement, it’s critical to remember the importance of proper insurance for snowmobiles and other winter toys. 

Let us guide you through safeguarding your favourite winter adventures.

Specialized insurance for snowmobiles and other winter toys:

You’ve invested a lot in your winter recreational vehicles, including snowmobiles, ice-fishing sleds, and other specialized equipment. Unlike standard vehicles, however, your winter toys face unique risks like backcountry and icy conditions, hidden obstacles under the snow, and increased chances of theft during the off-season. This is where specialized insurance steps in, providing peace of mind and protection against unforeseen incidents.

Do I need snowmobile insurance?


More importantly, you should get coverage that caters to your needs – not a one-size-fits-all insurance policy. 

So, why should you get snowmobile insurance coverage? 

For starters, you need liability insurance on your snowmobile or off-road vehicle in order to drive it off of your property. In addition, it helps to cover substantial costs in case of injuries, damages, or loss as a result of related accidents or theft. 

A typical insurance policy for winter toys at Westland Insurance provides year-round coverage to help you deal with snowmobile-related accidents, even during the off-season. 

Additionally, it could help you cover the cost of other drivers’ repairs if you’re at fault in an accident with another off-road vehicle of any kind. It could also help with damage from road vehicle collisions.  

Types of Coverage:

  • Liability Insurance: Essential for any snowmobile owner, liability coverage protects you in case you accidentally injure someone or damage property while operating your vehicle.
  • Collision Coverage: This helps cover repair costs if your snowmobile collides with another object or vehicle, a common risk in snow-covered terrains.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Protecting against non-collision-related incidents like theft, vandalism, or natural disasters, comprehensive coverage is a smart choice for year-round protection.
  • Accessory coverage: Possibly included in your comprehensive coverage. Do you have custom accessories or parts, not part of the original machine?This coverage may help cover loss or damages of those items. 
  • Bodily injury liability coverage: In the event you’re found liable for someone else’s injuries, this may help cover the expenses of a third party.
  • Accident Benefits: If you have an accident, this coverage can help to cover medical bills for you and possibly your passengers.  
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Protection: In the unfortunate event of an accident with a motorist who lacks sufficient coverage, this insurance can be a financial lifesaver.

Cost of Insurance for Snowmobiles and Other Toys

In Canada, the cost of insurance for winter recreational activities like snowmobiling, skiing, and ice fishing is influenced by various factors specific to winter sports. 

These factors include the type and value of the equipment, the user’s experience level, geographical location, and the specific risks associated with each activity. For example, regions with higher risks of accidents or theft may see higher premiums. 

Additionally, the extent of coverage chosen, such as liability, collision, or comprehensive, also plays a crucial role in determining the cost. Insurance providers may offer customizable policies to cater to the unique needs of winter sports enthusiasts, balancing comprehensive protection with competitive pricing. As a result, the premiums reflect the specialized nature of winter recreational activities and the associated risks in the Canadian landscape.

Is insurance required for all off-road vehicles?

In short, no. If you use your off-road vehicle exclusively on private property, neither  registration nor insurance is required. Once you take your vehicle on to public lands, however, it’s different. When you operate beyond private property, you must register and insure the off-road vehicle.   

Why Choose Whitlock Insurance?

At Whitlock Insurance, we understand the unique landscape of our Trail, BC backcountry, and the specific needs of winter sports enthusiasts. Our policies are tailored to offer:

  • Customizable coverage options to fit various needs and budgets.
  • Expert advice from our knowledgeable team, ensuring you understand your policy thoroughly.
  • Swift claims process to get you back on the snow quickly.

Safety Tips for Winter Riders:

While insurance is your safety net, taking proactive safety measures is equally important:

  • Regular Maintenance: Ensure your snowmobile or winter toy is in top condition with regular check-ups.
  • Wear Appropriate Gear: Helmets, goggles, and suitable winter clothing are non-negotiable for safety.
  • Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date with local weather and trail conditions.
  • Ride Responsibly: Stick to designated trails and abide by all local laws and regulations.

Embrace our breathtaking Trail winter with excitement and peace of mind. Contact us today to customize your winter sports insurance plan and embark on your snowy adventures with confidence. We want your winter to be fun, safe and insured!

How We Determine Your Home Replacement Value

Understanding How We Determine Your Home Replacement Value

Understand your homeowner’s insurance – how we calculate your home Replacement Value. Safeguard your home with the right coverage!

When safeguarding your home with the appropriate insurance, understanding how we calculate the replacement value is very important.

Unlike market value, influenced by various external factors, replacement value focuses solely on the cost of rebuilding your home. We want you to know as much as possible about your homeowner’s insurance. Read on to better understand the key factors and methods we use to determine this critical value!

Why knowing your home’s replacement value is important

The replacement value, or the replacement cost, is the estimated cost of rebuilding your home from the ground up in the case of damage or devastation. We examine the price of materials of similar quality and kind, labour, and additional expenses necessary to reconstruct your home to its original condition.

Factors influencing replacement cost

  1. Home size and structure: The size and complexity of your home play a huge part in determining its replacement cost. Larger and more intricate homes generally mean higher replacement costs due to increased construction and material expenses.
  2. Materials and quality: The type and quality of materials used in your home’s construction significantly affect its replacement value. High-quality materials will lead to a higher estimated cost.
  3. Regional costs: The cost of labour and building materials can vary greatly by region. Insurance companies consider these regional differences when calculating replacement values.
  4. Local building codes: Building codes can change over time. If your home does not meet current building standards, bringing it up to code may increase the replacement value.
  5. Unique features: Special amenities and custom features in your home, such as custom kitchens, premium appliances, or luxury finishes, can also impact replacement costs.

Methods we use to calculate replacement costs

To determine the replacement value of your home, we employ various methods, including:

  1. Cost estimators: Insurers use specialized software that considers factors like square footage, materials, and regional construction costs to provide an accurate replacement value.
  2. Home inspections: In some cases, insurers conduct home inspections to assess the condition of your property. This allows them to consider any upgrades or improvements affecting the replacement value.
  3. Appraisals: Independent appraisers may be brought in to assess your home’s features and condition to determine the replacement value.

Accuracy matters!

Having an accurate replacement value for your home is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Adequate coverage: This ensures you have sufficient insurance coverage to rebuild your home completely in a disaster.
  2. Precise premiums: Insurance premiums are based on the replacement value. An accurate value ensures that you pay the correct premium for your coverage.
  3. Peace of mind: Knowing that your home is appropriately insured provides peace of mind, particularly in the face of catastrophic events.

Understanding how we calculate the replacement value of your home is essential for homeowners. It’s a meticulous process, considering various factors to ensure you have the right coverage to rebuild your home if disaster strikes.

When you’re informed about the replacement value and know you can communicate openly with us about your coverage, you can safeguard your most valuable asset. You know you’ll have the necessary financial support to reconstruct your home in the event of an unforeseen calamity. Your home is more than a structure; it’s your sanctuary, and protecting it is paramount.

Be sure that you have the necessary coverage to rebuild your home if you have to. Questions about your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy? Talk to us!

Home Insurance Changes in BC

Navigating Home Insurance Changes in BC: A Broker’s Guide

Keep your home protected with comprehensive homeowners insurance – a current and updated policy tailored to your needs.

Home insurance is a crucial aspect of safeguarding your property and investments. Given that your home is likely your biggest investment, keeping your home insurance coverage current and up-to-date is vital to protecting your financial health and your peace of mind.

And, as your life evolves, it’s essential that you stay informed and make necessary changes to your insurance policy. We think it’s important to remind you of the importance of keeping your insurance up to speed with your life. Below is a brief refresher about how to make changes to your home insurance so you can ensure that your coverage always aligns with your needs.

Understanding home insurance in BC

British Columbia is a unique province with diverse geographical and climatic conditions. These variations can significantly impact home insurance policies.

As an insurance broker, our first piece of advice is to understand the specific risks associated with your location. Our risks are very different than those of our family and friends on the Island or in the Lower Mainland. Factors such as flood risk, earthquakes, and increasingly year by year, wildfires, are crucial considerations in our area.

If you have questions about the risks specific to our region and how that impacts your home insurance, please GET IN TOUCH!

How to keep your policy current

Evaluate your existing policy

Before making any changes to your home insurance, it’s vital to evaluate your existing policy. Take the time to review the coverage, deductibles, and limits. Consider whether your current policy adequately protects your home and possessions. Your insurance broker can help you understand the finer details and pinpoint areas that may require adjustment.

Annual policy review
Home insurance is never a set-it-and-forget-it deal. It requires periodic review to consistently align to your changing needs. Your insurance agent can help you set a schedule for annual policy reviews to make sure that your coverage evolves with your life and circumstances.

Assess your home’s value

As with the rest of the nation and BC, our regional real estate market has seen significant fluctuations in recent years.

As a homeowner, it’s crucial to ensure that your home insurance accurately reflects your property’s current value. Over-insurance can lead to unnecessary expenses, while under-insurance may leave you vulnerable. Be sure to advise your broker of your most recent property assessment or consult with your insurance broker to conduct a home valuation – adjust your insurance coverage accordingly.

Reviewing liability coverage
Liability coverage is often a crucial, yet underestimated, aspect of home insurance. It protects you in case of accidents or injuries on your property. Given increasing legal costs, it’s wise to review your liability coverage to ensure it adequately protects your assets.

Adjust according to the changes you make to your home

Home upgrades and renovations

If you’re planning any upgrades or renovations to your home, it’s a good idea to inform your insurance agent. When you modify the structure and, ultimately the value, of your property, it can impact the home insurance coverage requirements.

What are your plans for your home upgrades or renovations? Depending on the scope and scale of the changes, chances are you will increase the value of your property. That means you will need to adjust your coverage to more accurately reflect the increase. Neglecting to do so could leave you vulnerable in the event of a claim.

Valuable asset additions

When you make valuable purchases, such as jewellery, art, or high-end electronics (home theatre, for example), you should review your policy. Your current policy won’t reflect these additional assets, leaving you short. You want to ensure that these items have the proper protection.

If you have recently purchased valuables, ask about including a floater or endorsement to your policy to provide the necessary additional coverage.

Changes in occupancy or how you use your home

Are you renting a portion of your home? Are you using your home for your business?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, you should talk to your broker about any necessary adjustments to your homeowners policy. If you’re using your home for more than just living or if occupancy will change, there is often changes in the liability and property protection requirements.

Are you anticipating changes to your home? TALK TO US about your home insurance coverage!

Strata insurance

If you live in a strata property, it’s essential to understand the relationship between your individual condo insurance and the strata corporation’s insurance. Changes in strata insurance policies can affect your coverage. We can help you navigate this complex scenario to ensure your policy is always up-to-date and that you have comprehensive protection.

Add-ons and endorsements

Insurance policies often come with various add-ons and endorsements that can enhance your coverage. In BC, these may include earthquake coverage, sewer backup protection, and coverage for high-value items like jewelry or artwork. Discuss these options with your insurance broker to determine if any additional coverage is necessary for your situation.

Discounts and savings

BC homeowners can take advantage of various discounts to lower their insurance costs. Installing security systems, fire alarms, or joining a neighbourhood watch program can make you eligible for discounts. Let us help you explore these options and ensure you’re maximizing your savings while maintaining adequate coverage.

Planning changes to your home? Have you recently made upgrades or renovations? You may need to also change your homeowner’s insurance policy –CONTACT US!


Quick Guide to Boat Insurance in BC

Your Quick Guide to Boat Insurance in BC – The Essentials!

Avoid being unprotected on the water! Why you need Boat Insurance in BC to cover you in the event of an accident – and for peace of mind!

The right insurance coverage is integral to protecting your assets. Whether you’re already a boat owner or you’re contemplating buying a watercraft here in beautiful British Columbia, knowing the importance of boat insurance is vital.

Knowledge is power! As you enjoy your boat this summer, we want you to understand the essentials of boat insurance in BC. Let us arm you with all the critical information necessary for you to make the best decision about protecting your valuable maritime investment.

  1. Why is boat insurance in BC important?

As with other recreational activities, boating comes with unique risks. The potential risks include damage as a result of an accident, theft, natural disasters, and liability for property damage or bodily injury. When you have the right boat insurance in BC, it helps to mitigate these risks. It also helps to provide you with vital protection financially.

Here in British Columbia, boat insurance is not mandated by law. However, most lending institutions and marinas require it. But, the fact is, when you are covered by boat insurance, you have protection in the event of the unexpected. Watercraft insurance provides you peace of mind, allowing you to enjoy your time on the water freely.

The statistics alone highlight the importance of having boat insurance in BC:

  • Between 2015 and 2019, Transport Canada reported an average of 150 boating accidents annually in BC.
  • The most common accidents with watercraft in BC include collisions with other boats, grounding or striking objects, and capsizing or swamping.
  • The Canadian Red Cross reported that, among all Canadian provinces, BC had the highest number of boating-related fatalities from 2009 to 2018.
  • The BC Coroners Service reported there were 84 boating-related deaths in BC between 2010 and 2019. In 2019, there were 12 fatal boating accidents in BC, resulting in 15 deaths.
  • The BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure reveals that alcohol consumption is a significant factor in boating accidents. Alcohol use contributes to as many as 40% of all fatal incidents.

These statistics illustrate the potential dangers and risks associated with boating in BC. However, when you have watercraft coverage, you enjoy financial protection. You have protection in the event of accidents, property damage, or liability claims.

  1. Kinds of boat insurance:

a) Property insurance: Property insurance protects your watercraft in the event of physical damage. In most cases, whether the cause is an accident, vandalism, theft, fire or natural disaster, you’re covered. In the event of a claim, your insurance policy may provide coverage for repairs or replacement costs for your vessel, its motor, equipment, and the boat’s accessories.

b) Liability insurance: This type of insurance is critical. Liability insurance protects you if you cause an accident resulting in bodily injury or property damage to others. It covers legal fees, medical expenses, and property repairs or replacements.

c) Uninsured or underinsured coverage: If you have an accident with a boater who doesn’t have insurance or whose coverage is not sufficient, this kind of coverage for you is important. It helps cover medical expenses and property damage that the boater at fault should be responsible for.

d) Coverage for medical payments: This insurance helps pay for medical expenses resulting from an accident, no matter who’s at fault. It offers coverage for expenses such as hospital bills, ambulance fees, and any necessary treatments as a follow-up.

  1. Factors that influence watercraft insurance premiums:

a) Boat type and its value: What kind of boat you have, and the vessel’s value contributes to determining the insurance premium you will pay. Often, boats of higher value or watercraft with high-performance capabilities may have higher premiums.

b) Your boating experience: Your insurance provider will quite likely consider your boating experience. If you have more experience, chances are, you will pay lower premiums.

c) Usage and navigation area: How you use your boat and where you use it will also determine the premiums. Consider things like distance from shore, intended use (pleasure, commercial, racing), and navigation in difficult waters can negatively impact your insurance costs.

d) Safety features and equipment: If your watercraft has safety features such as fire extinguishers, navigational equipment, and anti-theft systems, you may qualify to pay lower premiums.

  1. Other considerations affecting your insurance:

a) Deductibles: A deductible is the amount you pay before your insurance coverage takes over. If you have a higher deductible, you may enjoy lower premiums. Keep in mind, however, it’s important that you only choose a deductible you can afford in the event of a claim.

b) Agreed value vs actual cash value: When insuring your watercraft, you get a choice: agreed value or actual cash value policy. When you opt for an agreed-value policy, it covers your vessel for an agreed-upon amount. Whereas an actual cash-value policy factors in depreciation – a lower payout in case of a claim.

c) Discounts: Insurance providers can offer discounts when you bundle policies, complete boating safety courses, or if you have a claims-free history. Talk to your agent to discuss the options to possibly lower your premiums.

Do you have questions about boat insurance in BC? TALK TO US!

Breaking Down Commercial or Business Insurance in BC

Breaking Down Commercial or Business Insurance in BC

Exploring the essentials to commercial coverage: a comprehensive guide to commercial or business insurance in BC.

More and more people are choosing to come to British Columbia to build their lives and businesses. Between the exceptional high-speed internet connectivity and the incredible lifestyle available, it’s hard to think of a better place to do it!

But running a business here comes with its own set of challenges and risks. To protect your enterprise from unexpected events, having the right commercial or business insurance in BC is crucial. Below is a brief guide to explain the different types of commercial insurance available. We want to help you make informed decisions to safeguard your business interests.

Let’s take a look at the more general components often included in commercial or business coverage:

  1. Property insurance

    Property insurance is vital for businesses of all sizes, covering the physical assets you rely on to operate. It protects against perils such as fire, theft, vandalism, and natural disasters. Property insurance is especially important in British Columbia, where wildfires and floods can be a concern. It typically covers buildings, equipment, inventory, and other property, ensuring that you can recover financially if your assets are damaged or destroyed.

  2. General liability insurance

    General liability insurance protects your business against claims of bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury caused to third parties. It covers legal expenses, medical costs, and compensation for damages. Whether it’s a slip-and-fall accident at your premises or a product liability claim, general liability insurance provides financial protection and peace of mind.

  3. Professional liability insurance

    Also known as errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, professional liability insurance is specifically designed for businesses that offer professional services or advice. It protects against claims of negligence, errors, or omissions that result in financial loss for clients. Professionals such as consultants, lawyers, accountants, and architects can benefit greatly from this coverage. It can help cover legal costs and potential settlements.

There are also more specific types of business insurance in BC that address the unique needs of different kinds of entrepreneurs. For example:

For entrepreneurs running businesses from the comfort of their homes, you should understand the significance of home-based business insurance. While your homeowners’ insurance policy may provide some coverage, it often falls short in protecting your unique business needs. Home-based business insurance is specifically designed to address the risks associated with operating a business from your residence. It covers essential aspects such as property damage, liability claims, and business interruption.

There is an increasing popularity of home-based businesses in BC. Securing adequate insurance coverage ensures that you can focus on confidently growing your venture. When you have the right insurance, you know you are protected from unforeseen events that could disrupt your entrepreneurial endeavours.

Cyber liability insurance

With the increasing reliance on technology, businesses face a growing threat from cyber risks. Cyber liability insurance helps protect your business from data breaches, hacking attempts, and other cyber incidents. It covers costs associated with data recovery, customer notification, legal fees, and potential legal settlements. In BC, where more and more businesses rely on digital systems and handle sensitive customer information, cyber liability insurance is a vital component of risk management.

Want to know more about cyber liability as part of your business coverage? TALK TO US!

Commercial auto insurance

If your business uses vehicles for operations, commercial auto insurance is a must. This coverage protects your vehicles, drivers, and third parties involved in accidents. Do you have a fleet of delivery trucks or simply a single company car? Commercial auto insurance provides financial protection against property damage, bodily injury, and medical expenses resulting from accidents.

Safeguarding orchards and speciality livestock

In our picturesque landscape, farms, orchards, and speciality livestock operations thrive, contributing to the region’s rich agricultural heritage. If agriculture is your business, protecting your investment and livelihood is paramount.

Farms insurance provides comprehensive coverage tailored to the unique needs of orchards and speciality livestock operations in BC. This specialized insurance protects against a range of risks, including property damage, equipment breakdown, crop loss, livestock mortality, and liability claims. Whether it’s protecting the bountiful fruit trees of an orchard or ensuring the health and well-being of valuable speciality livestock, farm insurance offers the peace of mind that farmers need to navigate the uncertainties of their industry.

Golf course coverage: protecting the greens and beyond

BC Golf courses are not only places of leisure and recreation but also intricate businesses that require careful protection against various risks. Golf course insurance plays a crucial role in safeguarding these expansive properties and their operations. Whether it’s a public course, a private club, or a resort facility, golf course insurance provides coverage for property damage, liability claims, equipment breakdown, and other potential hazards specific to the golfing industry. In a region where weather patterns can be unpredictable, golf courses in BC face challenges such as natural disasters and vandalism, making insurance coverage all the more essential. Owners and operators need to ensure the protection of their greens, facilities, staff, and patrons. With comprehensive golf course insurance in place, these beloved recreational havens can continue to thrive and offer memorable experiences to golf enthusiasts while mitigating potential financial setbacks.

Understanding the various types of commercial or business insurance available is crucial for protecting your enterprise from unforeseen events. From property and liability coverage to specialized policies like cyber liability insurance, each type plays a unique role in safeguarding your business interests.

By working with a trusted insurance agency, you can tailor a comprehensive insurance portfolio that meets your specific needs, ensuring your business is adequately protected against potential risks and uncertainties.

Do you have questions about your business coverage? TALK TO US!

Update Your Home Insurance Broker

5 Important Life Changes To Update Your Home Insurance Broker

We all experience changes in our lives. But, there are some that require you to update your home insurance broker to stay covered.

We know that changes happen in everyone’s life, big and small. Over the long-term, but even year to year – the typical duration of most home insurance policies. Conveniently, your home insurance coverage renews automatically every year. But, if you’ve experienced changes in certain aspects of your life, it might impact your insurance coverage.

When you sign your policy, the insurance you purchase covers the circumstance of your life at that time. And a lot can happen over the course of a year. At renewal time, consider how those circumstances have changed – changes that might concern your home insurance coverage. A review of your insurance and a chat with your home insurance broker will ensure that you maintain the appropriate protection.

Not familiar with possible changes that can influence your homeowner’s coverage? Here are the updates you should provide to your home insurance broker:

1. Home upgrades or renovations

When you first purchase your homeowner’s policy, your home insurance broker conducts a thorough assessment of your home to estimate the value of your coverage. A variety of factors were explored – the size of your home, the number of bathroom facilities, the type of heating, your electrical and plumbing, roofing material, etc. It’s the various facets of your home that will determine the cost to rebuild in case of total loss.

Again, this estimate is based on the state of your home when you purchased your insurance. Upgrades and renovations will add value to your home. Consequently, it’s vital that you update your home insurance broker about any improvements to ensure that you and your home have full coverage.

Extra bonus: there are often savings to be had in premiums when you improve your home, too. When you upgrade infrastructure systems (heat, plumbing, and electrical), it can save you money in reduced premiums. Talk to your home insurance broker!

2. When you purchase valuables

Your home insurance policy includes more than just the structure of the dwelling. It also covers your belongings and helps to replace them in the event of an insured loss. So, if you make a purchase of value between insurance renewals, update your home insurance broker to see if a reassessment of your coverage is necessary.

Wondering about the total value of your belongings? Check out this handy tool to help you calculate what you own.

3. Home-based business? Check with your home insurance broker

Growing in popularity over the past decade or so but exploding throughout these years of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people operate home-based businesses, large and small. If you have a business from your home, you should discuss it with your insurance broker.

Depending on what kind of business you operate and the scale of your operations, your existing homeowner’s policy might be adequate. It could cover some, or perhaps even all, facets of your home-based business. Other home businesses, perhaps not. Understand, too, that in the event of a claim, unreported business activity could invalidate parts of your home insurance.

Don’t risk a home-based business without the appropriate coverage. Questions? Talk to your broker.

4. Marriage or divorce? Update your broker!

Beyond just the obvious concerns around your home and your belongings, lifestyle changes can impact your homeowner’s coverage, too. If your relationship status has changed since your last renewal, it could necessitate an update to your home insurance policy.

Additionally, if you’ve transitioned from tenant insurance to homeowner’s insurance (or vice versa), you should update your home insurance broker. Similarly, talk to your agent if you add another homeowner. If you don’t update your broker about these life changes, you risk carrying inadequate coverage.

5. When people move into your house

The design of your home insurance included the number of people living in your home was a factor. The number of residents in your home is especially relevant if you have tenants or own a short-term rental. Regardless, when anyone moves in – or out – of a property you own, update your home insurance broker. You need to know that you have the appropriate insurance protection.

Noone’s immune – change happens. And that’s exciting! And while you may have other priorities over the details of your home insurance, it’s still important to your peace of mind and well-being. No matter the changes in your life, your home insurance broker wants to help answer any question and ensure you have the protection you need.  Talk to us!

whitlock insurance - Loss of Use insurance coverage

Understanding Loss of Use. An Important Part of Your Home Insurance

If you can’t use your property after damage in an insured loss, loss of use coverage offers you valuable protection.

When you suddenly lose the use of your property after a disaster, it can be just that much more disorienting. Fortunately, included in your home insurance policy, there is Loss of Use coverage to help get you by. It offers valuable protection when you lose the use of your property after damage and an insured loss. It’s a common component of most home, condo, and tenant insurance policies.

Essentially, Loss of Use covers you when you find yourself suddenly displaced and cannot live in your home due to an insured incident. It’s coverage that reimburses you for additional expenses when you can’t use your property. For instance, if you need to live elsewhere temporarily during home repairs or rebuild after a house fire.

Components of Loss of Use coverage

You may hear Loss of Use referred to as “Additional Living Expenses” (ALE). It’s the most common use of the coverage but is really only one facet of Loss of Use coverage. There are two other elements to the typical Loss of Use coverage:whitlock insurance - loss of use

Additional Living Expenses (ALE)

If your home is unfit to live in after a catastrophe, ALE covers the additional necessary living expenses you have to pay to relocate temporarily.

Defining ALE

Generally speaking, there are two primary circumstances where Additional Living Expenses coverage applies:

  • Direct damage. As mentioned, the most common implementation of ALE is to cover living expenses in the event that your home is suddenly unfit to live in due to insurable damage. For the coverage to apply, the damage results from a peril that your policy covers. For example, fire is a peril included in every home insurance policy. In the event of fire damage, your policy will cover repairs, rebuilding, and your living expenses while you cannot live at home. Pests, on the other hand, are a peril not included in most policies. If termites damage your home and you have to leave during fumigation, it’s not likely that your policy will cover – the termite damage or any ALE.
  • Civil authority order. It’s possible to have to vacate your home under a civil authority order. ALE coverage applies so long as the cause for evacuation is insurable under your policy. For instance, ALE will cover your expenses if you have to evacuate due to wildfire if your insurance covers fire. Even if the fire doesn’t touch your property, you can claim ALE. But, if there is a civil authority order to vacate your premises due to flood and you don’t have flood coverage, you cannot make a claim for any ALE. To cover costs under ALE, the evacuation order must be an order, not an alert or advisory, or if you choose to leave your home voluntarily.
The common extra expenses Loss of Use protection can help cover:
  • A place to live – ALE coverage will pay for a hotel or to rent a furnished apartment. If you’re a renter, ALE will cover only those costs that exceed your normal rent payment.
  • Storage – If you need to store items while your home is repaired or rebuilt, ALE can cover the storage costs.
  • Extra utility charges –  There are typically extra charges when you move, suspend, or cancel utility services. ALE can cover some of the extra costs.
  • Food – Food costs often increase when you can’t be at home.  Staying in a hotel without a kitchen and eating in restaurants adds up!
  • Additional Transportation expenses – A temporary living situation may require additional commuting and travel, making getting to work and school much more expensive. ALE can help cover these increased expenses.
  • Pet – Your temporary living circumstances may not allow for your pets. ALE will cover keeping your furry family members in a kennel.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If your situation requires you to make a claim, be sure to keep all of your receipts!

Fair Rental Value

Fair Rental Value is a component of Loss of Use coverage. If you rent all or a portion of your home, you will likely lose rental income if property damage makes the home unliveable – under repair or rebuild. There are policies that will cover lost rental income as part of ALE coverage.

Note: While Fair Rental Value offers coverage for lost rental income in the event of an insured incident, it is not standard coverage on home policies.

For landlords, you have the option to purchase insurance that has rental income coverage included.

Prohibited Access

If you must evacuate your home, but there isn’t yet a loss or even the direct threat of loss, Prohibited Access helps cover any expenses you might incur. For instance, if there’s a nearby wildfire that requires your neighbourhood to relocate or if your neighbour experiences insured damage, putting your home at risk, you are required to leave. Prohibited Access coverage will reimburse any additional living expenses you incur during the time you can’t be in your home.

What Loss of Use doesn’t cover

The easiest way to define Loss of Use or ALE is to consider only the additional costs you wouldn’t incur but in the event you get evacuated from your home. Remember that you are responsible to pay for everything you paid before the event and loss occurred. Mortgage or rent and property tax, for instance, are costs that you need to continue paying, even during a period of temporary relocation.

Do you have questions about your coverage in the event of a crisis? TALK TO US!!

whitlock insurance safe driving

Safe Driving – 5 Ways to Keep Focused and SAFE!

Just a little reminder about safe driving. Consider the following points to help you remember how to stay focused on the road.

According to Transport Canada, distracted driving causes more automobile accidents and collisions than driving impaired. Every driver can take precautions to minimize the likelihood of most types of incidents. How to stay focused behind the wheel?

Here are some sure-fire suggestions to help you drive safely, protecting yourself, your passengers and others on the road.

1. Safe driving means you can’t multi-task

We all take for granted how much we can accomplish while we’re driving. It seems we all forget that we’re in control of many tons of metal propelling at high speed down the road.

It’s hard to resist taking care of pesky little tasks while driving. But you must! It doesn’t matter how comfortable you feel, how ‘one with the automobile’ you feel because you simply can’t account for what others are doing on the road – how alert and focused other drivers are. You just have no control over what happens on the street or highway.

The best way to ensure your safety while you drive, and that of others, is to keep your focus.

2. Reserve your cellphone for emergencies only

In keeping with the first point, it’s important to focus on your driving, not taking or making phone calls. Reserve your mobile phone for emergencies only when you’re driving. It’s not to take distracting social calls.

Modern vehicles allow for hands-free, Bluetooth phone calls. But even that is enough of a distraction that can cause you to miss a critical visual or audio cue that could help you avoid a collision.

Always pull off the road to use your phone if you must take or make a call.

3. Don’t eat while you drive

Clearly, we feel like we have to stress how vital it is to resist doing anything else while you drive your vehicle. And that includes eating. Really, any activity that draws your attention away from what’s happening on the road increases your risk of a motor vehicle accident.

We’ve all brought food to consume in the car, so we can save time eating and just get on the road. But, a major distraction while driving is food spills. The time savings just isn’t worth the risk to yourself, your passengers, or others on the road.

4. Don’t try to drive through sleepiness and fatigue

Did you know? Sleepiness, or fatigue, is considered a cognitive distraction. And fatigue can be lethal if you’re driving. The Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators reports that fatigue is a factor in as many as 21% of motor vehicle collisions each year – approximately 2,100 serious injuries and 400 deaths.

If you experience drowsiness or feel sleepy as you drive, don’t be afraid to find a safe location to pull over for a quick snooze. Even a few minutes will make a difference in helping you feel more alert. You should also take regular breaks to get out of the car to stretch your legs, helping to reduce feelings of fatigue.

If you choose to power through, you risk nodding off or even falling asleep. Either can result in disaster.

5. Minimize activity in your car

It’s not unusual to drive with several other people, friends, family members, or children in the car. Try to keep your conversations short, always focusing your attention on driving and the road rather than what’s going on in the vehicle, particularly if you’re driving in challenging weather conditions.

Develop good driving habits early

Good habits start early – when you first begin to drive! If you have kids soon to take the wheel, consider driving classes or driving school to give them a great start. If you are a more established driver, it doesn’t hurt to review your skills!

Questions about your automobile insurance? Talk to us!

Whitlock insurance Prevent Losses From Hot Work – Welding Soldering

Prevent Losses From Hot Work – Welding, Soldering, and More

Among the most common reasons small to mid-size industrial properties make insurance claims? Losses from hot work.

“Hot work” refers to any work with ignition sources near flammable materials. Types of hot work involve welding, soldering, and cutting and often produce sparks. And the result of a “quick job” in an area not designed for welding or cutting is often fire.

One of the leading causes of fire in Canada for small to mid-size industrial and commercial operations and one of the top three causes of significant property losses? Hot work. A hot work management program, however, can help reduce the risk of fire hazards by welding, soldering, and other hot work.

Mitigate losses – a hot work management plan

When you take the time to design a hot work management plan, you help to reduce significantly or even eliminate hot work hazards and risks. Plans include policy development, procedures, and assigning responsibilities for all facets of hot work, including accountability. A management plan includes:

    1. Establish policies:
      • WHERE hot work can occur
      • WHEN hot work can’t occur
      • WHO performs, authorizes, and monitors hot work
    2. Identify procedures:
      • Assessments to perform before permitting/performing hot work
      • Preparation procedures for any hot work area
      • If you can’t avoid hot work, detail how to do it. Particularly in areas that might be hazardous
      • List required tools for hot work
      • Hot work permit – How to get one, when to get one, and who can administer it
    3. Train all relevant personnel – management and employees
      • Supervisors, employees, maintenance workers, individuals who work fire watch, fire crews, and contractors all have different roles, trained accordingly
    4. Communicating the management plan
      • Post procedures in a highly visible place
      • Post policies in a highly visible place
      • Post signage in areas where you do NOT permit hot work

Obtain a hot work permit

You can significantly reduce the hazards of hot work with a permit. A two-part tag system, the permit requires whoever performs hot work to complete a safety checklist before they begin any hot work in areas not designated for hot work. Attach one portion of the two-part tag near the work area until the fire watch is complete. Management keeps the other portion of the permit for records, audited by management.

The permit system ensures the individual performing the hot work follows the appropriate safety protocols. It requires they sign off on a checklist before working and after the fire watch is complete. A hot work permit is available for purchase from most retailers of safety supplies.

Best practices

To help prevent damage and losses from hot work, ensure that, in addition to your standard hot work procedures, ask the following questions before work begins:

  • Is all equipment in good operating order?
  • Are all appropriate personal protective devices readily available at the site?
  • Have you trained each worker properly on how to use, clean, and store protective equipment properly?
  • Has someone thoroughly inspected the work area? Are there combustible materials in nearby structures (walls, ceilings, partitions)?
  • Has someone moved all flammable and combustible materials away from the work area?
  • Can you move combustibles? If not, can you cover them with fire-resistant blankets or shields?
  • Have you protected gas lines from hot materials, falling sparks, and other objects?
  • Have combustible materials such as sawdust been swept clean around the work zone? If the floors are combustible, keep them wet or covered with fire-resistant blankets or damp sand.
  • Are the appropriate fire extinguishers (e.g., ABC fire extinguishers) available and easily accessible?
  • Find out more hot work best practices HERE.

Establish a fire watch schedule

A vital component of any hot work management plan is a fire watch. Once the hot work – welding, soldering, grinding, or any other activity that produces heat and sparks – is complete, you MUST conduct a fire watch.

Ensure that no hidden spark or fire has been left that might smoulder or ignite at some point after the hot work is complete. Potentially catastrophic consequences could occur if you miss or skip a fire inspection after the work is done. You might have to pay a properly trained employee to stay longer to inspect and watch the area. But, it’s a worthwhile expense, as many victims of hot work damages and losses will attest.

If you’re unable to afford the extra eyes for an after-hours fire watch, try to limit any hot work to earlier in the day. So, if there are sparks smouldering, they’re caught during the business day. It’s recommended that you keep an eye on the area for up to four hours after the work is complete.

Be sure that your hot work management plan includes ALL hot work activities no matter who performs them, your staff or third-party contractors. Look at your safety policies and be sure that they include hot work. It doesn’t need to be complicated! Simply a page or two will do, outlining specific safety policies and procedures required to conduct hot work.

Questions about a hot work area and your commercial insurance? Talk to us!

Whitlock Insurance Avoid Basement Flood – Your Preparation Checklist

Avoid Basement Flood – Your Preparation Checklist

Spring is a joyous and exhilarating time of year – until you have a basement flood! Protect yourself from possible disaster!

What do you love about springtime? Is it the longer days? The warmer weather? Crocuses and other spring blooms breaking through the cold earth? All of the above? We agree! We are even at peace with the increased rainfall that will help turn everything a vibrant green.

Unless all that rain combined with retreating snow and spring runoff fills our yards and seeps into our basements, causing costly basement flood. If we aren’t properly prepared.

Take stock of the condition of your basement and its contents. If you have a fully finished basement, there’s a lot at stake in the event of a basement flood. Damage or ruin – furnishings, flooring, drywall, valuable mementoes, keepsakes, and documents.

Save yourself a lot of time, work, money, and anguish over lost valuables. Get out ahead of the rain and spring thaw to help keep your property safe.

PREVENT a costly and inconvenient basement flood

If we keep an eye on and maintain just four elements, we increase our chances to prevent a springtime disaster:

  1. Basement flood protection and maintenance – ideally, two times per year

    • Check nearby storm drains and remove any debris
    • Clean out eavestroughs and downspouts of dirt, debris, ice
    • Test your sump pump. Don’t forget the backup power source!
    • Ensure your backwater valve is clear of debris
    • Maintain all plumbing, fixtures, and appliances
    • Test flood alarms
  2. Keep water out of your basement

    • Examine the foundation of your home, indoors and out. Check basement walls and floors for cracks.
    • With a caulking gun, fill cracks with the appropriate crack filler for masonry concrete.
    • Differentiate larger, problematic cracks from the tiny shrinkage cracks visible on homes old and new. You might have to hire an experienced contractor to help you identify the difference.
    • Direct the water from your downspouts at least three feet away from your foundation
    • Extend downspouts and sump discharge pipes to direct water at least 2m away from your foundation or to the nearest drainage swale
    • Install window well covers. Ensure they are 10-15cm above ground level and are properly sealed at the foundation
    • Install water-resistant basement windows
    • Install a backwater valve (work with a plumber and get required permits)
  3. Protect your personal belongings in your basement

    • Store valuables and documents in watertight containers or move elsewhere
    • Store hazardous materials (paints, chemicals) in watertight containers or remove
    • Raise electronics off the floor
    • Select removable area rugs and furnishings that have wooden or metal legs
  4. Water in your basement? Remove as quickly as possible!

    • Take away obstructions to the basement floor drain
    • Remove all water. If you don’t remove it promptly after flooding, the damage can be quite extensive and costly – mould!
    • Install a backup sump pump with a power source
    • With the water removed, dry everything thoroughly. Ensure plenty of ventilation to minimize the potential for mould. Open windows and doors and turn on fans to increase air circulation.

    • Soaked porous items will need to be thrown out – paper documents, newspapers, cardboard boxes. They can be a breeding ground for mould.

    • Dry out your carpets quickly, and you may be able to keep them. If they can’t be thoroughly dried, they may have to be torn up and thrown away.

    • If large portions of drywall are saturated, cut out the damaged areas and replace them.

Review your home insurance coverage

Make sure that you protect your property in case of a basement flood. Review your homeowner’s policy and consider additional coverage if you feel your home is vulnerable to flood. Especially if you have a fully finished basement.

Questions about flood protection for your home? Talk to us!