Whitlock Insurance understand your policy

How Well Do You Understand Your Insurance? Rest Easy – Here’s a Quick Guide!

How well do you understand your insurance? Pages of policy can be overwhelming – here’s a quick guide to what, and why, you have to know what you’ve purchased.

Peace of mind is so valuable. When you purchase insurance, it’s really peace of mind that you’re buying so you can rest easier knowing that you and your family will be taken care of in the event of a crisis.

As we’ve seen in recent days, life can be disrupted very easily. And where we can be prepared, where we can be proactive to maintain the wellbeing of ourselves and our loved ones, we have to be.

Whether it’s burst water pipes due to a sudden cold snap, a tree down due to a windstorm, a car collision, or damage to your business by vandals – insurance helps you to be prepared. Day-to-day can be a roller coaster in the event of an accident or loss but protecting yourself in the aftermath with the appropriate insurance can help you better manage.

The unexpected can be costly, and the right insurance policy provides the necessary protection to help mitigate those expenses incurred by the automobile accident, those heinous vandals, or the burst water pipes. Understand the basics of insurance, and you’ll be far more educated and prepared to make the necessary informed decisions about the coverage you’ll need.

If you don’t have insurance, you’ll be unable to get a mortgage on your home or drive a car. Travel, too, becomes a risk that could be very, very costly.

    1. What exactly is insurance and how does it help? Along with the many other people buying insurance, your purchase adds funds to a premium pool. These are the funds that get distributed to help you or another contributor to the pool in the event of the unexpected – an accident or loss during that calendar year. The payouts are referred to as ‘claims’. It is that law that insurers always have sufficient funds to cover all claims filed.
    2.  Why is insurance a MUST? If you don’t have insurance, driving a car, buying a home, launching your own business, or even just traveling out of the province, pose an unaffordable risk, if you’re able to do it all. In the event of a crisis – a loss or accident – you would be left on the hook to cover all of the costs, often thousands and thousands of dollars if not much, much more.
    3. Why do I pay for insurance yearly?  Aside from only the rarest exception, an insurance policy is purchased on an annual contract basis and renewed each year. The premium pools operate one year at a time and the insurance company uses a formula to predict the funds necessary to pay the claims for the coming year. After one year, everyone’s contract renews and premiums do not carry over or build up year to year. Calculating insurance premiums is somewhat complicated and involves a risk assessment that draws on actuarial science. Based on informed predictions about what funds will be needed to pay future claims, the premiums are calculated. Insurance providers collect the information and, in addition to what they understand from their experience, they set a fair and accurate premium price.
    4. What will my insurance cover? Regardless of what happens, in every case, your policy will only pay for those insured losses outlined in your coverage contract. It is important that you take the necessary time to review your policy and be sure to understand exactly what’s detailed within. If you have any questions, your insurance representative will be more than happy to answer them so that everyone is on the same page. Keep in mind, it’s not just what’s in the policy – it’s what isn’t covered as well.  Be very clear about both aspects of your policy – talk to your insurance agent to get a full understanding.

The 4 steps of buying insurance

  1. Your insurance company estimates an annual premium to accept the risk involved to cover your home, vehicle, business, or travels.
  2. You will pay that premium to your insurance provider on an annual, or monthly, basis.
  3. The insurance company adds all premiums paid into one large pool, operating as a contract on a yearly basis.
  4. Your insurance provider will use that pool to pay for the losses identified by claims made that calendar year.

We want to feel as care-free as possible in our daily lives. However, there are many things we do each year that pose some degree of inherent risk – driving a car, owning a home, traveling – where additional protection is essential, even mandatory in many cases.

Insurance is the one tool that helps to provide the preparedness, the protection, and the invaluable peace of mind to do it all!

If you have any questions about an existing or new policy, we want to help! Contact us today to discuss your insurance needs or get a FREE QUOTE!

Whitlock Insurance why you need coverage for a cruise

Taking an Ocean Cruise? 8 Reasons to Purchase Travel Insurance Before You Go

Anything can happen even on an idyllic ocean cruise. Don’t sail unprepared, purchase travel insurance to ensure your well-being and peace of mind.

With all the news surrounding the recent outbreak of Coronavirus and its impact on cruise ship passengers, people excited about their upcoming ocean cruise may be experiencing a dampening of spirits, if not outright fear.

The fact is, outbreaks of viruses aside, anything can happen as you set sail to paradise. The list of potentialities is a long one, but if you’re prepared, the chances of coming home from the high seas with great memories rather than a horror story are greatly increased.

Here’s why including travel insurance should be included in your planning:

1. Trip cancellation

It’s not unusual to book your ocean cruise well in advance – weeks or months – of your departure date. But, of course, anything can happen between the time you book and the day you leave. You could hurt yourself, get sick, have a family or business crisis, among the many possibilities.

How do you avoid the penalties associated with cancellation? Travel insurance. Insurance will cover you in the event of trip cancellation, including the fines and costs that go along with having to change your plans, so you can take of your emergency.

2. To cover medical emergencies

Again, you never know what might happen after you set off on vacation, even somewhere fairly insulated and safe as a cruise ship. You may be traveling with a medical condition (diabetes, for instance), or something may befall you once you’re on board. Perhaps you’ve forgotten your insulin at home and require an injection. It would cost you a lot in handling and logistics to have your treatment delivered and administered.

Imagine a fall down the stairs and breaking a bone. Your cruise isn’t going to cover an accident that is the result of your personal negligence.

Fortunately, travel insurance may provide for medical emergencies onboard your cruise ship. This may include transportation to get the required treatment on the mainland. It will cover hospital bills and possibly include travel home if needed as well.

Additionally, insurance could compensate for any expenses incurred in treating your wounds onboard the ship.

3. Trip interruption

Again, the only thing we can count on is that there are no certainties in life. There are a variety of things that can happen to you between the time you board and your arrival to your destination or back at your original port. An emergency at home such as a sick child or parent, for instance.

Do you choose to continue with your travels or head back home? Most choose to tend to their family emergency and head home. This decision will result in additional expenses, of course, such as possible hotel fees and changes to your flight.

In some cases, there are problems with the cruise ship itself that requires a costly change of plans.

Preparing yourself with travel insurance for your ocean cruise makes sure these incidentals are covered. It will allow you to change your flight and help settle any other associated costs.

4. Issues with the cruise line

Being prepared with travel insurance can help to mitigate any unexpected costs associated with problems that befall your cruise line. For example, you may have a long-standing reservation but your cruise company has gone bankrupt and your plans are suddenly canceled through no fault of your own.

Financial crises faced by your travel provider can affect your travel plans. Travel insurance helps cover you in these situations. The insurance companies can often cover any financial default on the part of the cruise company.

Given the volatility and unpredictability of the global economy, additional thought and preparations as you plan your travels are necessary to avoid being let down to the tune of hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

5. Loss of baggage

Losing luggage is a common complaint no matter how you choose to travel commercially. It is particularly common with cruise ships where there are hundreds, sometimes thousands of travelers with their bags. And, despite your best efforts to prevent the loss or misplacing of your luggage, it’s always still very much a possibility.

Travel insurance provides a safety net that, while it doesn’t prevent the loss of your belongings, it can help replace them if you need. In the event of a loss, insurance coverage includes follow-up with ship management and the handling of communication and any necessary investigation. If your bags cannot be located, you’ll likely be compensated for the lost items.

6. You Miss Your Ship

We know this probably isn’t you – you’re always on time! BUT… sometimes things happen. No matter how proudly prompt you always are, there could be any number of circumstances outside your control that make you late for the launch of your cruise.

A good travel insurance policy will provide for this situation. For instance, it may allow you to travel to a destination stop to join your cruise.

You may end up a little late, but you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the rest of your time aboard.

7. Threats to security at your destination

Terrorism and the fear of terrorist activity is an ever-present threat to those traveling to many destinations worldwide. Given this threat and the political unrest that often accompanies it, it isn’t that unusual for there to be occasional disruption to ocean cruising travel plans. Occasionally, a desired cruise destination is subject to terror attacks that impact foreigners.

If you’ve already booked and paid for your ticket, who pays for the canceled plans? Travel insurance takes these kinds of scenarios into consideration.

8. Emergency evacuation

While you want to look forward to sunny, blue skies and great weather throughout your cruise vacation, of course, there’s never any hard-and-fast assurances of fair conditions. In the event of a terrible weather event, an emergency evacuation from your location may be necessary. Such evacuations require significant resources and your cruise line likely won’t be covering the costs.

If you’re traveling to a destination prone to extreme weather events you can compare travel insurance plans for a policy that ensures you’ll be covered in the event of an emergency evacuation. A change of plans may be necessary, including a change in air travel arrangements to return home which should be covered by your travel insurance coverage.

In the worst-case scenario, some policies also offer evacuation services for fatalities onboard or at a destination. This coverage will ensure an easier time for your loved ones recovering the victim in the event of a fatal accident at sea. It’s a particularly dark type of insurance coverage, but as we’ve already determined not to mention what we see every day on the news, anything can happen.

BONUS: Valuable Peace Of Mind

No matter where you go, including your next cruise, travel insurance will provide you with valuable peace of mind as you make your plans. Cruise trips are expensive and you want to freely enjoy your time aboard and at wonderful destinations without worrying about what might go wrong.

Your ocean cruise is your time to decompress, relax, and fill your cup. Enjoy the sun, the different ports, and meeting new friends – your travel insurance will handle the rest.

Don’t forget your travel insurance for your next ocean cruise!

Not having insurance isn’t worth the stress or the tremendous risk and cost. There is any number of things that could crop up and ruin this special getaway – you want to leave expecting the best but prepared for the worst.

Questions? Contact us  about your travel plans and the best travel insurance coverage for your trip.

whitlock insurance be prepared with travel insurance

Escape Winter Prepared – Purchase Travel Insurance!

Purchase travel insurance before you leave to ensure your vacation isn’t ruined by a mishap or accident – it could be extremely costly without it!

Why is it important to include travel insurance in your travel plans? Purchasing travel coverage ensures you and your loved ones are protected if, when you’re out of the country or the province, an accident or mishap occurs.

Many of us are traveling, escaping the cold, ice, and snow to warmer climes, at this time of year. Don’t forget, as you’re planning your flights, deciding on an itinerary, renting a car, and laying out clothes to pack, to make sure you’ve purchased adequate travel insurance, too.

Be prepared for the possibility of the unexpected. Even if it’s just a quick weekend trip to the United States!

In a recent report from Allianz Global Assistance Canada (AGAC), it’s suggested that we Canadians are choosing to go without travel insurance when we head off for quick getaways. Without realizing that, for only tiny savings, the risks can actually be quite significant.

The information in the report identifies that less than 1.4% of single-trip policies purchased by Canadians were for trips lasting a couple of days. A staggering statistic considering that Statistics Canada reports that, last year, over 12.5 million Canadians traveled across the border for at least one night.

That’s a huge number of Canadians traveling largely uninsured, particularly with the exorbitant costs associated with medical care in the United States.

Given the proximity for many of us to the border, quick trips across occur quite frequently. As a result, travelers often don’t consider purchasing travel insurance for their quick getaways leaving them painfully vulnerable in the event of the unexpected.

And while your provincial health plan coves a small percentage of medical expenses south of the border, it won’t be nearly adequate considering the possibility of thousands of dollars that can be incurred. Even just a few stitches in an American hospital can cost upwards of $3000, or a sprained ankle, approximately $2000. Let’s not even think about the costs associated with a serious injury requiring a hospital stay, or what might be sustained in the event of an auto accident.

To ensure you’re protected from expensive medical charges abroad or beyond the borders of British Columbia, we can help you get the coverage you need.  As a broker, we’re able to access packages offered by a range of different insurance companies, through whom we can provide you with different types of travel insurance coverage:

Emergency Medical Insurance: A more comprehensive option that includes everything from licensed ambulance to emergency medical transport to emergency dental expenses to prescription drug reimbursement to family transportation expenses as well as board and lodging for the insured person(s) or the traveling companion while confined to a hospital, and escort home of insured children and more.

All-Inclusive Holiday Package: Emergency Medical Insurance – Worldwide, Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance, Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption, Baggage Insurance.

Non-Medical Package: Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Insurance, Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance, Baggage Insurance.

Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Insurance: Unexpected sickness, injury and/or death of the insured traveler or traveling companion, the insured traveler’s immediate family or the traveling companion’s immediate family; natural disaster, travel advisory, subpoena, involuntary job loss, missed connection, the non-issuance of a travel visa.

Additionally, Emergency Hospital, Annual Multi-trip Insurance, and others, as well as various trip lengths are available to choose from.

We can also provide insurance that allows you to travel around the world as often as you want or need, provided that the duration of your travel does not exceed the maximum number of days selected.

Relying on insurance provided by your credit card?

It’s important to note that credit card plans can often have limits to benefits and coverage. We know we can provide travel insurance to give you the most appropriate coverage for your needs. Questions? Ask us!

Your travels are meant to be enjoyed – you’ve worked hard to take the time for a trip!  But, it’s impossible to anticipate what might happen while you’re on the road or abroad. As such, it’s imperative that you consider all potential risks, no matter how short the trip.

Insurance to protect beyond that of your provincial medical plan

You may be planning a quick road trip south of the border. Perhaps it’s a more extensive trip to enjoy several months in the sun during the depths of our Canadian winter. No matter where you’re going beyond provincial borders, protecting yourself with travel insurance must be part of your travel preparations.

It’s very important that you understand that most provincial health plans will only cover you for expenses within your home province or territory. When you buy travel coverage, you protect yourself regardless of where you travel.

For instance, the provincial health plan we enjoy here in British Columbia will likely only cover a fraction of any healthcare expenses incurred outside of BC or Canada. Your plan’s coverage will be limited when traveling to another province and medical expenses outside of BC could be financially overwhelming.

The additional types of coverage you can purchase include Emergency Hospital and Medical Single trip Insurance, Snowbird coverage, Family Plans, Visitors to Canada, and non-medical plans including Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption, Flight Accident, Baggage coverage and more.

Planning to travel, out of Canada or British Columbia? Contact us or call 250-368-9188 for more information. Or get a FREE QUOTE.

Whitlock Insurance how to winterize your home

Prevent Winter Stress – Winterize Your Home!

Don’t get left out in the cold this winter. Prevent any seasonal disasters and take the proper measures to winterize your home.

For most of us, winter has begun to settle in. But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to ensure your peace of mind and protection from potentially costly and stressful disasters this season. There’s still time to winterize your home.

Snow and ice don’t have to spell disaster. But if you’ve ever had to deal with a winter-related disaster in or around your home, you know that if something is going to go wrong, chances are pretty good it’ll be in the dead of winter.

Get properly prepared, however, and you can welcome the return of Old Man Winter, rather than dread it. Wondering what are the most important steps you can take to ensure your safety and comfort, not to mention maximizing energy efficiency and savings? Here are a few essentials:

Winterize Indoors

  1. Our most important resource in winter is the heating source of in our home. Whether you rely on a furnace, electric baseboards, a wood stove, or something else, make sure it’s in good working condition. Have them regularly inspected, maintained and cleaned – annually, if possible. You may need to clean or even replace furnace air filters more frequently during colder months.
  2. Regularly test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and keep them maintained. Replace, if necessary.
  3. Fill the gaps! Inspect your windows for any small cracks around the perimeter. Even the tiniest of spaces can allow cold air indoors. Caulk any openings or cracks around the exterior of your windows – it’s an easy, fast way to help ensure your warm air stays inside.
  4. Keep warm air indoors, where it belongs, and inspect your attic for signs of frost accumulation.  Check that your attic is appropriately insulated. An easy way to boost your insulating power is to add batts of fibreglass insulation or mineral wool to your existing attic insulation; snug them tightly beside one another to help prevent any air gaps.
  5. Keep your plumbing free and clear – run water through taps and fixtures regularly.
  6. Test any plumbing and fixture shut-off valves.

Winterize Outdoors

  1. Check your roof and eavestroughs for any icicles or damming of ice.
  2. Test your outdoor plumbing and fixture shut-off valves.
  3. If you have exposed pipes, be sure to fit them with insulation sleeves or wrapping to prevent freezing.
  4. Keep your sidewalk, patio, and front steps clear of ice and snow – a quick sweep after a fresh snow goes a long way!
  5. Don’t allow snow to collect against or in front of gas appliance vents and meters, exhaust vents, or basement windows.
  6. Keep those branches that hang close to your home or electrical wires safely trimmed.

Are you planning to leave for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation? Leave your heat on and entrust a friend, neigbour, or dedicated service to keep an eye on your home while you are away.

Do you have further questions about how to protect your home throughout the year? Want to know more about your home insurance coverage? Talk to us!

Whitlock Insurance protect against slips - falls on ice

Winter Ice and Snow – Protect Yourself Against Slips, Trips, Falls

The winter ice and snow are on the way! Be sure you’re covered against any cold-weather mishaps such as slips, trips, and falls – you could be liable.

Winter is definitely on its way. In fact, by now many area communities have already experienced their first snowfalls, subsequent melts, and hazardous freezes.

As lovely as the snow is, this time of year isn’t just about gearing up for the festivities of the Holidays and waxing skis and snowboards in anticipation of the impending powder. It’s also about preparing yourself against the possibilities of accidents due to chilling and changing weather conditions.

For homeowners, in order to safeguard against unfortunate mishaps, you must understand that you are responsible for maintaining the safety of your property – keeping clear of snow and ice your walkways, steps and stairs, and driveway. The trafficked areas around your home must be made as safe as possible for anyone who uses them.

So, with the recent changes in the weather, be sure that you are aware of such common hazards as:

  • Snow and ice – spread salt, shovel, and sand to ensure your walking surfaces are safely cleared according to your local bylaw timeframes
  • Note unexpected changes in elevation or surface issues such as cracks or gaps. Repair any potential issues that lie within your property boundary. You can also report issues such as uneven sidewalks that lie on municipally-owned property
  • Ensure your lighting is adequate and maintained
  • Manage slippery surfaces – wet floors or slick tile flooring. Simply install some form of non-slip cover
  • Repair loose or missing handrails on stairs
  • Debris such as wet, slippery fall leaves can be a hazard so keep your paths and walkways clear of them

What is your legal liability?

It’s up to you to provide a reasonable standard of maintenance, keeping your home and property safely free of any potential hazards. If you neglect to do so, there’s the possibility you could be held liable for slips, trips, and falls. Hosting an event – party or a yard sale? Due diligence could prevent a costly mishap.

Think this is only about homeowners? Not so! If you’re a tenant, you may end up sharing liability for an accident with your landlord. The individual held liable depends on the circumstances of the accident. If it’s a shared space with two or more tenants, be sure that the lease agreement states your responsibilities very clearly.

The following criteria are what will be taken into consideration:

  • Was the danger or hazard foreseeable?
  • Did the homeowner’s conduct conform to largely acceptable standards of practice?
  • Was the danger or hazard in existence for an unreasonable span of time?
  • How easily could the danger or hazard have been prevented?

If you want to avoid liability, the best way to do so is prevention, plain and simple. Be vigilant when it comes to keeping your home or property free of potential dangers and hazards. Regular maintenance is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect yourself against a mishap and the resultant claim or lawsuit should it occur.

What to do if an accident occurs on your property:

  1. Certainly, you assist the injured party and get them the necessary medical treatment. Call an ambulance if it’s required.
  2. Document the names and contact information of everyone present – witnesses. Document detailed descriptions of the incident from all involved and present – victim and witnesses.
  3. Don’t talk about the event with the injured. Refer any conversations with the claimant to your insurer. DO NOT ADMIT LIABILITY!
  4. Take photographs of the area where the incident happened. If possible, take pictures of the footwear that the injured individual was wearing.
  5. Document the entire incident. This could very well assist to establish a defense if a claim is presented at a later date and help your insurer conclude the cause of the event.
  6. Report the incident to your insurance provider. Provide:
    1. All details of the incident
    2. Information about what you might have done preventatively to avoid the mishap.
  7. Explore the possible causes and take the necessary steps to prevent and/or respond more effectively to similar events in the future.

Questions about potential accident liability? We want you to TALK TO US!

Whitlock Insurance Services protect your farm assets

Farm Insurance: How to Protect Your Valuable Agricultural Assets

You may have a small hobby farm or a large commercial agricultural operation. Either way or anything in between, we can provide the farm insurance coverage you need. Including speciality livestock such as ostriches or emus!

With a demand that requires 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, farming isn’t like any other business.  That’s why it’s important that commercial insurance is specifically designed to meet the unique needs of a farm, no matter the size or production.

Literally, your farm is your life’s work. Leaving yourself inadequately protected could be the difference between seeing your farm operation flourish or flounder.

Basic farm commercial insurance policies offer coverage for:

  • Dwellings
  • Personal Property
  • Farm Structures
  • Machinery
  • Livestock
  • Produce
  • Poultry
  • Farmers General Liability
  • Pollution liability protection

It’s important to understand the individual needs of your farm. Your Insurance Agent can help develop an insurance plan that’s customized just for you and your agricultural operation.

Customized coverage

Every farm operation is different and it’s necessary to your unique farming enterprise that there are options. We can help you build a plan specific to your situation without adding any coverage you don’t need. We offer the following and more, depending on your needs:

  • Comprehensive water coverage
  • Replacement cost coverage
  • Sewer backup coverage
  • Loss of use of farm machinery
  • Power interruption
  • Loss of income protection (business interruption)
  • Increased fire department charges
  • Employer’s liability and voluntary compensation for farm employees (not available in all provinces)
  • Farm accident insurance

Farm assessments

We take the time to get to know you and your farm operation to identify exactly the coverage you’ll need.

Your Insurance Advisor will visit your farm to review your operation as well as your existing insurance coverage to ensure you get a policy that meets all your specific needs. We know that the needs of a large commercial farming operation are far different than those of a hobby farm and that poultry or dairy farmers need different coverage than produce or hog farmers.

Our insurance experts know exactly what to look for, and will conduct a thorough review of your property to ensure that you are getting the quote for the insurance you need. They’ll also give you safety tips and suggestions to help keep you and your farm operation safe.

Protect your hobby farm

Distinct from a large commercial farming operation, hobby farms are smaller farms operated primarily for pleasure. We can provide an insurance package for hobby farmers to be potentially sold as an addition to your regular home insurance.

What qualifies as a hobby farm?

A hobby farm is operated on a significantly smaller scale than a commercial farm. But, if you’re nurturing a veggie garden, regardless of how large and abundant, this is not considered a hobby farm. However, if the land is being rented for farm use or livestock are being kept, it would fall under the category of a hobby farm. Understand exactly what qualifies – CONTACT your local agent to determine your eligibility.

Hobby farm insurance package

While your farm may seem small, it still requires a significant investment of time and energy to keep it at its best. Your investment needs to be protected. We can make sure it’s covered with the following:

  • Dwelling and contents
  • Replacement cost guarantee on your home
  • Extended Water coverage for farm dwellings
  • Dwelling limit for detached structures
  • For produce sellers, coverage loss due to robbery
  • Farm livestock
  • Farm produce
  • Farm poultry and eggs
  • $1 million liability

Optional coverage

You can also choose to add increased coverage limits, farm outbuildings and farm machinery can be covered through additional insurance. CONTACT your agent to talk about hobby farm insurance options.

Do you know if your farming operation – big or small – is adequately covered? Are you looking for a comprehensive farm insurance plan? Get a QUOTE! 

Whitlock Insurance home-sharing short-term rental coverage

Airbnb. VRBO. Your Guide to Insurance for Home-sharing and Long-term rentals

There are many benefits to home-sharing but the risk, however, is that of the host. Make sure you’re covered!

At this point, there’s really no question about the popularity of home-sharing and short-term rentals and how they’ve almost become a sector unto their own. They’re great for visitors looking for unique and homey accommodations, and they’re great for homeowners, too!

Offering your home up for rent through web-based home-sharing platforms allows the unique opportunity to rent out an entire home, a basement suite, or even a spare bedroom. It’s a way to quickly and easily connect rentals with a huge pool of prospective renters while making payment collection simple, reliable, and secure. It’s become a great way to earn supplementary income on your own residence or support a second property, sometimes making a significant amount of money.

For travelers, these rentals can be an affordable and wonderful way to experience a locale more intimately as opposed to simply booking a hotel room.

While convenient for both parties, and the potential for profit-making so worthwhile for the homeowner, it cannot be forgotten that these platforms are not without risk. Before taking the leap and listing your home, room, or suite on any web-based home-sharing site, give yourself peace of mind, by considering the following tips:

Purchase the appropriate insurance to be a homesharing or short-term rental host 

Thoroughly review your homeowner’s policy to make sure your home and belongings are properly covered. Have questions? Talk to us: 250-368-9188.

Thoroughly screen your guests

Before you commit to a guest or take any deposits, it’s important to thoroughly check their background. See if they have a history with the platform, ensuring they’ve been verified, and read through any reviews they may have.

Don’t feel shy about going through prospective renters’ social media, either. What they’re posting online will give you a good idea as to how they might be inclined to behave.

Listen to your gut! Chances are you’ll get a good feel for prospective guests simply in the early exchanges you have.

Establish clear and concise rules — and make sure they’re known!

Any platform you choose will allow you to set the guidelines or House Rules right there on the unit’s profile. This is important to have laid out in black & white in the event of any issues or controversy.

Set limits on occupancy

The more people staying in your rental unit, the more opportunity for accidents, mishaps, or worse. These limits also help ensure that guests are comfortable and safe for the duration of their stay. Occupancy limits should take into account the size of the property and local regulations.

Consider child-proofing

Unless you’ve identified that children are not welcome in your rental, it’s likely that at some point families with young children will be your guests. Protect your young guests and take the time to take child-proofing measures, such as electrical outlet covers, to keep youngsters safe.

Set a security deposit

A mandatory security deposit not only minimizes the potential financial impact of the damaged property but also helps identify the commitment of the prospective guest.

Provide emergency contact information and a first aid kit

A first aid kit should be readily available and fully stocked. Always.

In addition, always supply your guests with information sheets that indicate local emergency numbers and the nearest hospital. Provide a clear emergency contact number for yourself, as well as backup, for easy guest reference. Also, make clear how you should be contacted if the guest has questions or issues arise.

Notify neighbours & others who may be impacted by your guests

With renters in your home, the potential for interaction with your neighbours or roommates. To avoid unnecessary conflict, let your neighbours or roommates know in advance that guests will be staying in your property.

Secure your valuables & protect any sensitive information

Regardless the steps you may have taken to mitigate risks, when you open your home, or a portion thereof, to guests, there’s always the possibility of accidents, mishaps, damage, and even theft. To protect your valuables and expensive items move them to a secure location, ideally off-site.

In this Internet era, there are other not insignificant concerns as you consider renting your property. Identity theft has become a growing concern and it’s important that guests are not able to gain access to paperwork, files, or any other documents (physical or digital) that contain sensitive personal information.

Install smoke & carbon monoxide detectors

These safety detectors are a MUST! They serve to protect not only your guests but also your property. In a similar vein, emergency exits should be clearly identified as well.

Complete a home safety inspection

Safety inspections are important in addressing risks before they expand into bigger, more pressing issues. Before listing your property, be sure to complete a thorough home inspection and address any and all of the issues as they are identified.

Keep your accommodations well maintained

Take care of all possible maintenance, repairs, or housekeeping issues as they arise. This can help avoid common injuries such as slips and falls for your guest. Prior to each new renter, examine your rental unit for any new housekeeping or maintenance issues that should be addressed.

Thinking of home-sharing? We can provide the necessary insurance to make sure you’re covered! Have questions? Talk to us!

Whitlock insurance home-based business coverage

Have a Home-based Business? Don’t Leave Yourself Unprotected!

Just because you own a home-based business doesn’t mean your home insurance policy will ensure you’re covered. What you NEED to know!

The Internet has facilitated many things: social media, online shopping, working from home. In fact, one of the fastest-growing sectors today is the home-based business.

With more and more Canadians operating successful businesses from their homes, there are specific details pertaining to operating from home that need be taken into consideration. One of those details is insurance coverage and how their home-based business operations might impact their home insurance.

Your home insurance might offer home-based business coverage as an extension, but don’t take for granted that your residential policy provides adequate coverage for your business operating from home – most DO NOT.

Even if you’re home business only operates on a part-time basis, you may want to consider home-based business insurance to ensure you and your business property are covered.

Benefits of a home-based business insurance plan

If you’re operating a home-based business, a home-based business insurance plan will cover your office equipment, business inventory on and off-premise and business interruption insurance if anything were to happen to your home because of an insured loss.

Home-based business coverage insures the things you need to run your business: furniture, equipment, desktop and laptop computer, software, cell phone, and fax machine. It also includes items you stock, or goods and inventory you hold for sale.

Most importantly, it will cover you for additional liability for clients, delivery personnel, and any employees in the event of a mishap or accident.

Is home-based business insurance right for you?

Whether you should or shouldn’t insure your business at home really depends on the extent of the business activities you conduct at home.

If you have a lot of high-value equipment and no clients or employees coming to your house, it’s likely less expensive and perfectly adequate for you to add your equipment to your existing home coverage as an additional endorsement.

However, if you do work for the government or other high-profile agencies such as working as an author, event organizer, HR consultant, marketing consultant, translator or for a non-profit organization, you may want to consider coverage specific to your activities: Errors & Omissions insurance.

Errors and Omissions can provide the necessary coverage in the event your business is held to be liable if a client claims financial loss due to an error or omission on your part, or that of an employee – which is required for some contracts.

Note that if clients or employees come into your home for the business purposes, you may not be covered under a standard home insurance policy for liability.

Additionally, if your business is larger than the typical one to two-person home-based business operation, you may need to consider standard commercial insurance. Your broker will be able to advise you as to what your particular situation requires.

We can provide the necessary home office insurance extensions to bridge the gap between your residential policy and the needs of your small, home-based business.

We can also answer any questions you may have.  Talk to us!

Whitlock Insurance - Why You Should Have Tenant's Insurance

Are You A Renter? Why You Should Have Tenant’s Insurance

If you’re a long-term renter, don’t take for granted that your landlord’s insurance coverage will cover you and your belongings, too.

If you rent a home long-term, it’s important that you know exactly what your risk of loss would be in a catastrophe, and how you need to protect yourself.

Expect the unexpected and be prepared, especially if you’re a renter.

In fact, it’s probably wise to assume that your landlord’s insurance won’t be adequate when it comes to your belongings and personal liability. Tenant’s insurance is specifically designed to address any shortfall between your landlord’s coverage and what you are responsible for.

For parents of young adults and college students, your child could find themselves particularly vulnerable especially given the increased possibility of mishaps and accidents. Tenant’s insurance will not only protect your young loved one (and, probably, yourself), but also provide you valuable peace of mind!

Here are several good reasons to purchase tenant’s insurance and ensure you’re properly covered:

You own more than you think! You probably own more than you think you do. It often comes as a surprise to most renters to realize how much stuff they actually own and how expensive it would be to replace all of it.  This is why it’s critical to keep an updated record of what you own, including photos or video of your belongings.

Protect Your Belongings. Even if you are renting on a temporary basis, tenant’s insurance will replace the contents of your rental unit in the event of an insurable loss. This includes everything from furniture to expensive electronics such as laptops.

You’re protected even if you damage someone else’s property in your building. As a tenant, you could be vulnerable, liable for damage caused to not just the unit you rent but possibly the building as well – tenants are responsible for the harm they cause to any part of their building. Tenant’s insurance is designed to help cover the damage.

It covers additional expenses after a loss. If a fire occurs in your apartment, you will need a place to stay temporarily. Insurance will cover the necessary expenses while your apartment is being repaired.

It protects you if you cause someone harm in your building. Tenants are potentially responsible for the harm they cause others who live or visit their unit. Tenant’s insurance would help cover the costs associated with this type of claim.

It protects you in the event of a lawsuit related to your rental unit. A standard insurance policy provides coverage, including defense fees and potential settlements, in the case of a lawsuit commenced by a third party.

Additionally, tenant’s insurance contributes to a claims-free history. Most insurance companies will offer a discount if you have several years of insurance history without a claim.  A tenant’s policy can help you establish that insurance history.

More questions about how to be sure you’re covered as a tenant? Please talk to us!

Practice Loss Prevention

Protect Yourself at Home – Practice Loss Prevention!

Along with insurance, you need a practice of loss prevention to help keep you, your family, and your home as safe as possible.

You know when you’re buying home insurance that you’re protecting your home and your most valuable assets. Understand the common risks and take action to mitigate those risks – prevent a crisis before it happens and prevent potential losses.

The fact is, at some point, the worst-case scenario may very well occur. It could be a flooded basement, a kitchen fire or, depending on where you live, a natural disaster. Home insurance provides the peace of mind, knowing you’re protected in the event of any losses and many potentially costly risks.

But, there is a lot you can do before the crisis to prevent damage to your home.

As a homeowner, it’s important to understand what risks you may face. Some risks are obvious, while others only reveal themselves to someone who knows where to look and what questions to ask.

Know the risks and how to reduce them – loss prevention!

  1. Know what might go wrong. Is your home surrounded by wild junipers that could provide fuel to the loose spark from your firepit? Learn what you can do, outdoors, around your home to make it fire safe. An uneven step could cause someone to fall on your property. Learn about your slip, trip and fall risks and the value of preventive maintenance.
  2. Plan ahead to reduce your liability risks. Create an emergency kit and plan emergency exit routes with your family members. Limit how much alcohol guests are served when you host a BBQ, dinner or house party. Prevent sewer overflow in your basement by installing a backwater valve. Ensure that all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.
  3. Know how to handle an emergency or loss situation. Learn what you need to know when making a property claim. And keep calm.
  4. Keep an up-to-date record of your household contents. A current home inventory of your belongings will make it easier to file a claim.
  5. Consider if you have adequate coverage. If you are concerned about natural disasters, you may be able to add coverage to your policy, such as earthquake coverage. Your insurance representative can explain the available options.
  6. Be sure that your home is equipped with approved loss prevention devices:
    fire alarm systems
    fire suppression systems
    security systems
    sump pumps and backwater valves
    automatic water shut-off devices
    reflective tape for heavy/farm equipment
    lightning suppression systems
    back-up power systems
    keep the chimney clean and free of brush and debris
    hail-resistant roofing materials

To learn more about loss prevention, contact us; we have the knowledge and expertise to advise you on all aspects of Loss Prevention.