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If you have any questions about insurance terms, please see our insurance terms glossary. Don't see the answer to your question below?  Why not Ask The Expert?

What is an insurance broker?

An insurance broker is like an independent advisor for your insurance needs. Independent of insurance companies, an insurance broker shops around to find you the right insurance coverage, based on your needs and their expertise.

Read more about The Benefits of Using an Insurance Broker.

What is liability insurance?

If you are held liable for an injury or for property damage, liability insurance has you financially covered. Liability insurance covers the cost of damages for accident benefits, medical costs, lawsuits and awards in the event of personal injury or death from an accident involving the insured party.

I was in a collision. What does it mean when my insurance company says I'm at fault or not at fault?

Your car insurance company is saying you were either responsible for this collision ("at fault") or not responsible for it ("not at fault"). No matter how big or small a collision, your car insurance company will assign a percentage of fault to you and another driver involved. They base this percentage on a strict set of collision scenarios that have been established over time and are included in an official document called: "Fault Determination Rules" (it is not a "judgment" call and your insurance broker does not have the ability to change your at fault rating). Fault percentages look like this:

"At fault" = 100% at fault.

"Not at fault" = 0% at fault.

"Partially at fault" = any two percentages that add up to 100%. (50% could be assigned to either driver, or 30% to one and 70% to the other)

Regardless of whether you are fully or partially responsible, your car insurance company is required to mark "at fault" on your insurance record.

For further explanation, contact your Rhodes & Williams Insurance Broker with any questions.

What is no-fault insurance?

Many provinces in Canada now have some level of no-fault insurance in which each person's own insurance company pays for injury or damage - up to a given limit. This applies regardless of whether or not the insured person was at fault, hence "no fault."

In some provinces, they have a pure no fault insurance policy, while in others, such as Ontario, there is a threshold system in which "no-fault" really only applies up to a certain threshold of liability; injuries that are not "serious and permanent" are covered by your own insurance.

For further explanation, contact your Rhodes & Williams Insurance Broker with any questions.

Does my car insurance cover me outside of Canada?

Your car insurance usually still applies for short trips between provinces or into the continental United States. Make sure you talk to your insurance broker about the specific details of your own car insurance policy.

What should I do if my home is going to be unoccupied?

Your insurer considers an unoccupied dwelling riskier than an occupied one. Depending on how long you are away from your home, you need to make arrangements to ensure your dwelling is checked regularly, especially through the heating season. In some circumstances, you may need to inform your insurer.

Below are the guidelines for most of the insurance companies we represent. If your home will be unoccupied we recommend that you contact us and speak with your insurance broker about the specific requirements for your insurance company and policy.

When away for a short time
If you will be away from your home for fewer than 30 days you likely do not need to inform your insurer. However, you do need to arrange for a competent person to look in on your home every day to make sure that everything is in good order. If a deep freeze and/or a broken furnace result in exploding pipes and water damage that goes unnoticed for several days, your insurer could refuse to cover the costs if no one was looking in on the house.

For longer absences
If you are away for more than 30 days your home is considered "unoccupied" because you plan to return. In this case you should contact us to determine whether you will need to inform your insurer and obtain a special permit to leave the house empty. You will still need to arrange regular checks on the property, and you might want to consider draining water pipes and installing a good security alarm.

If the property is empty
A fully vacant property is one with no occupants and no contents. This may occur if a house sale is delayed and the property remains vacant until sold. In this case you may need to obtain a vacancy permit from your insurer. This permit will maintain most of your coverage, except for risks associated with vacancy such as broken water pipes, broken glass or vandalism. These permits can be obtained for up to three months.

Personal items covered by your home, condo or tenants insurance are usually also covered when they are temporarily away from these locations, for example, when you are travelling subject to policy exclusions and limits. Items belonging to a dependent temporarily living outside your home to attend school, for example, may also be covered (up to a limit). Contact your Rhodes & Williams professional to discuss how your policy addresses your particular situation. Other items such as those used for a home business, however, will require additional coverage.

What is considered an Act of God?

An act of God is a flood, earthquake or any other accident or event arising purely from natural causes and without human intervention, of such a nature of magnitude that it could not have been foreseen or prevented by reasonable care or foresight. Contrary to popular belief, not all Acts of God are covered in an insurance policy. Speak with your insurance broker at Rhodes & Williams to discuss which Acts of God are covered and which are not.

I'm currently with another insurance broker, but would like to change. Can Rhodes & Williams help me do that?

Yes. One of our insurance brokers will help you transfer over your insurance coverage, review your current needs, and lend you valuable advice when it comes to personal insurance.

Are there benefits in combining my home insurance and my car insurance?

Yes, combining your policies will get you additional discounts on both your car and home insurance. Having all your insurance policies with one broker is also the most convenient way to look after your insurance policy changes and the best way to avoid coverage gaps.

Is Earthquake covered under my property insurance?

NO! Earthquake insurance is not covered under a standard homeowner's policy. We buy insurance to protect us in case of disaster, and an earthquake is one of a few potential disasters, that most people actually don't have insurance for. Did you know that there is a "fault line" in Ottawa, and that represents a heightened risk for earthquake?

When is the best time for me to add my child to my insurance policy?

The quick and simple answer is "ASAP".  The car insurance contract with your insurance company states that you will advise your company of any material change, such as another licenced driver in your household.  For this reason, it is best to let your broker know that your child now has their first driver's licence.

That being said, while your child has their G1 licence and is required to drive with an experienced driver, no additional premium is charged.   In order to add your G1 driver you will need to know their driver's licence number and the date they received their G1 licence.  Once your child receives their G2 licence, you will again need to let your broker know that there has been a change.  If your child has completed an accredited driver's training course, you must submit a copy of their driver history (acquired from the MTO) to your broker to ensure the appropriate discounts are applied.  It will show their licence dates and the fact that the course was completed, as well as any driving convictions.  Although adding a G2 driver will generate an additional premium, adding your child to your auto policy will establish an insurance history which may help to reduce their rates once they go off on to their own policy.  As every insurance company will rate your child differently, please contact your broker to ensure proper protection at the best rates.

We were extremely pleased with the speed of their response and later, the speed with which our claim was processed. I would recommend Rhodes and Williams to anyone looking for a broker.

Geri Graham

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