Why Are My Premiums So High?

Why Are My Premiums So High?

This question seems to come up each year and around the same time…at renewal!

The goal of this article is to assist you in having a better understanding of what goes into determining premiums for personal lines policies, like automobile and property risks.

Because there are different factors between automobile and property, let’s break this topic into two sections.


Factors and trends used to form automobile rates are:

  •  Territory or Where the vehicle is most often used;
  • Age of drivers in the household;
  • Number of vehicles compared to number of drivers in the household;
  • If the driver is under 25 years of age, the age and sex are determining factors;
  • Claims (the number of ‘claims free’ years differs by each insurance company’s criteria);
  • Convictions in the past three years;
  • Use of the vehicle (commute to work, pleasure use only, business use);
  • Make, model and age of the vehicle(s);
  • Coverages you have chosen (Liability, Collision, Comprehensive and Endorsements).

Depending on your insurer’s offerings, there are numerous discounts that can be applied. It is always important to ask your broker to review all the discounts available to you.


Factors and trends used to determine property rates are:

  • Territory or where your home, condo or apartment is located;
  • Distance to a fire hall and fire hydrant;
  • Building materials of the dwelling (concrete, frame, brick etc.);
  • Use of dwelling (strictly personal use or partial business use);
  • Unique features within the dwelling (custom finishing versus builder’s grade);
  • Floor, ceiling and wall finishing (plaster versus drywall);
  • Claims (the number of ‘claims free’ years differs by each insurance company’s criteria);
  • Style of dwelling (two story, split level or high rise versus triplex or townhouse);
  • Coverages you have chosen (all risk coverage versus named perils coverage and endorsements).

Again, there are many discounts that can be applied. Ask your broker to review all available discounts to you.

There are other factors as well that are completely determined through each insurance company’s system that your broker can look into for your unique risk.

Don’t be afraid to call your independent broker for clarification. As brokers, that’s our commitment to you… to service you and provide sound and educated advice.

GPS Technology Could Help Criminals Rob Your Home

GPS Technology Could Help Criminals Rob Your Home


One recent story involved a car break-in at a local sporting event. The thieves targeted cars in the fan parking lot knowing the owners would be watching the big game. A window was smashed and some money, a portable GPS unit and a remote garage door opener were stolen.

The thieves used the GPS system to guide them to the house. Then they used the remote control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house. Since the thieves knew what time the game was scheduled to finish, they had tome to clean out the house.

Thieves are only interested in what’s quick and easy. If you make it hard for them to break in, they’ll just move on to the next target.


  • If you have a portable GPS system or remote garage door opener, hide them well or take them with you when you leave the car.
  • If your GPS has a key or password lock, use it. If it doesn’t, don’t put your home address in it. Instead program a nearby address (like a store or gas station) so you can still find your way home if you need to, but a thief can’t find out where you live.


  • Lock your doors. Even the best lock can’t protect you if you don’t use them.
  • Be seen and safe. Trim hedges and bushes so your home is visible from the street.
  • Know your neighbours. Neighbours who look out for each other are among the best, and least expensive, defence against crime.
  • Keep it well lit. Make sure all outside entrances-front, back and side-have good lighting so burglars can’t easily hide.

Install a monitored alarm system. An alarm provides great protection against burglary and fire, but only if you use it.

Do You Suffer From Road Rage?

Do You Suffer From Road Rage?



a. fun and relaxing
b. relaxing when I’m alone on the road, but nerve-wracking in city traffic
c. challenging, but dangerous
d. a good place where I can really let loose and express myself
e. a place where I show the rest of the world what a bunch of incompetents they are


a. good
b. great
c. better than most on the road
d. superior
e. I am the best; no one comes close to my skill


a. laugh and continue on your way.
b. drive by and give her a dirty look
c. speed past her and yell “Forget it; It won’t help”
d. speed past give her the finger, yell obscenities
e. same as ‘d’ but also cut in front of her and slam on the brakes

We often joke about Road Rage, but it is a serious problem. Road Rage can result in collisions, assault, altercations, injuries and even death. If people drive responsibly, they can help make our roads safer from road rage. Here are a few tips to help you combat the signs of road rage…

Leave your problems at home or at work … don’t let them consume you while you’re driving.

Plan your route ahead of time so there is little frustration with directions.

Make several stops to re-focus on long drives.

Be courteous in busy intersections.

Don’t get mad or retaliate towards other driver’s mistakes.

Be safe out there…and remember, if you think you’re being followed, don’t drive home-go to the nearest Police station or busy public place.

What are You Using Your Vehicle for? It Matters!

What are You Using Your Vehicle for? It Matters!

You can get sideways with your insurance company because you haven’t been upfront about how you are using your vehicle.

For example, do you drive your car to work?  If so, you will pay more for auto insurance than if you take mass transit. In fact, the further you have to drive to work, the more you will pay.

* Tip. If you drive to work and tell your insurance company you don’t, you have basically committed fraud.  Resist this temptation, even if it might save you a few dollars.

* Example.  Say you have an accident on the way to work. Say, also, that you have told your insurance company you don’t drive to work. Your insurer could technically argue that it is not obligated to provide coverage and you’ve given them a good reason to cancel your policy.

Honesty is the best policy when it comes to insurance. Insurance fraud is a huge problem in North America, and Ontario is no exception; claims are frequently padded with nonexistent damages; accidents are staged and injuries are faked.

* Fact. It is estimated that fraud accounts for as much as 25 cents to 30 cents of every auto insurance premium dollar. Think about that. If even half the auto insurance fraud in in North America were wiped out in the next year, you would pay 12% to 15% less for your next policy.

What Are You Using Your Vehicle For?

Personal Car for Business, Company Car for Personal Use

Do you use your personal car for business?

Do you have access to a company car?

If the answer to either question is yes, you could have potential coverage gaps.

* Example.  Let’s say you use your personal car for business. It’s possible your employer is providing some coverage for you through your employer’s commercial auto policy.   In most cases the coverage is for liability only, and often this commercial auto policy doesn’t even apply until the limits on your personal auto policy are exhausted. (This is what insurance people call “excess” coverage.)

* Tip. You should talk to your employer about what, if any, coverage is available to you through the company’s commercial auto policy. That way, if you have an accident while on company business, you know who (or which insurance company) to call.

If you use your personal car for regular business purposes – trips, visiting clients, etc. – your personal auto policy probably provides enough coverage for these activities. (Assuming you have “enough” coverage to begin with.)

But what if your car is actually a source of revenue? You make deliveries, for example. In that case, you likely need a commercial auto policy as well.

* Note. If you have an accident while delivering a product or using your car as a taxi, your personal auto insurer may deny your claim. Talk to your broker to make sure you have coverage for all the business activities for which you use your car.

What about company cars? They can be an insurance problem, if you use the company car for business and pleasure, particularly if you don’t have a car of your own.

If you don’t have a car, you probably don’t have a personal auto policy. If you don’t have a car (or personal auto coverage) and use a company vehicle for pleasure, you are inviting disaster if you have an accident during a pleasure trip.

* Tip. If you are in this situation, you should have what is called a non-owned personal auto policy.

Such a policy can also come in handy if you don’t have a car and you rent a vehicle on a trip. Your non-owned auto policy will cover you and your rental car if you have an accident. Otherwise, you would probably need to buy coverage from the rental car company, coverage that is very, very expensive.

* Tip. You can have coverage gaps even if you have a personal auto policy and use a company car for pleasure or if your spouse or children use the company car for pleasure. Find out from your employer the extent of coverage that is available for your corporate car. Once you know the extent, talk to your MIB insurance broker about any additional coverage you might need.


Who is Covered When You Buy Auto Insurance?

Who is Covered When You Buy Auto Insurance?

All the coverages in your auto policy apply when you are driving, but they also apply when other people are driving your vehicle.

The coverages are actually for the car, not the person.

* Note.  If someone is going to be a regular user of your car, that person’s name needs to be added to the policy.

Your insurance company wants to know who’s going to be using the car. After all, you could be a great driver with no tickets or accidents, but your spouse, your teenage child, or your reckless cousin could be a lousy driver.

If you let these people drive your car without telling your insurer and these people keep getting in accidents, your insurance company isn’t going to be happy. In fact, they may cancel your policy.

Who is covered under your auto insurance policy?

* Tip.  It’s not wise to risk losing your policy by failing to disclose who’s driving the insured vehicle.  Keep in mind, however, that if you add drivers with lousy records or who haven’t had much driving experience, your premiums will go up.

Any parent of a driving teenager can tell you this; teenagers are notorious for getting tickets and having accidents. They are also very inexperienced drivers.  As such, when your child gets his or her license, your insurance premiums will go up when he or she is added to the policy.  (There are a few exceptions to this … In some cases, your premium will NOT go up when adding a young, inexperienced driver).

This is a complex issue, and you’re better off to contact your MIB broker and tell him/her what your particular situation is.