Car Tune-Up Checklist for the Winter

Car Tune-Up Checklist for the Winter

The side of the road is no place to be stuck during winter’s frigid temperatures. To keep your car humming right along, it is best to schedule a winter tune-up with an auto mechanic you trust.

The checklist below outlines the key areas your mechanic should inspect to detect any problems that might leave you out in the cold.

Slick, icy roads are even more dangerous when your brakes are uneven. Your mechanic should check them to make sure they are equalised and not pulling to one side.

Cooling System
Your cooling system should be flushed every few years with an effective chemical cleaner and filled with new anti-freeze. At this time, your mechanic should also check the system’s belts, hoses, containers, pressure caps and thermostat.

Your car battery is not a fan of cold weather. If you’ve had the same battery for a few winters, have it checked and ensure the connections are tight, clean and corrosion-free.

Having your mechanic perform a pre-winter diagnostic check on your engine is a smart investment that will help ensure your car starts when you want it to. Before winter is also the perfect time to get a tune-up if your maintenance schedule calls for one. Either of these services will detect faulty spark plugs, pressure leaks, wiring issues, or other engine concerns that could be problematic down the road.

Exhaust System
Carbon monoxide leaks are even more troublesome in the winter when you keep your car windows closed. Have your mechanic check your muffler and tail pipes for issues.

Heaters, Defrosters and Wipers
A clear view of traffic is essential when the weather is bad. Have your mechanic inspect your wipers, windshield, defrosters and heaters for proper functioning. This is also the perfect time to buy winter wiper blades and cold-weather washer fluid.

Oil and filters
Dirty oil and filters are no way to start the winter season. Get an oil change and replace any worn filters including oil, air, fuel and transmission.

Improve your car’s traction in the snow by installing winter tires on all four wheels. Also remember to check your tire pressure regularly throughout the winter. Whenever the temperature decreases by 5⁰ C, your tire pressure will go down one pound.


  • Be prepared for tricky weather conditions by traveling with the following equipment:
  • Battery jumper cables
  • Snow brush and windshield scraper
  • Lightweight shovel
  • Wire traction mat or bag of sand
  • Inflated spare tire
  • Wheel wrench and jack
  • Flashlight and flares
  • Blanket
  • Candles/lighter/matches
  • Emergency snacks
  • Insulated winter boots
  • Hat and warm clothes
  • Large box of facial tissues
  • First aid kit
  • Small heating cans


  • Winter calls for defensive driving. Take extra caution in the following ways:
  • Remove snow and ice from your car before driving
  • Give yourself more time to travel
  • Be ready to respond to icy roads
  • Look out for unsafe drivers
  • Allow more space between your car and others

When the temperature drops to -20⁰C (-4⁰F), use a block heater to keep your engine oil and coolant warm. This helps your car start easily and can improve your fuel economy by 10 percent. A timer will help you switch on the block heater two hours before you expect to drive.

My Driving Discount™: The Smart Road to Savings!

My Driving Discount™: The Smart Road to Savings!

We’re pleased to announce the launch of the my Driving Discount™ program:  the smart road to savings!

Some people have better driving habits than others. The program rewards good driving behaviour.


The my Driving Discount™ program is available exclusively to clients insured through Intact Insurance.

With my Driving Discount™ , you could save up to 25%* off your car insurance premium. Enrolling is quick and easy and you’ll automatically get a 5% … 10% discount when you sign up.

How Does it Work?

Contact us online or call our office at 416-255-3728 to sign up. Once enrolled, you will receive your device in the mail.


Simply plug this into your car and it will record your driving behaviour including:

  • braking,
  • acceleration
  • and time of day you drive.

The reported data is used to calculate a personalized discount of up to 25% off your car insurance premium. Once you complete your initial assessment period (minimum of 180 days) your earned discount will be applied to your policy at your next renewal.  But that’s not all ….

You’ll also be able to view your driving data and your potential discount on your own personalized website.

Key Benefits:

  • Save immediately! Get a 5% … 10% enrollment discount just for signing up
  • Earn up to 25% discount at renewal (minimum of 180 days monitoring required)
  • Customized car insurance premium that reflects the way you drive
  • Nothing to lose, your premium won’t increase based on the data collected
  • Personalized website that shows your driving behaviour and discounts
  •  Small, easy to install device

The my Driving Discount™ program is available exclusively to clients insured through Intact Insurance.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What factors are taken into consideration when calculating my potential discount?

my Driving Discount™ could reward you with a personalized discount by assessing the time of day that you drive, along with your acceleration and braking, based on the kilometres driven.

braking Hard Braking:  Hard braking increases the risk of being involved in an accident. The program therefore calculates the ratio of hard braking events on total km driven to determine your personalized hard braking factor. A hard braking event is defined as any decrease of speed of 12 km/h or more in less than 1 second.

acceleratingRapid Accelerating: Rapid accelerations increase the risk of being involved in an accident. The program therefore calculates the ratio of rapid acceleration events on total km driven to determine your personalized rapid acceleration factor. A rapid acceleration is defined as any increase of speed of 12 km/h or more in less than 1 second.

timeOfDayTime of day:  Driving at night (between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m.) increases the risk of being involved in an accident. Many elements, such as reduced visibility and fatigue, make this time of day the riskiest. The program therefore evaluates the time of day that you’re driving to determine your personalized high-risk period factor. The less you drive at night the more you could save.

2. When will I receive my personalized discount?

If you are eligible for a personalized discount, your premium will be adjusted at renewal upon the completion of your assessment period.

3. How long is my assessment period?

Your initial assessment period is for a minimum of 180 days from when you install your device and start driving.

If the assessment period cannot be completed prior to when your renewal is issued (not the effective date of the renewal) , then the renewal will be issued with your 5% enrollment discount. The personalized discount will be applied upon the subsequent renewal.

4. How long will my personalized discount apply?

Your personalized discount is not static and is subject to change upon each successive renewal of your policy. All successive discounts will be calculated based on the previous 12 months of data collected to assess your driving habits.

5. If I have to brake hard to avoid an accident, will that reduce my discount?

We look for the frequency of events and regular driving behaviours. We know that even the best drivers have to brake hard occasionally. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that if you brake hard once, your discount will be reduced.

The most important thing is your safety. If you need to hard brake to avoid an accident, make sure you do!

6. Can my premium go up because of my driving habits?

No, your premium will not increase as a result of the data used to calculate your discount (time of day you drive, braking, and acceleration). For complete details on how your data is used, please refer to the Terms of Use.

7. What happens if I have an accident while using the my Driving Discount device?

Accidents are not taken into consideration when calculating your potential personalized discount.

However, this may nevertheless have an impact on your insurance premium as per our standard practices If you have questions about your policy or premium, please contact us.

8. How is my driving data used?

The collected driving data will be used to determine your eligibility and potential discount following your assessment period.

We may also analyze the collected driving data to ensure consistency with your policy, and you may be contacted by your broker to see if you wish to discuss your policy further.

9. Can I change my mind and opt out of the program? If so, will my insurance policy be cancelled?

Yes. You may opt out at any time.

Your insurance policy will NOT be cancelled even if you opt out of my Driving Discount program. The program is optional. Please contact us if you have any questions.

10. Can multiple principal drivers on the same policy enrol in the my Driving Discount program?

Yes. Every principal driver on the policy can enrol if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Sign Up for my Driving Discount™ and start saving today


[hr]*Certain conditions, limitations and exclusions apply.
® Intact Insurance small straight lines design is a registered trademark of Intact Financial Corporation.
TM my Driving Discount is a trademark of Intact Insurance Company. © 2014, Intact Insurance Company. All rights reserved.
Business Interrupted. Now What?

Business Interrupted. Now What?


In this situation, your property policy pays to repair the building and replace your contents.

Your business losses (loss of income) are covered depending on the type of Business Interruption Insurance you’ve chosen.

If you have Gross Profits Insurance, your loss of income is paid while closed for repairs and while you rebuild your business to its original level, up to the limit of coverage.

On the other hand, Gross Earnings Insurance only covers the income lost during the time required to repair the premises.

If you own rental income property, you also have two choices for Business Interruption Insurance.

Gross Rentals Insurance acts on the same basis as Gross Profit Insurance. If your apartment building suffered a fire, your Gross Rentals Insurance will pay for the loss of income during the repair period and for lost income during the time it take to rent all of the damaged apartments up to the limit of coverage.

Whether your business is retail, restaurant, manufacturing or rental properties, we can offer the appropriate Business Interruption Insurance to protect you from loss of income. Call us to get started.

Cell Phones and Technology Gadgets

Cell Phones and Technology Gadgets


Smart Drivers Just Drive!

When driving a vehicle, road safety is your first responsibility! It is important to focus on driving and reduce driver distractions.


Using either a hand-held or hands-free cell phone while driving makes it four times more likely that you will be involved in a collision. In fact, using a cell phone affects what a driver sees, reduces reaction time and changes the way drivers react—especially in heavy traffic.

Driving for work and using a phone? Motor vehicle collisions are the greatest single cause of traumatic workplace deaths in Ontario.

Remember, smart drivers just drive! In three seconds, driving sixty kilometres per hour, you travel fifty metres—that’s the distance across half a football field. A momentary distraction can result in death or serious injury.


  • Plan for safe locations to stop (for example, rest stops or commuter lots) to make and receive calls.
  • Before you start driving turn off your cellular phone.
  • Allow calls to go to voice mail or allow a passenger to make and receive calls.
  • Consider recording an outgoing voice message that lets callers know you are on the road


Having a cellular phone in your vehicle can be an important safety aid for drivers and passengers—whether for personal safety or for reporting a crime or a collision. If you must use your cell phone in an emergency—a situation that could result in a danger to your safety or the safety of others if it is not corrected without delay—consider the following tips:

  • Pull over safely if conditions allow.
  • Keep emergency calls as brief as possible.
  • Alert the caller that you are on the road.

End conversations immediately if driving conditions or situations become hazardous (for example, inclement weather, roadway construction, high-speed or high-volume traffic).

Remember, focus on the task of driving, with your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. Reduce the distractions that may cause you to overreact or respond too slowly to a situation.

Buying a Car in the US?

Buying a Car in the US?


Cross-border car buyers often overlook the process to get proper insurance. Many assume it is no different then if they had purchased the vehicle in Ontario.

Unfortunately this is not the case.

To insure a vehicle in Ontario, it must first be registered with the Ministry of Transportation. When you buy a vehicle within the Province, this is usually already done. When you purchase a vehicle in the US, the process is more involved.

Unless you are a professional, you cannot register a vehicle in Ontario until it has been delivered, certified and updated to meet Ontario Standards. This process often involves moving the vehicle between a variety of places. This cannot happen without the vehicle being insured. But remember, without registration, you can’t get insurance.

Even though your automobile policy provides automatic coverage for any newly acquired vehicle for up to 14 days, some terms, conditions and coverage limitations could leave you vulnerable to a loss.

Given all that needs to be done to get a U.S. vehicle on the road in Ontario, 14 days is likely not enough time. Since there is no standard policy extending coverage beyond the 14-day allowance – all carriers deal with this issue differently – this provision should not be used if it can be avoided.

Your best option is to contact us before making a U.S. vehicle purchase. In most cases, we will make sure you are adequately covered before taking delivery of the vehicle. As insurance experts, we’ll take the time to explain your options and ensure the appropriate amendments are made to your policy.