London Drugs Insurance

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What to do if your home has been flooded


Cleaning up your home after a flood can be a lengthy and traumatic experience. Here are some practical tips on how to restore your home.

  1. Check for structural damage before entering a building. If you see damage, have a qualified person check the building before you enter
  2. Once you are certain that the building is safe to enter, make sure the gas, electricity and any fuel taps are turned off
  3. Do NOT touch electrical wires, appliances or devices
  4. Separate damaged property from undamaged property, and prepare an inventory of what has been lost or damaged
  5. Take photographs of damaged property
  6. Contact your insurance broker
  7. Keep receipts for any cleanup costs incurred (i.e. shop vac, rentals, cleaning supplies). 

London Drugs insurance customers who would like to make a claim are invited to call 1-800-681-6677 or you can file your claim online.


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Monday, July 22, 2013

5 Questions to ask your Insurance Broker

The right coverage will protect you and your home from sudden, accidental or unpredictable events 

As the cleanup continues for thousands of people in southern Alberta after devastating flooding in the area, The Insurance Services Department of London Drugs is offering advice about protecting yourself and your property from future flood risks.

“Many people don’t fully understand their insurance coverage. They know they are required to have it but the important questions are usually triggered by unexpected and often distressing events – like the flooding in Alberta,” says Andrew Beaumont, Business Manager, Insurance Services and Warranty at London Drugs.

To be proactive about your insurance, Beaumont recommends asking your broker the following questions either at the time of purchase or at renewal:

1) What kind of coverage do I have for water damage?
The Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates that 39 per cent of Canadians believe that their home insurance covers them for damage caused by flooding due to spring run-off. They’re mistaken. In Canada, property insurance does not include damage caused by water that comes in through doors and windows - known as “overland flooding”.

Water damage caused by the sudden bursting of plumbing pipes is covered by home insurance policies. Other water damage due to a sewer backup is also covered but only when specific sewer backup coverage has been purchased. This coverage is not mandatory, so check with your broker.

Why isn’t flooding covered in home insurance policies?

Predictable or preventable events are considered “uninsurable perils” and are not covered by any insurance policies. Damage caused by melting or moving snow is considered predictable, so it is an uninsurable peril.

2) What exactly is my home insurance covering?
All comprehensive home insurance policies are very similar – they are meant to cover the financial consequences of sudden, accidental or unexpected events. There are differences from one company to another and from one policy to the next, so it pays to ask questions to find out the specifics of your policy. Many of the differences relate to coverage limits, claims process, coverage offering and insurability of the risk.

For example, coverage limits for valuables will differ from policy to policy and this could have substantial impact on consumers if they have large amounts of expensive jewellery. Another difference could be the earthquake deductible and pricing. The intended use of the property can also impact coverage. Some insurers will accept home based business while others will not.

Finally, if you rent out a basement suite or a room, it is important to know the differences in your coverage and the responsibilities you have as the policyholder when this happens.

3) What damage could occur to my property that won’t be covered unless I opt for additional coverage?
Are you covered in an earthquake? What about a wind storm? What if a burglar or vandal causes damage to your home? Being aware of worst-case scenarios and fully disclosing the intended use of the property can help you understand how your policy will protect you in distressing times and ensure you get the right coverage

For example, if you are away from your home for 30 consecutive days without arranging for someone to check your home daily, damage arising from the freezing and bursting of indoor plumbing is not covered. Being aware of important exclusions will help you take the necessary precautions.

4) Is there optional coverage available for damage not covered by my home insurance policy?While losses that are predictable or inevitable are typically not covered by insurance, there are some optional coverage options to consider. For example, if you are worried about water damage from rainstorms, you might consider sewer backup coverage. If you are concerned about expensive items in your home being under-insured, you might purchase additional insurance that can reduce your deductible and insure your valuables correctly. Ask your broker which optional coverage you many need. Remember it is imperative that you disclose the intended use and risk factors to your broker so they can properly insure you with the right insurance company.

5) What services and benefits does my insurance broker provide when it comes to making a claim?
Brokers serve as your advocate in dealing with the insurance company. That’s why it is so important to work with a brokerage that has the expertise, experience and, most importantly, the resources to assist you quickly. Ask for an outline of the claims process. Is it streamlined? Is there an online claim service? If a disaster or emergency ever occurs, you want to be sure they will be responsive and empathetic to your needs.


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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

7 things to consider when you buy travel insurance

While it's not as exciting as choosing your hotel, or deciding which excursions you want to add on to your holiday, making sure you have adequate travel insurance for yourself and your family may be the most important decision you make.

Credit cards and travel agents offer insurance packages, but it's important to have a thorough discussion about where you're travelling to and what you're planning to do, to make sure you have the right coverages in place. Here are 7 reasons why you should purchase separate travel insurance:

1) Anytime, anywhere coverage—Not just your flight, not just a hospital stay…travel insurance protects you on your trip at any time and at any place. This includes medical and family emergencies, travel delays or theft.

2) Provincial health care only goes so far—The provincial government health care plan provides only limited coverage for medical treatment and hospital costs outside of Canada—ambulance services, emergency dental treatment and prescription drugs may not be covered by some provincial health insurance plans.

3) High-risk activities—There's nothing better than learning something new while on holiday, like scuba diving in Hawaii. But check your policy before you book that lesson, or agree to learn from your new friend you met at the beach. Some activities won't be covered unless they're conducted by a company accredited by a known organization in that sport.

4) Medication change—If you've had a prescription change for a medical condition—either increased, decreased, started or stopped—an insurer will consider you to have an "unstable medical condition" for which your treatment is changing. Consult the fine print for the time period after which the insurer will cover you for travel.

5) Destination coverage—Many destinations are experiencing political upheaval. Check the policy to discover what the guidelines are for determining if your destination falls into that category.

6) Unstable medical condition—Policies may not cover a traveller if they are travelling within a certain time period between a medical event, such as having chemotherapy treatment or heart surgery.

7) Rental car protection—If you'll be renting a car at your destination, you want to make sure the vehicle, your belongings and all passengers have adequate coverage.

Vacations can be expensive—not only do you want to protect your health, you want to protect the investment you're making in your holiday. You can speak with one of our advisors at London Drugs Insurance Services to make sure you've considered every contingency, and can have complete peace of mind for your vacation. Visit LD Insurance at http://www.ldinsurance.ca/insurance.aspx#travel to get started!



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Friday, January 27, 2012

Surprising (and little known) exclusions in many travel insurance policies

So you read our blog post from Nov. 25th and you understand the need for travel insurance, but what you may not know is that your policy may not cover you in all situations. For example, are you covered if you’re injured while scuba diving or bungee-jumping? Can you be reimbursed for that elective dental work or surgery you have planned? People are often surprised by some of the things they assume will be covered, but actually aren’t.
  • One of the biggest surprises tends to be the alcohol, drugs or medication exclusion - if you happen to have a few too many drinks, stumble off a curb and break your ankle, your hospital costs will probably not be covered. Specifically, the wording states that there will be no payment for injury directly or indirectly caused by an insured person’s abuse of or intoxication due to the above substances.
  • And what if you’re injured while scuba-diving – does your insurance cover you? Well, it depends. If you’ve been properly trained and are certified by an internationally recognized and accepted program (like NAUI or PADI), then you most likely will be covered. If you’re not certified though, don’t count on having any related medical costs paid for by your travel medical insurance. 
I’ll touch on bungee-jumping and other scenarios in the next article. Any other specific situations you’re wondering about? Leave a comment below and we’ll respond in future posts. Stay tuned for more in this series...

Written by Derek F.
Insurance Services Manager, New Westminster London Drugs


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Thursday, January 5, 2012

The real cost of saying 'No'

I sell a product that most of my clients won’t use. Every day I take money from people in exchange for a promise from me and the companies I represent – a promise of restoration – basically that if you experience a financial setback under certain circumstances you will be restored to the financial position you were in before that disaster occurred (stick with me here, it gets more interesting).

The majority of people who turn their hard-earned money over to me in exchange for this promise never experience such a loss. Think about that. They pay but get no material object or physical property in return. So, when people pay for years and years and seemingly get nothing for it, some become embittered about the insurance transaction and the industry in general, and begin complaining about how much they’re paying.

I completely understand this by the way. I mean, I’d rather pay $100 for something I’m not going to use rather than $200, if I’m forced to buy it at all.

So what happens? People search out the cheapest coverage they can find. The decision to buy becomes based solely on whose price is the lowest. Often, the differences only become evident when it comes time to make a claim. Have you ever had to make a home insurance claim? Ever had your home damaged and discovered you did not have sufficient coverage?

Imagine for a second this scenario – your sewer backs up and there’s three inches of black water in your recently re-finished basement. You submit a claim only to find out that you’re not covered for this because you opted to save the $10 premium.

Or, let’s go future-tense here – The Big One is coming, we all know it. You decide that $40 per year is too much to pay for earthquake coverage for your condo or tenants package. Guess what happens when there’s a 7.0 nearby and your house starts rocking? All those broken dishes, toppled LCD and Plasma TV screens, smashed bookcases – none of it will be covered by your insurance policy.

If you’re a home owner and see cracks in the walls and ceilings, broken pipes etc., you’ll be concerned with the possibility of structural damage to your home. Again, if no earthquake coverage was paid for there will be no money from the insurance company to pay for these repairs. (Earthquake coverage for homeowner policies does cost more, depending on home values).

Bottom line (though it’s a tired cliché), you get what you pay for. That doesn’t mean you need to get the most expensive policy you can find either. You just need to make sure you know where the gaps in your coverage are and consider the effects of declining the coverages that would fill those gaps. (My Dad used to remind me all the time that you can choose your actions, but you can’t choose the consequences of those actions – discuss).

So. Now what?

You’re not an ‘Insurance Professional’ and may not know where to start or who to trust. Maybe you’ve put off the idea of home insurance because you think insurance companies just want your money and never actually pay out claims.

Or maybe you’re like I was before I ever bought a policy of my own - I found the whole application process overwhelming so I kept procrastinating, congratulating myself at the end of every month that went by and I’d kept that premium in my pocket. Each day that passed without disaster occurring enabled that once-pressing need for insurance to quietly fade into the background…

That works for a while - until your best friend’s mom loses her house in a fire. Or you hear a story about a relative who didn’t have insurance and had their dishwasher flood their kitchen and damage the neighbour’s place downstairs. The majority of first-time applicants that I see are either those who are buying their first condo, or individuals who’ve heard too-close-to-home stories of financial hardship caused when someone they love didn’t have adequate insurance. All of a sudden it becomes much easier to visualize ourselves in the same predicament.

Once you’ve made the decision to get started, don’t just walk into an insurance agency and HOPE the person behind the counter knows what they’re doing. I can tell you this sad-but-true fact: not all insurance agents are capable of correctly issuing a home insurance policy.

Find someone with a demonstrated ability to ask the right questions, explain the coverage in a manner you understand, provide the right information and arrange the proper coverage. You want to leave their office feeling like, “Wow, that person really knows what they’re doing – that was a great experience.”

How do you find that individual? Talk to your friends and do some research. Ask people you trust about their experiences, read up on the industry and do some homework. Don’t give up because it seems like too much work – it’s too important a subject to ignore. Losses like this do happen every day, and you can’t arrange for insurance after you experience a loss.

If you’re ready to begin having this conversation now, contact me at dfeswick@londondrugs.com for an explanation of our process, and to find out how much it might cost to insure your home.

Written by Derek F
Insurance Services Manager, New Westminster London Drugs


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