FAQs

Do you have questions but aren’t ready to reach out to us yet? Have a look at our frequently asked questions and see if you can find what you need. If not, please contact us. We’re here to help. We are asked hundreds of questions a day and believe it or not… we love to talk about insurance!

What is errors and omissions insurance?

Errors and omissions insurance is a form of liability insurance which helps protects professional advice. Many professionals carry errors and omissions insurance, often called E&O, to protect themselves from future liability they might be exposed to based on advice they give.

What’s the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value?

The difference between replacement cost and actual cash value is the deduction of depreciation. Actual cash value or ACV, is what you would pay for a similar item at today’s cost minus the depreciation. Replacement cost removes the deduction of depreciation and gives you the full value of the item at today’s cost.

What is co-insurance and how does it work?

Co-insurance is when a policyholder is required to pay a portion of the payment in the event of a claim. It is usually referenced in times when a building, for example, is underinsured. The reason insurance policies contain a co-insurance clause is to encourage a proper valuation is done on the items being insured (i.e. building, contents, stock) and that the item is insured for the appropriate amount. An insurance company wants to know that the premium they’re charging for a risk, is based on a fair and accurate value. If a policyholder chooses to insure for less than the adequate amount, then they are retaining some of the risk themselves. In the event of a claim, the co-insurance clause would apply and the policyholder will be responsible for the proportionate amount that they self-insured.

To illustrate with an example, let’s imagine you have a building worth $1,000,000 but decide to only insure it for $500,000, or half the value. Your insurance premiums will be calculated based on $500,000 so obviously the insurance company is not collecting rates based on the full valuation. They’re only insuring half the value of the building. If you were to suffer a $200,000 loss the insurance company will apply the co-insurance amount and you will be paid half the claim’s value or $100,000. Since you essentially self-insured the other half of the building, you will be responsible for half the claim.

Is cyber covered under my commercial policy?

Each insurance company has their own wording for commercial businesses. Some insurers provide basic cyber coverage. Most companies offer a more complex cyber coverage policy at an additional cost. It’s best to speak with a licensed insurance broker to get the coverage details you require.

What is fleet insurance?

Fleet insurance is coverage for 5 or more fully insured, commercially rated vehicles. The owner of the fleet insurance policy has the convenience of one automobile policy and one renewal date for all of their vehicles.

What is a certificate of insurance?

Certificates of insurance are often used as proof of insurance coverage. The certificate provides confirmation on the coverage limits, named insured, and effective and expiry dates of your insurance policy. As an example, many contractors are required to present a certificate prior to commencing any work. The person who has hired the contract wants to be confident that the contractor has valid insurance inforce. The certificate of insurance will provide confirmation of coverage in force.

What is credit scoring and how does it work?

Many insurance companies use credit scoring to assist in determining the rates of insurance premiums for home insurance policy. When a credit score in ordered by the insurance company, this is a “soft-hit” against your credit score and will not have an impact on your overall credit rating. You are at choice as to whether you want to participate in credit scoring. The information generated from the credit scoring can only be used to help in reducing the premium for your policy. Credit scoring cannot be used to negatively impact your premium or penalize you. Please contact us to confirm if your current provider uses credit scoring when determining your personal property insurance premium and whether you might be eligible for reduced premiums.

Do I need additional coverage if I’m running a business out of my home?

Depending on the type of business you are running out of your home, you may require additional coverage. We will need to know if you have clients coming to your home, what type of business equipment, supplies or product you may keep at your home, the annual income generated from your home based business and the percentage of your home in which the business occupies, or if you have any employees. Generally, you will need to complete a Home Based Business questionnaire to determine your limits of coverage required.

What information do I need to apply for home insurance?

A great place to start is determining the replacement value of your home. If you’re working with a licensed broker, they’ll have the tools and expertise needed to complete a new home evaluation. This can even be completed in about 10-15 minutes and will just require you to answer some questions about your home. You will also be asked about any updates that have been made such as – heating, roof, electrical and plumbing. It’s important that you share any information about prior claims you may have experienced and other details that could impact your insurance such as whether you operate a business out of your home.

We realize it is a lot to consider. Always work with a licensed broker who will take the time to discuss these important details with you and offer you solutions. At Advocate we not only want to know as many details as we can so we can build a custom insurance solution for you but we also work hard to apply as many discounts as we can to help manage your rates.

How do I know what home insurance coverage I need?

There is a lot to consider when you’re purchasing property insurance. Assessing hazards, managing risks, selecting the right insurance company, appraising values, picking coverage and limits. The list goes on. Your home is likely your most expensive asset. Please don’t put it at risk by not having adequate coverage in place. Take the time to work with a licensed broker who will listen to your needs, shop the market and present options so you can make an informed decision. We would consider it a privilege to help you with your home insurance.

How does earthquake coverage work?

Earthquake coverage is not standard coverage on your personal property insurance and must be purchased as separate coverage on your policy. Each insurance company’s rates vary. If you are interested in adding Earthquake coverage to your policy please contact our office to discuss the different rates and coverage limits offered.

What is overland water coverage and how does it work?

Water. Water. Water. We’re hearing a lot about that lately due to an increase in severe weather. If there is a silver lining here it is that the increase in water damage losses have caused the insurance industry to find new ways to protect clients. Many insurance companies have enhanced their policy wording so more coverage is available than in the past. For example, Overland Water is now available. This provides coverage for, “fresh water from rivers and lakes, or water suddenly accumulating from heavy rainfall or spring thaw.” Please recognize that this is not flood coverage.

Please be aware that you have to request this coverage and be eligible to have it added to your policy.

If you want to discuss water coverage options, please contact our office and will be pleased to speak about your needs.

Do I need additional coverage for high value items such as jewellery or artwork?

We want you to be confident that your valuable items are protected. We recommend that they be scheduled on your policy separately and insured to value. Current appraisals are generally required in order to add this coverage to your policy. Please contact us to discuss what options are available to you for scheduling your high value items. We will be happy to prepare a quote for you.

Do I need to inform Advocate if I’m going away on a vacation?

Most insurance policies have a requirement that during the heating season, the dwelling has to be checked on a specified basis. Please call us to discuss, so we can tell you what your insurance company requires as part of their policy.

Why did my insurance premium increase?

There are a number of factors that could cause your insurance premium to increase.   All insurance companies must have their Ontario auto rates approved by the Government regulator, Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO).  Depending on the details of your policy, your rates could go up on renewal when you enter a new policy period.   Or perhaps you’ve made a change to your policy such as –

  • Change the use of the vehicle (i.e. commuting distance)
  • Added/deleted vehicles
  • Added/deleted a driver
  • Suffered a recent claim
  • Amended coverage, limits or deductibles

Always work with a licensed insurance broker who will take the time to review your policy with you and answer any questions you have.

My son/daughter just started driving, do I need to inform Advocate?

G1: As a G1 licensed driver, you are not required to be listed on the auto insurance policy as a driver and there is no premium associated with a G1 driver. However, we always ask that you contact us to advise of newly licensed drivers in the household so we can document your policy accordingly.

G2: You need to contact our office when your child obtains their G2 license. At this point, they are required to be listed as an operator on your policy. Please be sure to obtain a copy of their Driver History Report from Service Ontario if they have completed an approved Driver Training Course. This is required in order to apply for a Driver Training discount on your premium.

G: Please contact our office when you child obtains their full G license so your insurance record can be updated.

What information do I need to apply for auto insurance?

The Ontario Automobile Policy is regulated by the Government, including what information can be used to base your rate on. This includes a number of details about your vehicle and about the individuals driving the vehicle and/or who reside in your home. For example you will need to provide – address, date of birth, date you were licensed, year/make/model/VIN of your vehicle, how your vehicle is used (i.e. commuting to work), annual mileage you drive, and driving record (dates/details of claims, tickets and accidents). This is not an exhaustive list but will give you an idea of the key information required to get auto insurance.

How do I know what auto insurance coverage I need?

Although the Ontario Automobile Policy is a standard policy that is regulated by the government, it is still a very complex product. There are many optional benefits that are available based on your own personal needs. Always work with a licensed insurance broker who will take the time to discuss your options with you and help you make informed decisions.

What happens if I lend someone my vehicle and they get in an accident?

When you lend your vehicle, you also lend your insurance. In the event someone is involved in an accident while using your vehicle, your own policy will apply and your insurance company will respond for the accident. Please remember that depending on the nature of the accident this could impact your insurance record and your insurance rates.

What should I do in the case of a hit and run?

It is important to report this to the police within 48 hours and to have a police report available to share with the insurance company. In hit and run instances, the claim will be considered not at fault if it is reported to the police, but your collision deductible will apply.

Am I covered for items stolen from my vehicle?

Clients are often confused about how this is handled. If the items stolen are permanently attached to your vehicle, for example the stereo system, then it is covered under your auto policy. However if an item like your briefcase, purse or sports equipment is stolen, then you would claim that under your personal property policy (i.e. home or tenant insurance). Limits and deductibles apply so please call us to discuss.

Do I need to inform Advocate if I start driving for a ride sharing program such as Uber?

Yes. How you use your vehicle has an impact on your insurance. Your insurance company will want to know if you use your vehicle for a ride sharing program. Although Uber now has their own fleet policy in place for their employees, some insurance companies have different requirements if you are driving for Uber. It’s always best to check. Let us know if you’d like to discuss how the insurance companies that we work with, handle ride sharing vehicles.

If I’m travelling outside Canada in my vehicle, do I need to inform Advocate?

Your Ontario Automobile Insurance policy will provide coverage while travelling within Canada and the United States. Your insurance company will need to know if your vehicle is outside of Canada for 6 consecutive months.

We recommend that if you are making frequent trips outside of Canada, that you increase your liability limit to ensure you have sufficient coverage in the event of a loss outside of Canada. Many clients are surprised how inexpensive it is to increase their liability limit. Call us today and we will give you a quote.

If my car is in storage, do I still need insurance?

Even if you aren’t driving your vehicle and you have put it into storage, you will want to make sure your car remains protected against things like fire, theft and vandalism. Some companies will also require that your accident benefits coverage remain in force. Our licensed brokers will be happy to talk about options that are available to you.

How can I get a quote?

Please call us at 1-888-278-7584 or submit a form online here.

How do I know what coverage I need?

There are lots of things to consider.  One of the benefits of working with a licensed broker is that they’ll review your needs and walk you through your coverage options.  A broker, unlike an agent or direct writer, works with multiple insurance companies so they can shop the market to find the best option for you.

What is a deductible and how does it impact my premium?

In the event of a claim, your deductible is the amount that you pay before your insurance company steps in to pay the remaining costs (subject to the policy coverage and limits).  Some people prefer a low deductible while some are comfortable being responsible for a higher deductible, knowing that this may lower their premium slightly.  We can provide options to you so you can select what works best for you.

What payment options do you offer?

We work with many insurance companies.  There are often many payment options that include cheque, credit card and automatic withdrawals, made in one pay, installments or monthly payments.  Is there a particular payment plan that works best for you?  Please let us know.

I’ve moved. How do I update my address information?

You can call us at 1-888-278-7584, or submit a contact form here.  Depending on the type of policy you have, we may need to ask you additional questions.  For example, if you’ve moved we may need to change details on your auto policy (i.e. commuting distances) or update your property policy to reflect the details of your new home.  Please remember to keep us up to date on any changes that impact your insurance policy.

How do I cancel my policy?

You can call us at 1-888-278-7584, or submit a contact form here.

How often do I need to renew my policy?

Most policies renew on an annual basis, however if you have unique needs please call us to discuss.

Are the brokers at Advocate licensed?

Yes, all our brokers hold their Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario license which means that they have completed a provincially regulated exam and must fulfill continuing education requirements each year.  Insurance protects your family and assets…don’t put them at risk!  Always deal with a licensed professional.

How do I report a claim?

You can call us at 1-888-278-7584 or submit a claims form here.

What information is required when reporting a claim?

In the event of a claim, you’ll work directly with our Personal Recovery Coordinator (PRC) throughout the claims process.  Want to know more about Advocate’s PRC Advantage? Click here.

When you call to let us know about your claim, our PRC will ask you a series of questions and report your claim to the insurance company.  The questions we ask will depend on whether you’re submitting a claim for your business, vehicle or home.  Some of the questions may include:

  • Policy number(s)
  • Police reports
  • Your contact information
  • Details of the loss
  • Details of any injuries
  • Invoices for expenses that you paid for
  • Receipts for items that were damaged or lost
  • Photos

What’s the difference between a broker, agent and direct writer?

Unlike an agent or direct writer who works for the insurance company, a broker works with multiple insurance companies so they can shop the market for the best coverage and rate options for you.  Advocate is an independent, licensed brokerage which means we work independently from the insurance companies.  We are not influenced to sell you certain products.  We work for you and put your needs first.

Insurance is there to protect your family and assets… don’t put them at risk!  Always deal with a licensed professional who represents your interests, not the insurance company’s.

When will I receive payment for my claim?

You will receive payment for your claim when it is closed and you accept the settlement offered by the insurance company.  It is difficult to provide an exact timeline. Many claims are straightforward and clients are reimbursed quickly, while others can be complex in investigating the loss and assigning a value.  Remember…the Advocate Personal Recovery Co-ordinator will be with you each step of the way during your claim and can keep you informed of the timeline.

In the event of a claim, am I required to use one of the vendors that you recommend?

You do not have to use one of the recommended vendors.  You are at choice!  Insurance Companies do like to recommend vendors that they’ve had positive experiences with, who offer both a competitive price and excellent workmanship.   Often, insurance companies are so confident in their recommended vendors that they’re willing to stand by the work done by them.  If you’d like to select your own however, you are entitled to do that but the insurance company cannot vouch for the work they provide to you.  Advocate’s Personal Recovery Co-ordinator can speak with you about your options and help you select the choice that works best for you.

Why was my claim denied?

Insurance is a contract, outlining coverage that is and is not provided.  It would be cost prohibitive for someone to purchase a policy that covers every possible loss.   Insurance is about risk management.  Determining the items one will look after themselves (self-insuring) and the items that will be transferred to an insurance company.   If your claim was denied it was likely caused by an uninsured peril.  Let’s talk.  Our team of licensed brokers will be happy to discuss the details with you.

What impact will my claim have on my premium?

Some claims have no impact on your insurance premiums, while others will have an impact on your next renewal.   Remember that we have a Personal Recovery Coordinator who will assist you during your claim.  Our team will be pleased to talk with you about how your policy and/or your premiums may be impacted by your claim.

What service will you provide in the event that I have a claim?

Our Personal Recovery Coordinator’s (PRC) role is to assist you in the event you have a claim.   Many brokers, after a claim has been reported, will introduce the client to the insurance company adjuster and then step away.  Not Advocate!  We recognize that having a claim is stressful and that you will have many questions.  Our PRC is with you each step of the way to answer your questions and discuss your options.  You won’t have to navigate a claim on your own…we’re here for you!

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