Question & Answer

Home and Personal

Question:

Why should I choose Affinity Insurance Services as my broker partner?

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Our entire team understands that insurance is who we are and what we do. We have knowledgeable, experienced, professional brokers that understand that insurance doesn’t always feel important until you require it.
 
Let our professionals ask you the questions that are important, in an easy, fast and friendly review, putting a plan in place prior to any unforeseen mishaps. Our Affinity team is always excited to provide you a free review of your existing, new or renewal policy and, most importantly, stand beside you through the claims process as an advocate for you. Most people feel that claims, contractors and insurance companies sometimes speak a different language. We promise to communicate with you in a clear and easy language, to provide remarkable service with the best options, and the best prices and to be your partner when you require us the most.

Affinity Insurance has locations across Saskatchewan which has served to make us the number one insurance brokerage in Saskatchewan. We invite you to choose us and compare what we have to offer against any other insurance brokerage in Saskatchewan. Taking care of what’s important is our policy.

Question:

How do I start a claim?

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Start by contacting the office where your policy is located. They will be able to explain the claims process and contact the company to have an adjuster assigned. If this is an auto claim, you can set up an online claim with SGI at sgi.sk.ca, call the nearest SGI claim center or call the office where your policy is located.

Question:

If I change insurance carriers OR brokers, do I lose my claims free coverage?

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When a customer decides to change insurance companies or brokers they will not lose their claims free discount as long as there is no lapse in coverage. The new carrier or broker may ask the customer to provide them a copy of their old policy to ensure that the insurance was continuous and that they were eligible for the claims free discount prior.

Question:

Are there benefits from staying with the same carrier for years? Are claims handled the same way for new and long term customers?

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Loyalty with an insurance carrier is not all that different than loyalty in a friendship. If you have been with an insurance carrier for many years and have a claim that falls into a grey area, the insurance carrier  may consider your past claims history, and loyalty to determine if the questionable claim can be brought into the scope of the policy. If you have recently switched carriers, the relationship is new and it is possible the new carrier may be less forgiving. Like all friendships, though, you should periodically evaluate the costs and rewards of your insurance carrier relationship. If your current carrier no longer meets your needs or  substantially increases your premiums, it may be a good time to review the options provided by your Affinity Insurance broker.

Question:

I bought comprehensive insurance, is my home covered while on vacation?

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Each insurance company has strict and specific directions for the homeowner  when leaving on vacation, when your home becomes unoccupied, or vacant. The time of season, length of time and type of home you occupy will also impact what is required by your insurance company while on vacation. We strongly recommended to contact your Affinity Insurance broker to find out the requirements of your insurance company. The following explanation is meant to provide a general theme that is expressed by most insurance providers:
 
Most home insurance policies exclude losses or damage resulting from water escape, rupture or bursting of pipe or container (such as hot water tank, toilet, or appliance), due to freezing if you are away from home for a specific time period. The policy will include ways to overcome this exclusion if certain actions before loss occur such as:
 ·         drain all the pipes and, shut the water off or
 ·         have someone checking your home as stated in your policy or
 ·         have a 24 hour central monitored security system professionally installed in your home, which includes sensors for low temperatures in your home.

Question:

I bought my house for less money than what my broker is suggesting I need to insure it for. Why do I need to insure it for a higher limit than I paid?

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The purchase price of most homes reflects the market value of that home. Market value is calculated by obtaining prices of other homes of a similar build, age and condition in your area and determining how your home compares with these homes. Market value can also be affected based on the local economy in your community and the ease of selling your home.

When you insure your home, the limit of coverage chosen should be based on the worst possible scenario, a complete rebuild. This limit of insurance calculated by your broker will  include the cost to hire a general contractor who may be required to too clean up the debris, replace your yard to the pre damaged condition and of course to rebuild your home with new like kind and quality materials.

 ·         If you allow the insurance provider to use a limit of coverage equal to 100% of the cost to rebuild, in most circumstances any additional costs associated with the build may be absorbed by the insurance company. Discuss adding Guaranteed Replacement Cost coverage with your Affinity Insurance broker.

 ·         If a property owner chooses to insure for less than the amount required for replacement cost, the property owner is essentially agreeing to retain part of the risk rather than transferring it to the insurance company. He or she then becomes a ‘co-insurer’ and will share the loss with the insurance company according to a simple calculation.

Example of Coinsurance:

If you insure to $360,000 but total replacement value is $450,000 and experience a $80,000 loss

$360,000 Insured value / $450,000 Replacement value x $80,000 (loss) = $64,000 less deductible is paid out.

Question:

I rent out a room in my basement, am I covered if my tenant burns down my house?

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You must check with the local bylaw and building code requirements of your area to ensure you are abiding by these requirements before renting out rooms in your home. You cannot insurer something that is illegal or infringes on any civic authority, bylaw or ordinance.

The insurance company will need to know if you rent a room or suite in your home as it will affect the premium and acceptance by the insurance company. Insurance companies assess that there is a higher potential for losses having more than one family or other occupant renting space in your home.  Also, a rental agreement/lease is a separate contract that falls outside of the normal provisions of your policy and if not brought to the attention of your insurance company will compromise coverage on your policy. Your policy can be modified to add this additional coverage and must be approved by your insurer before the tenant accidentally burns down your house.

Please note that your insurance company may take action against your tenant for the losses they cause;  if their actions are considered to be legally liable or negligent for starting a fire. Your insurance company has the right to request the tenant pay back the insurance company for any expenses that they paid on your behalf.

For this reason we recommend that all landlords include in their lease agreement that the tenant is required to obtain a tenant insurance policy for their personal contents and personal liability exposure and provide copy of their tenant policy to the landlord each year. The home owner insurance policy does not provide coverage for your tenants personal belongings and or the tenants personal liability. We invite you to share your lease agreement with our Affinity Insurance brokers so we may provide further direction to limit the use of your insurance policy.

Question:

If my tenant has a guest that slips on my sidewalk am I covered?

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If your policy indicates that you have a rented suite or space in your home, your policy will protect and defend you if a tenant’s guest slips on your sidewalk while visiting. It is important that your policy be modified to ensure liability coverage is extended to a rented room in your home. Your policy will not provide any coverage for your tenant if they are also named in loss suit; your tenant would need to have their own tenant insurance policy to cover this exposure. The adjuster will investigate and determine what action will be deemed necessary to protect you in the course of this action.

Contact an Affinity Insurance broker today to discuss how these potential losses can be covered using your insurance policy.

Question:

My replacement cost on my house seems high /low should I contact my agency to correct this?

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A phone call or visit to your broker/agency is always welcomed to discuss your insurance policy; especially if you have concerns or questions about any coverages. You may have completed some renovations or perhaps building costs have changed.  We can update the 'home evaluation' calculator that determines what the replacement/rebuilding cost should be and bring options forward.

Question:

What is guaranteed replacement cost?

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Guaranteed Replacement Cost provides coverage to repair or replace your dwelling regardless of the amount of insurance shown on the cover page of your policy.

Question:

If I have multiple claims how will this impact my policy?

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Multiple claims may have a big impact on your premium and/or result in an insurance company assessing higher deductibles on certain segments of the policy. In severe cases, the company may not offer you a renewal. Your number of years as a client of the insurance company, combined with the number and frequency of claims will factor in the decision.

Question:

Does the frequency of claims or amount claimed impact my policy?

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The frequency of claims will have a larger impact than the amount claimed.

If a client is with a company for a year or two and then has a $75,000 water damage claim, their rate the following year would be the same as if they had a $3,000 theft claim. If a client has three small losses in five years totaling $12,000 their premium would be much higher than if they had one $200,000 fire claim.

Question:

I have heard that my premium will go up for years if I have a claim, in general terms how much will it cost me?

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In most cases you will lose your claims free discount for three years. This is typically a percentage of the premium. Your broker can give you an estimate of how much this would be. However, any future claims can impact how much your policy would go up in subsequent years.

Question:

What happens if a loss occurs shortly after I re-write my policy with a new insurance company?

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If a loss occurs shortly after you re-write your policy with a new insurance company, the claims process should be similar to that of your previous company. Insurance carriers understand that most claims are accidental or out of the control of the home owner and the date of loss should not impact the accessibility of using your policy as long as the claim falls within the effective and expiry dates of your policy.

In certain situations your previous policy will bridge the gap from one policy to another.  For example:

When your home has sold and you are moving contents to a new location, you may no longer own your previous home and have not taken possession of your new home.  In most situations your existing policy will provide coverage for a specific time while your contents are in storage or on route to your new home. We invite you discuss the details and options with your Affinity Insurance broker.