Have you made major renovations to your kitchen over the past year? Have you transformed your basement into a home theatre, or installed a new Jacuzzi in your backyard? Is anyone new living in your home? Are you now working from home? Do you do home exchanges?
A consumer’s insurance needs may change frequently and these needs will certainly evolve over the years. You, the insured, are in the best position to clearly identify any changes that have occurred during the year. Since some of these changes could have an impact on your coverage, it is important to notify your damage insurance agent or broker, a certified professional who is overseen by the Chambre de l’assurance de dommages (ChAD), the self-regulatory organization that ensures the protection of the public in all matters related to damage insurance and claims adjustment.
THE DATA TELLS THE STORY
Our homes and cars are major investments that are made over the course of a lifetime. It is indispensable to have proper insurance coverage for both, in the event of a loss or an accident. Renovating your home or replacing your car are perfectly normal events. And it should be just as normal to review certain essential questions when changes occur, to ensure that your property continues to be properly insured.
According to a Léger poll conducted in May 20181, 50% of consumers are unaware of any exclusions to their insurance coverage. It is therefore difficult for them to verify whether their coverage actually meets their needs. And it is even more concerning that 57% of insureds said that they do not re-assess the value of their property before renewing their insurance contract, nor do they confirm that their coverage continues to meet their needs.2
10 questions to ask yourself
Although the damage insurance representative has a professional obligation to provide advice, it is the consumer who is in the best position to clearly identify the changes that he has made to his immediate environment during the course of the year and to provide an accurate assessment of his situation at renewal time. This information is essential to the insurance professional; without it, the professional will not be able to provide useful advice and offer the insured an insurance policy that best suits his needs. However, 61% of Quebeckers do not notify their damage insurance representative of any significant changes to their residence, such as major renovations, adopting a dog or purchasing expensive electronic equipment.2
Even changes made many months ago that have almost been forgotten can have a significant impact on our insurance coverage requirements. For instance, if you answer YES to any of the following questions, please contact your representative:
- Have you renovated or made any significant repairs to your home?
- Have you bought anything that would significantly increase the total value of your property, for example:
- Have you bought any computer or multimedia equipment, a camera or video games?
- Have you bought any jewelry, valuable objects, antiques, works of art, an expensive bicycle or a wine cellar?
3. Have you had a pool, spa or sauna installed?
4. Do you have an individual water heater that is over 10 years old or have you had a secondary heating system (wood, gas, oil, etc.) installed?
5. Do you run a professional or commercial business out of your home (or do you telework); or do you keep equipment for your business such as tools, computers, etc. in your home?
6. Have you had an alarm system either installed or deactivated?
7. Have you become the owner of an animal such as a dog, an exotic animal, etc.?
8. Is anyone new living in your home?
9. Do you currently rent or do you intend to rent your home to a third party, including home exchanges and short-term rentals?
10. Are you storing any property outside your home, for example personal items left at a cottage you are temporarily renting out or at a campground?
The ChAD provides consumers with a few checklists containing questions to ask oneself at renewal time.
These handy, easy to use checklists allow consumers to validate their needs and ensure that their property continues to enjoy proper coverage after their insurance contract is renewed.
Read the other renewal notices:
1. Léger poll for the Chambre de l’assurance de dommages and the Chambre de la sécurité financière, surveying 1,035 Quebeckers, 18 years of age and over, May 2018.
2. Léger poll for the ChAD, surveying 1,000 Quebeckers, 18 years of age and over, May 2016.