Monday, 28 September 2015

Do I Need to Buy All The Different Types of Edmonton Car Insurance Coverage?

As with everything else in life, car insurance coverage is rarely simple. If you are a new driver in Edmonton, then chances are that you've heard of the many different types of car insurance coverage available in the city. As a result, you're probably wondering if you need to buy them all... or really, which one(s) you absolutely need to buy.

Let's begin by keeping things simple. Under Canadian law, you are required to purchase car insurance coverage before hitting the road.

But here's the thing: Just because you are required to purchase coverage doesn't mean that you need to purchase them all. You see, the most basic type of insurance is known as Edmonton liability insurance coverage. This is the coverage that you absolutely need to purchase before hitting the road. Quite simply, this policy pays for injuries to others as well as damage to their property in the event of you causing an accident.

With that being, it is up to you to decide whether or not you would benefit from purchasing additional coverage. If you only use your car to drive to work and then drive back home, chances are that you don't really need to purchase additional coverage. But if you own a really expensive car and you enjoy taking long road trips every once in a while, then it might be a different story for you.

Keep in mind that your insurance broker always know best, so don't hesitate to give them a call before making any decision!

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Red Deer Home Insurance Coverage: 2 Insurance Mistakes To Avoid

When it comes to home insurance coverage in Red Deer, knowledge and experience are really valuable. But here's the thing: Not every new home owner in the city have the knowledge and experience required to avoid making simple insurance mistakes. After all, they are new home owners for a reason. 

Over the year, the team at Sharp Insurance has seen too many people fall prey to basic home insurance mistakes. Don't be among them. 

If you are considering covering your new (or future) house in the near future, then here are 2 Red Deer home insurance mistakes that you absolutely need to avoid:
  1. Thinking, no scratch that, assuming that your policy covers floods... or anything else for that matter. Ask insured people what they fear the most about their home insurance coverage, and many of them will probably answer you with something along the lines of their insurance policy not covering x or y. This nightmarish scenario is nightmarish for several reasons. Firstly, it makes you feel vulnerable. Secondly, it can cost a lot. Before purchasing a Red Deer insurance policy, please, please, please make sure that you know EXACTLY what the policy covers... and what it doesn't.
  2. Paying too much each month. What most people fail to understand (especially new home owners) is that their monthly insurance premiums are not set in stone. While this might not be a mistake in the traditional sense of the word (at least for insurance companies in Red Deer), we consider it as such because in certain cases there is simply no reason to pay so much. Before purchasing a home insurance policy, do some research. Not only find the best available insurance policy for the price that you are most comfortable with, but also find ways to lower the premiums of said policy. You'll see -- you won't end up disappointed!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Identity Theft on the Rise: What you need to know to protect your personal information

According to the RCMP, identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the world and affects 1 in 6 Canadians annually with losses of approximately $3 billion! Due to the rise of technology, identity theft has become easier than ever, putting every single Canadian at risk. Remember the National Student loan personal information leak of 2012? A hard drive went missing that contained addresses, birthdates and SIN numbers of over 500,000 Canadians! Sometimes the most secure channels fail, which is why it’s important to educate yourself on the myriad of ways you can lower the risk of having your identity stolen.

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is stealing personal information such as name, date of birth, address, and social security number in order to commit fraud. 

Identity Theft Crimes:

Crimes range from minor credit card charges to taking out loans, credit cards, and subscriptions under your name, or worse, an individual assuming your identity indefinitely.

Many victims of identity theft do not know it’s happening to them until they apply for a mortgage or loan and are quickly denied due to delinquent credit history! Imagine finding out you owe thousands of dollars because someone else assumed your identity. 

Experiencing identity theft can be quite stressful and difficult to deal with alone. Protecting yourself from identity theft through preventative measures will save you a lot of time and grief in the future. 

Best practices for preventing identity theft:

  •   Monitor all activity on credit card statements: be sure to carefully review charges on your credit cards every month and report any suspicious or erroneous purchases right away
  • Shred all banking documents before disposing
  •  Only provide personal information to reputable companie
  •  Never provide personal information over the phone until you validate the caller
  • Report loss of: Driver’s license, credit cards, bank cards and SIN cards immediately

Identity theft insurance is your best protection:

With identity theft numbers on the rise, more and more people are turning to insurance to help protect against a crime that has no boarders

Depending on the company, identity theft insurance can cover most expenses accrued such as legal fees, loss of wages (ex: for missing work due to court sessions), monitoring your credit after the theft and more. 

Identity theft is not only hard on your credit score rating, but it is also quite time consuming to deal with the fallout. With identity theft insurance, your insurer takes care of most of that for you.

For more information about identity theft insurance, contact one of our experience brokers who will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have on this subject.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Follow Those Simple Tips To Prevent Your Small Calgary Business From Being Sued

As a small business owner in Calgary, "lawsuit" is probably the one word that you NEVER want to hear. But here's the thing -- absolutely nobody is immune to being sued. If you own a business, there will always be someone out there who is out to get you.

With that being said, just because you aren't immune to being sued doesn't mean that you shouldn't do everything in your power to prevent that from happening. To make this a little bit simpler for you, Sharp Insurance has compiled a short list of advice for you to follow.

So without further ado, here are 4 little tips to prevent your small Calgary business from being sued:

  1. Be careful of what you do... but also what you say. As a business owner, you have a heavy burden to carry on your shoulders. It is not uncommon for slanderous statements to cost business owners their companies. Likewise, avoid working with people whom you believe employ shady business practices. 
  2. Protect your data. In the past, Sharp Insurance has covered the importance of protecting your data. We have also covered several ways for you to go about it. Our stance on this subject hasn't changed. Every year, hundreds of small businesses across the world go bankrupt because they were careless enough to lose their precious data. Don't be among them.
  3. Acknowledge your mistakes. Here's the thing: Nobody wants to deal with an angry customer. But sometimes, all it takes to make things right is the proper attitude. If you made a mistake, acknowledge it and apologize for it. You might just end up seriously surprised at how far this can take you.
  4. Be properly insured. Lastly, this might not do much to prevent someone from suing you, but in the event of that happening you will be really happy to have heeded this advice! From Calgary general liability insurance coverage to business property insurance coverage, we highly encourage that you do a bit of research if you wish to secure your business as much as possible.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Are First-Time Drivers Considered High-Risk Drivers in Calgary?

Let's be honest -- high-risk driving is a term that nobody wants to be associated with. The truth, however, is that some people can't help it, regardless of whether or not they actually partake in dangerous driving habits.

As a new driver, you may wondering (and rightly so) whether or not you are considered a high-risk driver in Calgary because you lack the experience that most drivers have. Unfortunately, you are. Both young drivers and first-time drivers, no matter how old they may be, are considered high-risk drivers by most insurance companies in Calgary.

But here's the thing -- it's not a lifelong sentence. Sure, it might be disheartening to hear this, especially if you had no idea that you would end up paying higher premiums as a result, but you have to remember that keeping a clean driving record for the next two years or so can and will go a long way.

Further to that, there exist numerous ways for you to enjoy lower monthly premiums. This is something that most people (not just high-risk drivers) fail to realize. With a bit of planning ahead, it is very possible to save on insurance premiums each month.

Here are a few ways for you to do that:

  • Make sure that your car is secure. You might be surprise at how much money installing a simple security system may save you each month!
  • Bundle up your insurance policies. Here's a little known fact -- insurance companies in Calgary love giving discounts to customers who purchase several policies for them.
  • Brush up on your driving skills. Here's another little known fact -- enrolling in (and passing) a driving course can make your monthly premiums less expensive. Just make sure that the course is approved by your insurance company, though.
  • Raise your deductible. The lower your deductible is, the more money you have to spend on monthly premiums... and vice versa.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Where to Find a Free Car Insurance Quote in Fort McMurray

When it comes to car insurance coverage, free insurance quotes exist for a reason. Making good use of them is of the utmost importance. But the question remains -- where exactly can you find a free car insurance quote in Fort McMurray?

Starting with the one that Sharp Insurance offers is a good idea. But you will soon come to realize that Fort McMurray (and really, the entire country) is home to many, many insurance companies. This is both a good and a bad thing. Good because you have plenty of options to choose from. And bad because... well... you have plenty of options to choose from...

Wait, what?

As you can see, too many options to choose from can be frustrating. This is why we encourage you to spend enough time researching your options before comparing the quotes that you receive from prospective companies. In our experience, this method has never failed anyone. 

Whether or not it will lead you to Sharp Insurance, there is no way for us to know. We do offer free Fort McMurray car insurance quotes to people like you, so feel free to request yours today. Just remember that settling down for the first good offer that you come across is never a good idea, and that online reviews have helped countless people weed out good companies from bad companies in the past. Read everything carefully (yes, that includes the ENTIRE policy) and you should be fine. :)

Good luck!

Monday, 7 September 2015

3 Common Calgary Home Insurance Coverage Questions Answered

Let's be honest: Insurance coverage isn't always as simple as you'd like it to be. For new Calgary home owners, navigating through the do's and dont's of home insurance coverage by themselves can be downright impossible. To make the process slightly easier for you, Sharp Insurance has decided to compile a list of the 3 most common questions associated with home insurance coverage in Calgary... and answer them.

So without further ado, here they are:

  1. Do I need to be covered under a Calgary home insurance policy? Here's the thing: Canadian law doesn't require you to be covered under a home insurance policy. With that being said, however, just because you aren't required doesn't mean that you shouldn't. To answer the question, no, you don't have to, but yes, you should. Life simply comes with too many unplanned and unforeseen events for you not to be covered under a home insurance coverage. 
  2. What do most Calgary home insurance policies cover? Most of the time, you can expect a home insurance policy to cover damage related to fire, arson, thievery and vandalism. Keep in mind, however, that insurance policies differ from company to company. As a result, reading through a policy before agreeing to it is of the utmost importance... and so is knowing exactly what the policy doesn't cover.
  3. How expensive is home insurance coverage in Calgary? Unfortunately, there is no "one-size-fits-all" answer to that question because it depends on many, many things. The overall value of your home plays the biggest role in determining how much money you will be paying each month, but so does the neighborhood it is located in, how secure it is and even how old it is. Remember though that premiums aren't set in stone; lowering them is very much possible. Just read through some of our earlier articles to learn how you can do that!

Friday, 4 September 2015

Red Deer General Liability Insurance Coverage vs. Professional Liability Insurance Coverage

If you are here, we can probably assume that you are among the many professionals in Red Deer who tend to confuse general liability insurance coverage with professional liability insurance coverage... or among those who simply don't know the difference between the two.

Don't worry, though -- there is absolutely no shame in that. While those two policies share several things in common, you have to realize that they differ completely from one another. Today, we will explain to you exactly how they differ... and maybe even help you figure out which one you would benefit the most from purchasing.

So without further ado, let's look at general liability insurance coverage.

Red Deer general liability insurance coverage such as the one offered by Sharp Insurance covers businesses from claims related to bodily and/or property damage. A common claim associated with this policy is a customer experiencing a slip and fall on business property, injuring themselves, and then proceeding to sue said business for damage. Keep in mind that most of the time this policy covers property damage caused by employees as well.

What about professional liability insurance policy?

A Red Deer professional liability insurance policy, on the other hand, covers professionals from claims of errors and/or omissions. Common claims related to this policy are claims of malpractice and negligence. Unlike general liability insurance coverage, this coverage covers only ONE person. It provides financial aid to the insured in the event of someone filing a lawsuit against them.

So which one do you need? It depends on whether or not you own a business. If you are a professional currently working for a company, then chances are that a professional liability insurance policy would be enough for you. But if you own a business, then you might benefit from purchasing those two policies... assuming you work in a field in which the threat of being sued exists!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

What You Need to Know Before Renting Out Your Basement

To rent or not to rent...

Secondary suite rentals are a great way to supplement your income or to help you pay your mortgage. Becoming a landlord can also be quite the job, so it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into before you make that leap. Renting out a secondary suite comes with a lot of advantages, for instance, with the extra income you could afford to buy a house in a popular urban neighborhood and it’s also a great way to dip your toes into the property business. Even so, what does becoming a landlord entail? What are some of things you need to know in order to begin that process? How about what type of insurance you will need? Keep reading if you want to know these answers and more. 

What to consider before renting out your secondary suite:

Round the clock work:

Being a landlord means that you have new responsibilities which cannot be ignored. For example, you are now charged with finding good tenants, and finding these tenants can be quite a challenge.

You are also under obligation for repairs around the property and to ensure your tenant is safe and comfortable in their living quarters.

It’s important to treat being a landlord like owning a business by having a cushion in your account for unexpected repairs and by keeping track of everything through proper documentation. 

Giving up privacy:

When renting out a suite in your home, ask yourself if you are willing to give up some of your privacy. For instance, will you be sharing an entrance, washer/dryer, backyard or deck? Are you OK with not having the same level of privacy your accustomed to?

Do your research:

Familiarize yourself with Alberta's bylaws for secondary suites. What permits do you need? Is your zoning up to snuff? What about fire and safety regulations? Are your basement windows large enough? If you disregard these regulations, you could be shut down at any time and could even face fines and charges. For more information regarding zoning and permits, please visit this link.

Choosing the right tenants:

Who do you want to share your space with? Are you looking for students? Mature students? Single adults?A young couple? Make a list of the characteristics you would like your tenant to have. What is important to you? Where do you live? Do you live close to a university that will attract student renters? Are you downtown and close to many office buildings? Interview your potential tenants, and try to get references when possible to help you make your decision.

Get your tenants to sign a lease agreement:

A lease agreement is your best way to ensure both you and your tenants are protected. It also helps lay out what you expect from your tenants and what they can expect from you. Determine the length of lease you would prefer, for instance, you can weigh out the benefits of either a six month or one year lease term. For guidelines and examples of lease agreements click here.

What you need to know about rental insurance:

We would be remiss as an insurance broker if we did not stress the importance of having proper insurance both for yourself and for your tenants.  Typically, if you own your home and you are renting out your basement suite, you need to contact your insurance company right away to let them know. They will document this in your file, or may have to consider underwriting the space depending on the specifics of the situation. That way, in the event of a claim, you can rest assured that you have done your due diligence and disclosed everything to your insurance company to prevent any issues with the claim resolution process. 

Your insurance, however, will not cover any damages incurred by the tenant or any damages  to the tenant’s own property. For instance, say your tenant vandalized the suite, your insurance typically doesn’t cover those losses. However, if you make it a condition of the lease for your tenant to have his or her own tenant’s insurance, their liability coverage could pay out for the damages. Moreover, it will also keep your tenant protected in the event of a fire or loss that affects his or her contents.

If you have any insurance questions regarding your rental suite, we are more than happy to assist you. You can call us toll free at 1-877-218-2008 or shoot us an email with your questions to