Saturday, 28 November 2015

Is Tornado Damage Covered By Fort McMurray Home Insurance?

We've said it before and we'll keep saying it: Don't ever purchase an insurance policy before reading it over carefully. Too many people sign blindly without thinking about the potential consequences. What do these people have common? They think that they are now invincible. They think that their new policy covers them against everything... until disaster strikes and they realize how wrong they were.

Of course this is a very grim scenario and one that we pray you will never experience. If, however, you find yourself in the situation described above (minus the disaster part) it's still not too late to fix things. Now is the perfect time to read over your policy and purchase additional coverage if needed. (You might want to consult a broker if you need help with that.)

One of the most commonly asked questions in Fort McMurray related to homeowner insurance coverage is this one: Is tornado damage covered by Fort McMurray home insurance?

Unfortunately, there is no "one-size-fits-all" answer to that question. However, we can speak generally and tell you that yes... most home insurance policies in this city do cover tornado damage. Just please don't hold us accountable if you believe us only to find out later on that your policy is one of the few that don't cover this type of damage. It's up to you to do your homework now.

Good luck! (Oh and while you're at it don't forget to check if your policy covers you against floods and earthquakes too.)

Monday, 23 November 2015

All Season vs Winter Tires: Which are Better?

Winters in Alberta can be widely unpredictable, and at times, harrowing. Winter driving in this province can seem like an extreme sport that pushes your adrenaline levels to its highest limits. Whether you’re driving in Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray or Red Deer, you know you need a good pair of reliable tires to get to your destination safely. The importance of a good set of tires during extreme winter weather episodes cannot be underestimated: Good tires save lives. Even so, you may have a few questions before investing in a good pair of winter tires such as: which tires are the best for Albertans? All seasons can save you money, but do they work as well as winter tires? And are some brands of tires better than others? We have put together a quick guide for measuring safety, effectiveness, price and value for different types of tires and their performance in different weather situations.

It’s all in the numbers:
For anyone who may be skeptical about the effectiveness of winter tires, take a look these compelling numbers:

In 2008, winter tires were made compulsory in Germany, here’s what happened:
2005: 12,539 personal injury collisions
2008: 6,033
Winter tires cut more than half of the winter collisions resulting in injury!

Winter tires where made mandatory in 2008 (by that time more than 95% of drivers where already using winter tires) resulted in a 17% drop in collisions, and a 36% drop in collisions resulting in serious injury or death!

The problem with all-season tires
Although  all-season tires are convenient and cost effective, they simply do not work as well as winter tires. The truth is, all-season tires are a compromise as they work well generally in most weather conditions, but they do not preform nearly as well in severe winter road conditions.

Why winter tires are the best for winter driving:
Winter tires are designed to grip through ice, snow, slush, and provide 50% better traction. Due to the rubber materials and intricate tread design, these tires have faster stopping times, safer acceleration, and more control which means safer driving.

Do you need to install matching winter tires?
According to tire experts such as Kal Tire, installing different types of tires on your vehicle could impact its ability to perform: one make of winter tire may have different traction capabilities than the other, which could effective the maneuverability of your vehicle in extreme winter conditions. It’s best to install four identical winter tires in order to see the best results. 

How much do winter tires cost?
The price of winter tires vary depending on the manufacturer, the quality of materials used and so on. The lifespan of winter tires also rely on the quality and density of the rubber used, which may factor into your budget when choosing the right winter tires for your car. On average you may spend between $250 to $1000 depending on the brand and qualify of the tires. It's always a great idea to consult a tire expert for advice as all vehicles perform differently and you want to be sure you're getting the best tires for your specific car. 

Snow is coming, and now is the best time to invest in your safety by getting those winter tires installed!

Saturday, 21 November 2015

The Importance of Checking Your Albertan Driving Record

As an Albertan driver, understanding your driving record is probably more important than you think it is. You know that your driving record is directly associated with how much money you pay, but did you also know that you might be paying more than you should be?

Yes, we're talking about mistakes... and they're not as uncommon as you think they are.

This is why we encourage everyone to request their Albertan driving record (also commonly known as driver abstract) from the Access to Motor Vehicle Information Regulation. You can find more information on how to apply for a driver abstract in Alberta here. (Note that you might want to do it in person as it makes the process a lot simpler.) If you find a mistake on your driving abstract, then you should contact the Ministry of Transport and report it.

To understand your driver record you first have to understand how the Albertan demerit point system works. Quite simply, demerit points are awarded each time a driver is found guilty of partaking in a dangerous driving habit. (How many points are awarded depends on the type of infraction committed.)

On your driver abstract you will find out how many demerit points were awarded to you. You will also learn more about your past convictions (if any) as well as your past suspensions (again if any). We highly encourage that you request your driver record at least once a year to make sure that it is as accurate as it can possibly be.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Does Commercial Property Insurance Coverage in Edmonton Cover Theft?

A darker part of owning a business in Edmonton has to do with everything that people do not want to think about or associate with. Yes, today we're talking about disasters... and one particular type of disaster known as theft.

If you own a business, the last thing that you want to go through is a break-in. Not only does this make you lose money in the short run, it also makes you look bad. But here's the thing: No matter how up-to-date you are with the latest anti-theft technologies, there will always be people out there who know how to counteract these technologies. This is why being covered under an Edmonton commercial property insurance policy such as the one Sharp Insurance offers is of the utmost importance.

But does this policy really cover theft?

Yes, it does.... among other things. As long as you can prove that your business property was broken in and that you suffered valuable losses, then you can expect your insurance company to reimburse you. Keep in mind, however, that proving that the thieves stole something valuable from you (physically and sometimes even digitally) is half the battle. Thankfully, this process can be made easier by making a photo inventory a while in advance.

We've covered several tips on how to do that, but you can always search online for more. Until then, don't forget to lock the door and to stow away valuables away from sight... simple security can often go a long way!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Basic Home Fire Safety For Calgary Residents

When it comes to protecting your home against a fire, you can never be safe enough. But as history has proved time and time again, even the most cautious among us sometimes can't escape the hands of fate.

Of course our goal today is not to scare you. Instead, our goal is to open your eyes to the very real danger that is a house fire. And to make sure that it never happens to you (or at least alleviate the risks of it happening to you) we have decided to compile a short list of basic home fire safety tips. So without further ado, here they are:

  1. Test your smoke alarms as often as possible. We can't stress enough the importance of doing this. Too many people forget them about them, checking on them every few years. Once a month is the usual recommendation.
  2. Don't smoke in your home. It's the 21st century. Do we really need to tell you this? :) But just in case, here it is again!
  3. Be careful with your space heaters. Make sure that they aren't sitting beside anything that can catch fire such as curtains.
  4. Clean your chimney. Cleaning your chimney once a year is recommended if you want to minimize the risk of a house fire.
  5. Cook smartly. We're looking at you, oven! Did you know that a good portion of house fires can be linked back to the stove? When cooking, make sure that the area around your stove is clutter free as well.
  6. Keep a fire extinguisher... or two! Your kitchen and the basement should be your first priorities.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Texting and Driving in Edmonton: Is It Really That Bad?!

You've heard it multiple times -- don't text while driving. In fact, you've heard it so many times that texting while driving is now considered illegal in Canada. But just how dangerous is texting while driving in Edmonton? And does it classify as "distracted driving"?

The short answers are simple, really. Texting while driving kills every single day. Just in the United States 9 people die from it on average. Nine! So yes, texting while driving is very dangerous, and yes it classifies as "distracted driving".

In fact, texting while driving also classifies as a dangerous driving habit. And as you may (or may not know by now), being accused of partaking in such a dangerous habit can earn you the title of a "high-risk driver".

As the name entails, a high-risk driver is a driver who is seen as more prone to getting into and/or causing road accidents by his or her insurance company. As a result, high-risk drivers everywhere in Edmonton and across Canada usually pay a LOT more on their monthly insurance premiums.

Our question to you is this one: Is it really worth it? And we're not just talking about money but the countless lives that you endanger while texting and driving. (Not just your own, of course.) If there is something that absolutely can't wait for you to get out of your car, then what are you even driving?

Be smart. Be safe.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

3 Things To Know About Being Denied Car Insurance Coverage in Edmonton

As a Canadian driver, being denied insurance coverage can be problematic for several reasons... and of course we're not mentioning stressful. If you are on the lookout for Edmonton car insurance coverage, there are 3 facts that you need to know about being denied by an insurance company:

  1. You might be considered a high-risk driver. Just as the name entails, a high-risk driver is a driver who is considered as more prone to getting into and/or causing road accidents. Since those drivers are seen as more "expensive" by insurance companies in Edmonton, several of them refuse to give them coverage. The good news, however, is that high-risk driving insurance policies exist... you just have to go out there and find them. Yes, you do end up paying more on your deductibles, but at least you won't have to worry about not being covered any longer.
  2. If you still can't find a policy, hire the help of an insurance broker. Insurance brokers exist for a reason -- to help you find a policy that meets your own needs. If you have been denied coverage several times already, then hiring a broker might be the best option left for you at this point.
  3. Being denied happens to everyone. Lastly, if you have been denied... don't fret it! As we said above, there ARE companies out there that are ready to offer you coverage. It's just a matter of finding them. If you are denied we recommend that you find out what the problem is, fix it in any way you can, and then move on.