Wednesday, 28 September 2016

When Insurance and Outer Space Collide: The Messy Truth about Space Junk

You may have noticed the news lately about the out of control Chinese space station that is hurtling its way towards the Earth, and is projected to crash land in an unknown area sometime in 2017. Most of this 8.5-tonne module will be broken up and burned by our atmosphere. Even so, the Chinese space agency does admit that there are flame resistant pieces that could survive re-entry into Earth and hit terra firma. As more and more satellites, rockets, space stations, docking stations are launched into our Earth’s orbit, the more risk there is of these pieces making their way down to us on Earth.  That leaves us with the questions, what are our chances of being hit by space debris, and does our insurance cover the damages?


The Odds of Being Hit by Space Debris….are in your favour.

Currently there are thousands of satellites orbiting the Earth and millions of debris pieces from satellite collisions and explosions. While space debris pose more hazards to space stations and satellites than to all of us on Earth (chances of being hit by space debris is a trillion to one), if we don’t take care of our “space junk” problem, then these risks will just keep increasing.

For example, a seemingly harmless small piece of space junk that is 10 cm in size or less, will orbit at the speed of 17,500 MpH. At that speed, the piece's force will actually cause it to tear through a space station and cause serious damage. This same 10 cm piece poses no risk to us on Earth as it will be burned up by our atmosphere upon re-entry.

Nevertheless, events such as the not-too-long-ago Russian space craft’s out-of-control decent from space into the Pacific Ocean, and now the out-of-control pending re-entry of the Chinese space station, poses the question: what happens if it hits your home or property.

Insurance, the final frontier…

What a lot of people may not know, is that most insurance policies for home and auto (you must have comprehensive coverage on your car), will cover damage from falling and flying objects from airplanes to space crafts, to space debris. So if you come home one day, and find you have a hole in your house due to a rogue piece of space craft, don’t worry, call your insurance broker. After that, you can alert the media! The odds of your property being hit by space debris are much less than the odds of winning the lottery. 

If you want to insure your home and auto for all those "extra planetary" risks, then go ahead, give us a shout, and will beam you up a quote in no time! 1-877-218-2008

Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Ultimate Rideshare and Uber Insurance Guide

Ridesharing has literally taken the world by storm, and Alberta is not far behind in immersing its proud cities with companies such as Uber and TappCar. The freedom and flexibility to use your own vehicle and work the hours you want to, is precisely what makes these companies so appealing to many Albertans looking to earn extra income. Although Calgary has yet to approve Uber, the Alberta based ridesharing company, TappCar, is in full operation. You may have noticed their cars around Edmonton and Calgary. Nevertheless, before you take the leap and join the growing ridesharing trend, be sure to contact your insurance representative to ensure you have the right coverage or you could get stuck with a large bill for an uninsured claim.

If you have already contacted Uber or TappCar, you may be thinking “but they told me I have insurance under their commercial policy.” That may be correct, however, you still need to advise your broker or agent as you will need to add what’s called an endorsement (amendment to the policy used to add or delete coverage), or something similar, otherwise, you could have gaps in your coverage. We have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions we have receive at our brokerage. Let us know if you have any questions that are not on the list!

Why do I need rideshare insurance?

Rideshare insurance is an add-on coverage that will insure rideshare drivers and their passengers in the event of an accident.

What does rideshare insurance cover?

Rideshare insurance coverage varies greatly between insurance companies, but typically it would cover you for claims arising out of driving your vehicle under the rideshare clock, subject to your policy limitations and exclusions. If you want to know what those limitations and exclusions are, be sure to ask your broker. The language used in insurance documents requires that you have a PhD in legal speak, so we always encourage you to ask a representative if you’re uncertain about anything.

Is rideshare insurance expensive?

Simple answer, no, it really shouldn’t be. If you find you’re getting outrageously expensive quotes for add-on coverage, definitely shop around!

Do you need a separate policy for rideshare insurance?

You do not. So long as you fit the insurance requirements for both the company you are driving with, and your personal insurance policy regulations, then you should be fine. Right now, every insurance company is treating rideshare coverage differently. Some are adding what’s called an endorsement to your policy (basically an add-on coverage), while others re-rate how you're using your vehicle. 

What happens if I don’t let my broker know that I am using my vehicle for rideshare?

Well, that could be really bad for you…Any time you change how you’re using your vehicle, you need to notify your insurance provider as it changes the nature of your policy contract. Insurance is based on insuring you for risks. For example, did you know that the North West of Calgary has a higher risk for hail storms than the South parts of Calgary? Changing how frequently you use your vehicle also changes your risk factors. Here’s an example of this: Say you were using your vehicle occasionally on the weekends, but now you commute 20k every single day. You have now changed the risk factors on your vehicle. You’re driving your vehicle a lot more, which increases your chances of getting into an accident.

This principle works the same way for rideshare. Putting paying passengers in your vehicle and driving them to different locations increases your risk for getting into an accident. Not only that, but your claims could have a much larger payout due to the liability exposure from your paying passengers in the event of injury or damaged property. Not letting your insurance provider know that you’re using your vehicle for rideshare purposes could most likely result in a claim being rejected. That’s a lot of money you could be on the hook for!

Want to know more about Uber and rideshare insurance? Feel free to ask us questions anytime. Just go on Twitter or on our Facebook page and use the #AskSharp and we will get back to you with a response!