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Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Christmistakes: Safety hacks for the holiday season



The holiday season is fast approaching. We all know the drill – parties, lights, trees, gifts and a little bit too much of that eggnog. Inevitably, some individuals may experience the by-products of these celebrations: fires, theft, or minor accidents to name a few. While planning for the festivities there are a few things you can do to prevent any unfortunate accidents.

Here are seven hacks for a safe holiday season:

  • Place candles in your fireplace instead of wood – it’s easier to clean, cheaper, and is less likely to retain heat once put out.
  • Running out of precious oven space to cook? Use a crockpot with a timer for delicious drinks and side dishes. It will remove the risk of leaving a burner on during midday madness.
  • Use a selfie stick to put the star on top of the tree to avoid falling. Beautiful!
  • Put your Christmas lights on an automatic timer.  Deter thieves like Harry and Marv in Home Alone
  • Install a security alarm. Not only will you protect your belongings, your insurance premium may go down!
  • Open pesky clamshell packaging with a can opener to prevent cuts.
  • Wrap a cardboard box to store torn wrapping paper. It will make for prettier photos on Christmas morning. Never throw leftover wrapping paper into the fireplace – it can cause a chimney fire that Santa won’t appreciate.

Insurance tips to have a worry-free holiday:

  • Firstly, save some money for Christmas shopping by choosing an insurance broker. Sharp Insurance will get you the best rate and ensure you fully understand your policy.
  • Create a complete inventory of your personal belongings (gifts of jewelry, anyone?). This will make it easier to file a claim in the event of an accident.
  • Did you get into a fender bender at the mall on Boxing Day? Sharp Prestige provides the use of a rental vehicle while your car is getting fixed at no cost.
  • Do you need quick access to your pink card? Get the Sharp Mobile App on your phone. You can also make a quick claim, find the nearest taxi and access your insurance policy.


Contact us before the holidays for a quote at 1-877-218-2008 or www.sharpinsurance.ca





Marchella Mafrica
Sharp Insurance
Communications Specialist

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Good Credit: How to get it, not sweat it


Everyone knows that having a good credit score can increase your chances of getting car loans, better mortgage rates and so on, but a good score can also lead to better insurance rates! More and more insurance companies (about 55%) are using your credit score to determine your discount eligibility.

Did you know?
There is a statistical correlation between poor credit and more insurance claims.

So how do you get good credit?

A credit score is simply a measure of financial health. Here are some steps to take:

     Step 1: 
Check your credit score. The range in Canada is between 300-900 and the higher your number, the better your score is.  You can access your credit file for free by mailing in the form here. Or, you can access it online faster for a fee.

Step 2:
Understand your credit rating. Once you have received your credit report, use the following chart to help you determine your rating. The numbers are not a scale, but a current status: 



Step 3:
Correct any mistakes on your credit report. This might be mistakes in personal info, late payments, or signs of theft. Do you see something reported that is inaccurate? Gather proof (statements, receipts, etc.) and contact Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada. They will check with the lender that reported the error. If that didn’t work, contact the lender yourself to speed things up. 

Still no results? Escalate your case by speaking to someone at a higher level within your lender or credit agency. Your credit isn’t affected when you ask for information about your own score. 

Step 4:
Make your credit card, phone bills, loan and lease payments on time. 35% of your credit score is based on payment history. If possible, set up automatic payments for the minimum so you don’t even have to think about it! 

More tips:

  • Don’t get enticed by those store credit cards offering a discount for signing up. They’re viewed negatively by credit bureaus.
  • You may have a low score simply because you don’t have a credit history. You can build history when you get a cell phone, bank account, car loan, or credit card. Don’t get it all in the same month, however, because your credit takes a small hit every time a lender checks it.
  • Do you have a low-interest card you don’t use? Keep the account open. It may help to improve a low score. 
  • Pay down your debts as quickly as possible. Pay down the debt with the highest interest rate first to save money. 


Don’t sweat it. See below for some safe, reliable resources if you want financial advice or simply want to take more control.

Debt and credit advice:
 
https://www.solvingdebt.ca/

Budget templates, calculators, info on mortgages, credit, loans and more:  



Marchella Mafrica
Communications Specialist
Sharp Insurance

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Telematics: The Fitbit for your Car


Why is it that tracking what we eat results in weight loss? Tracking what we spend saves us money? Tracking how we feel enables us to be happier?


It’s simple – gaining awareness contributes to habit changes.

So what does this have to do with cars? 

Did you know your car is built for a device that can track and transmit information about your driving skills such as hard breaking, speed, distance and the times of day you travel most?   A small removable device that gathers data, can be installed in your vehicle, to rate your insurance premium based on your driving skills rather than demographic generalizations. Inevitably, having this device track your good and bad driving habits will prompt you to be more aware on the road which will help increase safety precautions for you and others on the road. If you think you're a fantastic driver, then this device could mean big savings for you.   

Sharp Insurance Partners with Pembridge Insurance 

As of November 30th, Sharp Insurance is partnering with Pembridge to provide alternative insurance policy options for clients. This includes optional participation in the My_BRIDGE telematics program referred to above. After a 6 month period of tracking driver data, eligible drivers could save up to 30% on auto insurance premiums!


Here are some FAQs on Telematics.

Q. Who will benefit from telematics?
A. You may benefit from the My_BRIDGE program if you:
  • Use public transit.
  • Work from home.
  • Are on a parental leave.
  • Do not drive a lot.
  • Do not drive during high-traffic hours.
  • Maintain safe driving habits.
  • Combinations of the above.


Q. What kind of benefits are there?
A. If you sign up for My_BRIDGE, you can expect:
  • Customized insurance coverage that fit your lifestyle. For example, typically new drivers have much higher insurance premiums. If data reveals you to be a great driver, your rates will reflect that. 
  • Receive a sign-up discount, plus additional discounts if your found to be eligible through telematics data.


Q. Why are some insurance companies offering this?
A. Insurance companies benefit from telematics by:
  • Increasing customer satisfaction and loyality 
  • Offering innovative products for parents that help them understand their children's driving habits.
  • Increasing safe driving habits and decreasing accidents. 


Q. Is there any other data being tracked like GPS locations or accidents?
A. Nope. This specific telematics technology only audits driving skill with certain criteria. 

Q. What else should I know? 
A. The My_BRIDGE program is available now at Sharp Insurance.

Want more info? Give us a call at 1-877-218-2008





Marchella Mafrica
Communications Specialist