Knowing what information will affect your insurance policy is important to not only keeping your insurance policy in good standing, but to also have a chance at lowering your premium. Everyone knows the basic things you should keep your broker up to date on such as possible claims, auto tickets, address changes, bank changes, etc. It is possible that you are missing out on discounts or premium reductions by keeping your insurance broker in the dark. With this article we are hoping to shed some light on the type of information your broker needs to make sure your coverages are correct and that you are paying the correct amount for your insurance policy.
Insurance companies are starting to change the way that they rate risks (determine your premium). It is more important now than ever before, to make sure that your broker has up to date information about your home, vehicles, boats, or anything else you insure with them. Some insurance companies use rating systems that are so detailed that even updating your hot water tank could lower your yearly premium, or you could have a surcharge for a certain heating system you don’t have installed in your home any longer. No one should have to pay higher premiums for things they don’t have or for reasons they didn’t know about.
When it comes to home insurance, there is a lot of information that determines your premiums. When you first set up your home insurance policy, your broker would have done a complete evaluation of your house to determine the cost of rebuilding your home should a worst case scenario take place. This evaluation is made using the square footage of your home and all the details of your home such as the number of bathrooms, decks, central air, built ins, and even things like the type of front door you have. When you make changes to your home, it is important to let your broker know so that you can rest assured that you are properly covered.
If you are planning on adding any additions, pools, hot tubs, extensions, or any other major updates to your home, you should always contact your broker before starting construction and after construction is completed to update your policy.
Updating items in your home may also affect your insurance premiums. As the insurance companies move toward the more detailed rating systems, the more the important updates on your home will affect your insurance premiums. It could save you some money and keep your insurance policy in force if you keep your insurance broker up to date on any updates to your home such as:
- Furnace Replacement
- Heating System Changes (Oil to Propane for example)
- Replacing Hot Water Tank (even if you don’t own it)
- Replacing Shingles on your Roof
- Switching the Material Used on your Roof (Asphalt to Steel)
- Finished Basement (finishing of any portion of your basement)
- Plumbing Updates
- Electrical Updates
- Sump Pump Changes
- Adding a Generator
- Any Major Updates (extensions, additions, pools, hot tubs, skylights, etc.)
Auto insurance is a little more straight forward when it comes to keeping your broker up to date. Most people know that if you move, get another vehicle, sell a vehicle, or have a possible claim, that you should call your broker to inform them. Other reasons to give your broker a call about changes to your auto insurance would be:
- Commuting Distance Changes
- Annual Kilometres Changed
- Another Licenced Driver in the Household
- Convictions (tickets)
- Any Usage Changes (carrying passengers for money, using vehicle for work, out of country trips, etc.)
- Modifications to your Vehicle (raised, lowered, etc.)
Watercraft insurance is usually pretty straight forward but there are times where you may need to let your broker know about changes or possible trips with your watercraft. Marine insurance policies have navigational limits built in to them and it is possible to be using your watercraft in an area where your insurance policy won’t protect you. To read more about navigational limits on your marine policy please read our other blog post “Where Does Your Boat Insurance Cover You?“. You should also let your broker know if there are any of the following changes:
- Address Changes
- Trailer Changes
- Watercraft Modifications
- Usage Changes (carrying passengers for money, fishing charters, etc.)
- Dry Docking
- Motor Changes
As you can see there are many reasons to give your insurance broker a call to update them on your property that they are insuring. If you have any doubt about if you should contact your broker, it is a good idea to make contact with your broker as the information may be important. It is better to be safe and ensure you will still be covered rather than not taking the time for a quick message or phone call.