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BrokerLink’s year in review: How 2015 impacted the world of insurance

As 2015 draws to a close, we want take this opportunity to look back on some of the noteworthy insurance-related topics we examined this year. These topics highlight insurance changes that were widely discussed in 2015, such as how insurance factors into accommodation sharing practices, innovations in technology and water damage to residences. Come with us as we look back on 2015.

Accommodation sharing websites

While accommodation sharing continues to increase in popularity throughout the world, 2015 also saw growing concerns regarding the potential dangers of renting out your property through online sites.

We investigated best practices for both hosts and travellers in these types of situations. Some of the key points we advised included the following:

  • If you frequently host travellers in your property, you require commercial insurance in order to properly cover yourself and your guests, since you are running a business. Your home insurance policy alone will not cover you in the event of an incident when you accept payment for accommodation.
  • As a traveller, your home or tenants insurance policy will cover you and your possessions when you are subletting a property. However, we strongly encourage you to purchase travel insurance to insure you for other aspects of your travels.
  • We advise both hosts and travellers to take precautions such as checking customer and landlord reviews and communicating through email or Skype prior to finalizing transactions.

How life changes can affect your insurance

Are you planning to walk down the aisle in 2016? As with other major life changes, getting married calls for a number of adjustments and this includes updating your insurance.

We explained some relevant insurance information that applies to significant life changes, such as:

  • What the difference is between “named insured” and an “additional named insured” on insurance policies.
  • The process of adding or deleting individuals to home and auto insurance policies and what legal information you will need to present in certain situations.
  • Different home insurance options available for the various living situations you may find yourself in based on your life stage.

What is the Internet of Things and how does it affect insurance?

We are now living in the era of the Internet of Things (IoT), where we use devices that link to the Internet to manage our daily lives. These devices have the ability to gather, store and analyze data as well as create new uses and solutions for users.

How does the IoT affect insurance? We highlighted a few notable points:

  • Usage-based insurance (UBI) – A device is placed in a customer’s vehicle and monitors their driving habits to identify which consumers consistently demonstrate safe driving. While traditional methods of determining auto insurance rates relied on analyzing past statistics, UBI provides access to individual driver data. Safe drivers are often rewarded with reduced insurance premiums.
  • Monitored home security systems – By installing these home security systems, which connect to your smartphone, you can keep an eye on your home while you’re away by accessing live-feed footage accessible through the Internet.
    • Monitored home security systems also connect with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and water sensors in your home. These systems alert emergency crews or take corrective action, such as turning off your water supply, when necessary. One of the additional benefits of having a monitored home security system includes the possibility of insurance discounts on your home insurance policy.
  • With the increasing risk of online data falling into the wrong hands, we offered a few suggestions on how to protect your data, such as fighting off Remote Access Trojans.

Will your insurance cover water damage?

Over the last nine years, water damage claims have risen from 20 per cent to 50 per cent of all home insurance claims in Canada. Water damage is especially common during the winter months due to winter storms, power outages and people leaving their homes for extended periods.

We provided information on proactive measures you can take and examine what insurance does and does not cover:

  • Do you ever leave your home unattended overnight during the winter months? Whether you leave your home for short-term winter vacations, extended leaves or have gaps in between tenants living in property that you rent out, it is important to understand the difference between vacant and unoccupied properties. We explained what insurance covers for each of these situations, so you are never left without coverage.
  • We offered helpful tips on action you can take to prevent water damage to your home or condo during the winter.
  • Are you insured for water damage if your dishwasher or washing machine overflows? What about if a pipe freezes and explodes in your home? We explained what home insurance covers when it comes to water damage.

Over the past year many factors have evolved the way we look at your insurance needs, with many emerging and developing issues affecting home, auto and commercial insurance. We look forward to continuing to provide the exceptional personalized service you have come to expect from us in 2016.

From all of us here at BrokerLink we wish you a very Happy New Year.