Winter is coming… properly preparing your RV for winters in Canada can drastically extend the life of your home on wheels. Unless you are part of the lucky few RVers in Canada who spend their winter touring warmer climates, then ensuring your RV is properly winterized is a top priority.
If you want to get into action preparing your RV for winter, you can also take a look at GoRVing’s Winterizing Your RV Checklist.
We will go into a little more detail on some of the main focus areas to consider when winterizing and storing your RV over the winter season:
Seek out tears, openings or cracks in the body or roof
Properly sealed external breaches are little more than minor aesthetic issues. Untreated external breaches can lead to a world of trouble and cost. Even the smallest opening can lead to water leaks and, through the winter, mildew formation.
Give the exterior of your RV a solid clean and wax
This is more advice to maintain the appearance and value of your RV over the long-term. Rubber and vinyl can be damaged in the sunlight, causing unnecessary repair or fading. Sunlight can also have negative effects on the paint job. If you decide to store your RV outside and uncovered for the winter, you will definitely want to make sure you take this step.
Manage pest control by covering external vent and pipe openings
Brrr…. winter is cold for rodents too. In their search to survive the winter, they will be looking for anywhere warm. Your RV is a perfect winter getaway. Take the time to properly cover any external access points.
Give a quick tire pressure check
Inflated tires minimize tires weakening during storage season. An even better step is to jack your RV up to reduce pressure on the wheels through the winter, but this is an optional step. If your tires are going to be resting on asphalt, drive the RV wheels onto wooden planks instead. Surface oils on the asphalt can wear on your tires, causing blowouts during your next adventure in the Spring.
Make your vehicle unattractive to thieves
A special lock designed for your RV is a smart investment. It is a good investment both for storage season and while you and your family are out on day-trips, away from your RV. Thieves prefer easy targets so making your RV a challenge will have them looking elsewhere quickly.
If you are choosing a storage facility, ask the manager to show the security features that will keep your RV safe over the winter. Cameras, outdoor lighting and onsite security are ideal.
And, of course, ensure you keep appropriate insurance in case anything does happen while your RV is stored away.
Wash the interior fully and thoroughly
First, it is great feeling to walk into a clean RV at the start of next season. Beyond that, cleaning your RV limits potential for mould and odours from growing through the winter. It is also a good way to find any cracks or holes you do not know about.
Keep the cabinet, closets and fridge doors open
This step minimizes moisture and mould build-up while the RV is stored away. Place a box of baking soda inside the fridge as well to limit odour.
Clear the RV or items that shouldn’t freeze
Things like liquid soap, water bottles, pop, and RV cleaning items and others can easily freeze. These items can burst and thaw, leading to an unfortunate mess when returning.
Remove anything that pests may like as food or nesting material
Little rodents spend their winter season trying to stay warm and fed. They will look for anything and anything that can fulfill these needs. They’ll look for any type of food, toilet paper, soaps, rags, newspapers, towels, blankets and more. Ensure these items are packed up and moved out for the winter.
Remove batteries from the RV
Keeping your primary battery from freezing will prolong the life of the battery and save you money in the long run. Store the battery in a dry place that does not freeze. It is also a good idea to remove other batteries as well from things like your radio and other appliances.
Use antifreeze in your RV’s piping system
It is a good idea to run antifreeze through your RV’s pipes, valves and drain traps. This is primarily important if you are storing your RV outside for the winter, but it is also good practice for indoor storage as well.
Shut off the liquid propane gas supply valve
This is a pretty simple step and a good precaution. While you are doing this, it is also good practice to turn off all the appliances and pull out any fuses.
Plan some fun visits through the winter!
Even though you’re not adventuring in your RV through the winter doesn’t mean you can’t go say “hi” to it! Going to check on your RV every once and awhile ensures everything is in order. This is especially important if you are storing your RV outdoors.
By being proactive with your end of year RV maintenance, you will be good to go when adventure season rolls around again. While you’re waiting for the warmer weather to come back, take a minute to find out if you have the best insurance for your RV with our instant quoting tool.
Let’s talk garage insurance! I know, snore! However, if you can bear with me, we will go over a few of the most common gaps in garage insurance. This information might just save your business, or a less dramatic thought, it may save you a large out-of-pocket expense.
Use of personal vehicles for business purposes
You have a personal vehicle sitting in the parking lot and decide to use it to haul supplies or customers to and from the garage. Or, you have loaned a personal vehicle to a customer to use while their car is being repaired. The loaning of your car puts your own insurance at risk. You loan your car, you loan your insurance. In either scenario you have crossed the line. Your personal vehicle is truly a commercial vehicle at that point and should be rated as such. Whether it be a supply truck or a courtesy car! The cost of properly rating your vehicle will most likely be cheaper than paying out-of- pocket for repairs due to a denied claim.
Accurate lot value
This gap grows with your business if left unmonitored. You may have started off with less than five customer cars in your care and custody sitting on your lot but now, as a well-established garage, there could be 10, 15 or more! If you are covered for $50,000 worth of customer cars on your lot but your really have $200,000, I shiver at the thought of a large claim that impacts multiple customer cars, like fire or vandalism. That is a “lot” of money out of your pocket. Even on a smaller claim you will have to contend with a co-insurance clause. If you only have your lot covered up to 25% (like the example of the $50,000 low lot value compared to the $200,000) on a partial claim of $40,000, the insurance company would only cover you for $10,000. That is the basics of the co-insurance clause but, reach out if you need further information.
Liability. Liability. Liability.
These days, lawsuits are reaching higher and higher payouts which is a big problem for garages. Those who are holding onto one million or even two million liability coverage are putting themselves and their livelihood at risk. That one or two million dollars does not go as far as it once did in life and/or in legal defence. You can never have enough liability coverage, especially when trying to prevent out-of-pocket losses due to a lawsuit.
These may be the top three but, there are many other portions of your coverage that should be reviewed. Don’t wait until you have a claim to find out if you have the correct coverage. Sit down with a Bryson representative for a second set of eyes review. Please set a time to meet with us by calling 1-800-661-5196 or e-mailing our office. Thanks for reading!
Hand-held device tickets shifting from minor to major when rating premium for a commercial vehicle
Up until now, hand-held device tickets for commercial vehicle operators have been considered a minor ticket when rating insurance policies.
We have received updates from many of our commercial insurance carriers that they are filing with the Financial Services Commissioner of Ontario (FSCO) to have hand-held convictions adjusted and considered major infractions.
We do not have an exact date this will be approved by FSCO but we are certain commercial insurance carriers will start receiving approval later this year and early into next year.
If you are operating your own commercial vehicle or have a driving force, it is important to stop utilizing your hand-held device while driving now. It will save you money and, more importantly, it may just save your life.
When it comes to determining the price for car insurance, there are many considerations. Here is a look under the hood at what impacts the insurance premium you pay in Ontario.
Quote note - the reason why the price differs from one insurance company to the next is that each insurance company factors these considerations differently in their decision making. Working with an insurance broker like Bryson Insurance ensures you are finding an insurance carrier best suited to your unique situation.
Here is what impacts the premium you pay for car insurance
Your age and how long you have been driving
Generally speaking, insurance premium rates decrease as you get older (until about 75 years old). More important than age is how many years you have been driving. Insurance companies care more about duration of driving than your age.
Studies show that teens are two and a half times more likely to be involved in a car crash than 20-to-24-year-olds. Compared with more experienced drivers, the risk of teens being involved in a crash is even greater.
In most cases, the best solution for a teenage driver is to be part of their parents’ auto insurance policy. This will impact the cost of insurance, but not to the same extent as if that teenager had their own auto insurance policy.
Tickets and Driving Infractions
Recent tickets for speeding and traffic violations have the potential to impact your car insurance premium. Minor violations or one speeding ticket will have less chance of impacting your insurance premium, but an accumulation of tickets in a short period of time can change the narrative quickly.
The positive news is that the increase is not permanent. Tickets generally fall off our driving record after a few years.
*Bonus note* We receive many questions about the impact of parking tickets on your insurance premium. While annoying to pay, parking tickets do not impact your car insurance premium.
Insurance carriers do consider recent claims history when offering terms for insurance. At-fault claims impact your premium. The longer you have been at-fault claims free, the more positive effect it will have on your premium.
To protect your claims history, some insurance carriers also offer an optional First Claim Forgiveness Waiver that will protect your insurance premium following your first claim. Make sure you check out this option to determine if adding this extension is appropriate for you.
Accidents – at-fault and not-at-fault
Even the best drivers have bad days.
Recent at-fault accidents have a negative impact on your insurance premium.
Not-at-fault accidents should not have a negative impact on your insurance premium.
Car accidents and insurance could be a piece to itself. If you have a history of at-fault or not-at-fault accidents, it is best to consult your insurance broker. Vehicle usage
How do you use your vehicle? People who primarily use their vehicle for pleasure purposes enjoy lower insurance rates.
If you use your vehicle for large commutes to work or for money-earning purposes, like ridesharing services or for your business, insurance companies will charge more. Depending on the situation and the exact use of your vehicle, you may be required to get a commercial policy.
Location, location, location
Insurance is largely based on actuarial data. Actuarial science is applying statistics and mathematics to determining insurance premium. One of the biggest and most reliable data points in determining how likely you are to have an insurance incident is your postal code.
More densely populated areas have higher risk of theft, collisions and harm to your car.
Certain postal codes are likely to pay more for the comprehensive and collision portion of your auto insurance policy.
How you choose to pay
When selecting monthly payments, many insurance companies charge a minimal service fee. If you pay annually in advance this fee is waived. While this service fee does not directly impact your insurance premium, it does make a difference in how much money is in your pocket at the end of the day.
Accident benefit coverage selection
In Ontario, there is a basic minimum coverage for certain accident benefit coverage. Accident benefits include potential costs that could occur in the case you are injured in a car accident. These are things like replacing your income, catastrophic injury payment coverage, caregiver support and other costs.
In general, the basic minimum will be the most affordable while maxing out the benefit coverage will be most expensive.
Each individual situation is different. It is important to partner with an insurance brokerage who understands accident benefits and can have a conversation with you to see if you are adequately protected.
This may be an obvious one as well. The higher your deductible, the lower your insurance premium. Your deductible is basically how much you will be contributing to a claim.
If your deductible is high and you have a minor single car accident (example is bump into a pole) you may be more inclined to cover the expense yourself instead of making a formal claim. This saves the insurance company money. Said another way, their risk for paying for more minor claims is reduced.
This matters more to some insurance companies than others. It does make sense. The more your car is on the road and the more you’re behind the wheel, the greater the chance of being in an accident or having some other claim-related incident.
Engine size, type and age of vehicle
Smaller engine sizes traditionally provide lower insurance rates. Other factors that impact the premium include theft rates, design of vehicle (performance or family) and cost to repair.
A history of continuous insurance
Insurance companies really like drivers that do not have gaps or cancellations in their insurance history. Those that have not had gaps or cancellations (due to non-pay or other factors) will typically receive a lower premium. The longer you have been insured the better.
What else will save me money on my insurance premium?
Check with our team of professional home & auto insurance specialists to find out other methods to reduce your cost of insurance or enhance your overall value of your insurance.
Bundling insurance is another way to provide great savings on your insurance. Bundling is when you combine your home and car insurance with the same insurance carrier. Actions like this can provide substantial savings on your insurance premium.
Whether it is saving money or maximizing the value of your insurance, we believe knowing what you are paying for, understanding your coverage and making informed decisions will give you peace of mind and comfort while on the road.
Did you know that your Jewellery is not always fully insured with your home insurance coverage? No worries though. In most cases you can easily add coverage for Jewellery through a homeowners, renters, condo, or a manufacturers home policy. Get in touch with your Bryson Insurance account manager to insure the full appraised value.
How do I fully insure my Jewellery and engagement ring?
Jewellery coverage is limited on all insurance policies. Not all loss risks (perils) are covered with all insurance companies. For example: Mysterious disappearance is not an insured peril with some insurance companies.
If you want to ensure your Jewellery is fully covered, you need to add it to your insurance policy.
In insurance lingo this is called scheduling an item or adding a rider. Said another way, it is simply adding a specific one-off item on your policy. If you’re a client of Bryson today, you can let your personal Account Manager know about the Jewellery and it can be insured up to the appraised value.
Current Bryson clients call 905-426-8787 and tell our team about your Jewellery items. Depending on the value, we may require appraisal documentation and photos.
Not a client of Bryson yet? Get a quote on your insurance and we can also talk about your Jewellery at the same time.
Why isn’t my Jewellery automatically insured in my homeowner’s policy?
It is a good thing that your Jewellery is not automatically covered. If insurance companies assumed everyone had expensive Jewellery in their possession, then you would potentially be paying more for insurance than necessary.
A higher price for home insurance is the last thing everyone wants. Instead, insurance companies offer a flexible option that is customized to our clients’ unique needs.
How much is it to insure my Jewellery?
Realistically, it is a very reasonable additional coverage. Generally speaking, Jewellery can be covered for approximately 1-2% of the total value. In dollar terms, a $5000 piece of Jewellery may cost $50 to $100 a year to insure. To get specifics on your pieces, get in touch with your Bryson Account Manager.
What is actually covered in my Jewellery insurance?
Theft of Jewellery – Whether stolen in your home, off your body, at the gym, in your car, etc., your item is covered
Damage of an item – whether a piece of Jewellery is partially or completely damaged, you are covered. Examples can include breaking a link on a necklace or losing a diamond as a result of a broken prong in your engagement ring.
Loss and disappearance – many insurance companies cover your scheduled Jewellery items even if you lose it or simply forget where you left it.
And what’s not covered?
Simple wear and tear is not covered. Over time, your Jewellery may get tarnished and scratched. This normal wear and tear is not covered by insurance companies. Insurance is there for the unexpected.
What types of Jewellery can I insure?
When it comes to Jewellery, there is a lot of freedom and flexibility in what can be insured. Engagement rings, wedding rings, necklaces, bracelets, diamond rings and earrings are some of the items that can be insured.
Many insurance companies have a limit on what can be insured. If you have questions about your specific needs, please reach out to our team today.
How do I get paid if my Jewellery is lost or damaged?
The process is simple. If something happens and a piece of Jewellery is lost, stolen or damaged, simply file a claim for the cost to repair or the full appraised amount.
How do I find out what my Jewellery is covered for now?
If you are a client of Bryson, your dedicated Account Manager is happy to have a conversation with you on this.
If you are not yet a client of Bryson Insurance, reach out today to start a conversation. Our team is happy to review your current insurance policy and compare it to your personal situation.
“Data is the new oil of the world.” Not only businesses are storing their intellectual property, proprietary, and confidential information in digital format but also the personal and sensitive personal data of their employees and clients. The question is, are they taking enough measures to secure the data and their liabilities and risks associated with it? As reported in 2019 Scalar Security Study, the average cost of responding and recovering from cyber security breaches has increased from $4.8m to $5.8m for Canadian businesses.
As businesses are investing in the latest cyber security management tools such as firewalls, antivirus, leakage protection, intrusion detection systems, and employee training, cyber crimes are equally evolving. It is becoming highly critical now for businesses to put in additional physical measures to protect their programmable electronic devices and communication networks including hardware, software and data or in other words, their cyber assets. Data must be protected with specific security standards and requirements. These are the practices we employ through people, processes, and technology to protect information and minimize the potential of a data breach. Below are some of the physical exposure risks your cyber assets face and how to mitigate those risks.
Cyber security policy and education
Train your employees about cyber security principals and ensure they practice these policies diligently. Employees should have their user accounts and also limit access to essential and sensitive data.
Secure your workplace
Workplace security helps to provide confidentiality, data integrity, data availability and authentication. It includes measures through which employees can protect their workstations assigned to them as appropriate, such as by using a cable lock and adhering to the company policies to protect any sensitive information to which they may have access.
Secure your IT infrastructure
This includes a regular update of antivirus, anti-spyware, and intrusion detection software, secure WiFi network, and use of a firewall. Secure practices for remote access to organizational data.
Regular back-up of data
Plan to back up all information including operating system, applications, software, and data on a regular basis.
Customer sensitive information can be thrown in the trash without knowing the consequences. Printed documents with confidential information should not be left unattended. Organizations should have strict rules around document printing procedures. Also, any material with such information has to be either securely placed under locks or disposed of safely and responsibly.
What is your cyber threat contingency plan?
While it is vital for businesses to come up with a mitigation plan for the risks associated with the cyber assets’ protection, it is equally important to come up with contingency plans as not only the cyber attacks disrupt the business, but it can also get extremely costly and hurt the reputation in the long term. The damage can be contained if companies will design their cyber security plan. Cyber Risk Insurance is a vital part of this contingency plan.
Cyber Risk Insurance is a type of general insurance that covers businesses and individuals against internet-based liability and risks such as data breaches, business interruptions, and network damage. Cyber security insurance has two categories of cyber liability coverage: first-party and third-party. While first-party coverage includes direct losses to a business or individual, the third-party coverage involves claims and legal actions taken by clients.
Cyber threats are getting more advanced; cyber security insurance products are increasingly being purchased alongside IT services. There is significant growth in cyber security insurance policies in the last two years.
At Bryson Insurance, we support business leaders by assessing their data security to advise how much cyber insurance coverage they need to survive a potential cyber risk and design customized cyber security insurance policies for them.
As you prepare your spring-cleaning checklist, ensure the HVAC system is on your list.
The average Ontario household spends over $2,300 on energy costs in their home throughout the year. Approximately half that cost is associated with heating and cooling the home. With rising energy costs, hotter summers and colder winters, staying on top of this household budget line is ever more important.
Beyond keeping immediate household costs down, maintaining your HVAC system helps reduce long-term replacement costs and is beneficial to the health and well-being of your family.
1. Change the filter in your furnace.
This is first because it is easy, quick and effective. A clean air filter is a big benefit to the health of your entire HVAC system and the health of your family. It’s reported a clean air filter can save up to 15% of the heating and cooling costs for your home.
For the HVAC system, a dirty filter means the HVAC motor must work harder to deliver air throughout your home. This wears on the motor while also pulling more energy to push the air through. A clean filter reduces current expense while also prolonging the entire system.
A clean filter also benefits your family with cleaner air. Pet dander is an all-year issue for pet owners but Spring is the season of pollination! With the beauty of blossoming around us comes the suffering of allergies for many. A clean air filter can keep your home as a safe spot for relief from allergies which keeps medical costs down as well.
2. Clean up the outside air conditioning unit.
Many AC units have a very tiny drainage hole located near the cabinet’s base. For the AC unit to work effectively, the hole must remain clear. You can use something small like a bobby pin, screw driver or paperclip to ensure the hole is clear.
While you’re doing that take a couple moments to ensure the space around the AC unit is clear. Clean any debris from the winter season. For garden planning, it is recommended that vegetation be at least two feet away from the unit.
3. Consider a smart thermostat.
Smart thermostats are not only the cool new thing to have in your home. A properly programmed thermostat can also save a good chunk on energy costs throughout the year while keeping your home cozy and comfortable.
A smart thermostat can program your home to be warmer (during the spring and summer) while you are not home and cooler while you are. With additional assistance from the user, these systems can also be programmed to get the most out of mid-peak and off-peak energy hours.
For many, operating a retail storefront is an exciting and rewarding experience. For some, opening a retail store is a dream; for others it is a prudent business opportunity while others open with a combination of the two. While it is easy to focus efforts on managing the day-to-day operations of the store, many business owners are not present to important exposures that need to be addressed to keep the business moving as planned.
While the type of store you manage does make a difference, there are a number of risk exposures to consider. These include exposures like product liability, general liability, business continuity, property damage and merchandise damage. We have put together a short list of exposures for you to consider.
Your building, signage, merchandise and equipment are all areas in which your business has invested. If an incident occurs to this or other property it can greatly impact your business’s long-term chance of surviving and thriving. Property exposures can be brought about by both natural and intentional sources including extreme weather, actions by customers and employees and straight up vandalism to your property.
Equipment Breakdown Exposure
“But I am not manufacturing anything, how can I have equipment breakdown exposure?” Great question. For many retail operations, the primary equipment concern is related to equipment to help service customers – like a point of sale system being taken out by a power outage. Things like this could cause interruptions in business or even have them shut down for a prolonged period. Equipment like the owner’s computer, HVAC systems, mechanical/electrical systems all have a chance of breaking down.
We often think about theft (product or money) and crime as the same thing but there are other crime-related exposures and scams that retail businesses need to consider as well. Retail money fraud is a significant concern, checkout fraud (swapping bar codes on products), returning stolen items for cash or store credit and online scams are all exposures your retail business faces.
Premises Liability Exposure
Trips, slips and falls are all significant concerns for retail operations. Many individuals are walking in, out and throughout your store throughout the day. When injuries occur in your business, you could be held responsible. Wet floors, uneven floors, unexpected steps and other small items can lead to big claims.
Product Liability Exposure
Did you know that if the products you sell harm a customer in any way, that they can sue your business? This leads to costly legal fees and settlements. Depending on the severity of the issue, costs can easily climb into 6-figures. You can do everything in your power to protect your business but mishaps happen and it is impossible to safeguard from all potential product hazards.
Business Interruption Exposure
What would happen to your cash flow if your business was not able to operate for a prolonged period? Natural disasters, fires, product recalls, cyber breach shutdowns, staff shortage or supplier issues are all potential reasons for a retail operation to be unwillingly closed. Business interruption, or business continuity, is a big exposure that can lead to an unfortunate end to retail businesses dreams being fulfilled.
Cyber Risk Exposure
Retail businesses are known targets for cyber crime. Retail operations process a high volume of debit and credit card information. Depending on the nature of the business, it is common for retail operations to keep personal data on clients. The biggest cyber threat is still human error and it can be challenging to make the time to properly train all staff on computer and data safety. This exposes your operation to ransomware, viruses, phishing scams and malware.
Employee Liability Exposure
Retail operations are known for slightly higher turnover than other industries. Each new hire and additional departure increase the employee liability risk for the employer. Employers are also required to create safe working environments for their employees. In a retail environment it is challenging to control who comes in the store and how those patrons act. An employee that goes through a distressing event due to a client or co-worker adds to the overall employee liability risk.
Some retail operations require employees to operate a vehicle on behalf of the business. This may include local delivery of goods, delivery to shipping locations, local deposit and banking, marketing material pick-up and delivery and many other business-related uses. While this is important for operations, improper use of a vehicle does lead to accidents and insurance claims.
If I loan my car to a friend and they get into an accident does it affect my insurance?
"When you loan your car, you loan your insurance." What do we mean by this? Matthew Leyland, Bryson's Director of Personal Insurance, shares liability concerns car owners need to consider before letting other people drive their vehicle.
If you still decide to loan your vehicle to someone, please confirm they have a valid driver's license in place and that they have active car insurance.
*You may be wondering if this changes when using a designated driving service to get your car home safely at the end of the evening. Unfortunately, like this Toronto woman found out post-accident, you are also loaning your insurance to the driver in a scenario like this too.*
For us, we see our purpose as your insurance broker as much more than ensuring you have the lowest price on your personal insurance (though we routinely save individuals and families a significant amount on their personal insurance). We believe in knowledge and in sharing that knowledge.
If you value authentic advice, a sense of partnership and personalized interactions, then it is time to see if the Bryson Experience is right for you.
What does legalized cannabis mean for Ontario employers? We asked Carole McAfee, partner with Toronto law firm Fernandes Hearn LLP, to share insight on employee practices risk management concerns employers should be considering.
Carole also joined back in June, before Canada legalized cannabis, to review current legislation, probable outcomes and provide best practices for employers in Ontario. You can view the Cannabis in the Workplace webinar here.
~ Transcript ~
My name is Carole McAfee Wallace and I am a Transportation Lawyer in Toronto.
Now that cannabis has been legalized my clients are contacting me to ask:
What are employee rights in the workplace and what employers dutie and obligations are?
First and foremost, if you don't already have a fit-for-duty policy or you haven't reviewed and updated your fit-for-duty policy, you should do that to ensure that everyone understands that, not withstanding it is now legal, recreational cannabis is not permitted in the workplace. Employees must come to work fit-to-perform free from impairment. So, that is the first thing.
The other thing that employers need to be mindful of is the human rights implications that we are reminded of now that cannabis is legalized. That is if an employee has a substance abuse issue or an addiction that it is a disability that is protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code, or the Canadian Human Rights Act if you are federally regulated. An employer must accommodate to the point of undo hardship.
Second, medical marijuana has been legal for a number of years In Canada. This also leads to employers duty to accommodate the employee to the point of undo hardship.
Bottom line, there is no duty to accommodate the use of recreational cannabis in the workplace.
Additional questions? Email Carole McAfee here.