Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to our FAQ page. Answers provided are intended to serve as a guideline only. Always be sure to talk to us for more specific answers to your questions.
If your question is not answered in this section, please contact us by using our General Inquiries form, or by calling us.
Basic Insurance (ICBC) Autoplan
If you have additional questions, please contact us.
Private (Optional) Insurance
Rather, as an independent broker, we can go to other private insurance companies to access the precise coverage you need and at great rates.
Even better, when you buy your (optional) auto insurance from us and combine it with your home insurance, we can save you even more money!
For questions pertaining to optional auto insurance, please see Auto Insurance or contact us.
Home Insurance: Claims Processing
What is the process that my insurance company follows when I file a claim?
Once you contact us, here is what happens:
We gather the facts surrounding your claim, complete a Loss Notice form, and explain the claim-handling procedures to you.
The Loss Notice is faxed to your insurance company or if your loss is urgent, it will be phoned into the insurance company.
The insurance company will be assigned to either an adjuster on their staff or a local independent adjuster.
The nature of your claim will determine what happens next.
Many claims are straight forward and can be handled by telephone. The adjuster will take a statement from you and you will be asked to compile a list of damaged or stolen property. The insurance adjuster will work with you in getting estimates for replacement or repair for these damaged or stolen items. There are several ways settlements can be made—the adjuster can issue payments directly to you, (less your applicable deductible), or sometimes it’s more convenient for them to pay the supplier directly. They will work with you to make it as easy as possible.
For more serious claims, such as fire or severe wind or water damage, the adjuster will contact a restoration company to attend to the damage immediately. The restoration company has all the necessary equipment for emergency service such as securing your home after a break-in or fire. They will tarp your home, for example, if there is damage to your roof and they have special drying equipment for water damage.
In addition, some losses require an investigation to determine how the damage occurred and if the policy covers it. Our priority and that of the insurance company, however, is to always make sure that you and your family are safe and your home and property are protected from further damage.
Fortunately, even the most serious claims do not have to be complicated and the adjusters and contractors will work hard to get you back to “normal” as soon as possible.
How can Park Insurance handle my claim quickly and efficiently when I live hundreds of kilometres from your offices?
How will filing a claim affect my insurance rates and claim history? (Optional) Insurance
Most insurance companies offer a discount after three years without any claims and if a claim is made, the discount is lost. Also, insurance companies review your claims history each time you renew your policy. If you have filed several claims over a certain period, the insurance company may take some action such as increasing your deductible. Contact us for details.
If there is damage to my home or contents, will that be settled on a depreciated or a non-depreciated basis?
Most building settlements are on a non-depreciated basis, and policies settle contents claims on the same basis. Such a settlement on contents normally requires that you actually replace them. Should you choose to settle on a cash basis, the settlement reverts to a depreciated one.
Will my homeowner policy pick up the extra cost of having to conform to current building codes (e.g., bringing the electrical wiring up to current regulations)?
It depends. Some insurance companies do include this coverage, however, most do not. Nonetheless, even if an insurance company does not include this coverage in their basic policy, additional coverage can be purchased to meet this possibility. In addition to meeting building codes, you should also be aware of how this issue could possibly impact on your other properties, such as rental or seasonal properties. For example, if you own a cottage that suffers major damage that requires you to rebuild it, local bylaws may require that your replacement cottage be moved further back from the lake, which could involve significant extra expense. Please contact us for additional details on this topic.
Home Insurance: Choosing Insurance
We're going to be building a house. How do I insure it while it's under construction?
The best way is to purchase a “Course of Construction” policy when you start to build. You should be sure to tell us that the house is currently under construction.
I own a home that no one is currently living in. Will it be difficult to insure?
It certainly could be. Several factors will influence whether or not you can get insurance for your vacant home. Is the house currently for sale? How long do you plan to leave it vacant? Does someone check on it regularly? Is the house secluded from view? Call us and we will work with you to get the coverage you need for your vacant properties.
Do home insurance policies vary from one insurance company to another?
Very much so, although there are broad similarities. There are generally three types of policies, known in the industry as the Standard (or Basic), the Broad, and the Comprehensive.
Standard: The standard policy provides protection against a number of “named perils” that might cause damage to the dwelling and its contents. “Named perils” could include such things as fire, lightning, windstorm, hail, theft, and specific types of water damage.
Broad: The broad policy expands the “named perils” coverage on a dwelling to “all risks” coverage, but leaves the coverage for your contents on a “named perils” basis. (“All risks” coverage provides protection from anything that can cause you loss or damage, unless the policy specifically excludes that cause of damage. Typical exclusions on an “all risks” policy could include faulty workmanship—e.g. your roof shingling was not properly installed and the shingles are now causing water to leak into your home. Another example is wear and tear—even “all risks” policies would not provide protection if some component of your home or contents simply wears out.)
Comprehensive: The comprehensive policy provides “all risks” coverage on both the dwelling AND the contents. This is the most commonly purchased policy.
I understand the water damage coverage varies very much from one policy to another. What should I be concerned about?
You really need to have us explain the various options available to you. At the low end of the scale, water damage caused by water overflow from the plumbing system, water from burst pipes, and also frozen pipes could be covered, but not damage caused by continuous seepage, sewer backup, etc. Therefore, it is important that you understand precisely what your policy covers—and what is excluded.
We are planning to do renovations on our home. Should we call you before we begin?
Most insurance companies require that you notify them (via your broker), and in particular if the renovations will be over a certain dollar value. If you plan to hire contractors to do some of the work, it is important to make sure that they carry general liability insurance, as well as workers compensation insurance for their employees.
Can I make monthly payments on my home insurance?
Yes. At Park Insurance, we offer that service to our customers. It’s easy and convenient. Please contact us for the details.
How can I determine the value of my artwork, antiques, and record collection?
First, it’s a good idea to take photos of these items. (Actually, it’s a good idea to take pictures or a video of all your house contents). Second, write up the details for these items that a photograph may not capture, such as the name of the artist, dimensions or unique features about the item, etc. Finally, get an appraiser to assess the value of your items and give you a written copy of the appraisal. Keep copies of this documentation in a safe place, such as a safety deposit box.
I operate a business from my home, is this automatically covered on my policy?
Most home insurance policies provide limited coverage for business property (computers, printers, etc.); business operations and liability are excluded from these policies. Contact Us for details on cost effective coverage for your home business.
I have rental properties and need insurance. Do you provide insurance for this?
Yes, we do. Please contact our Customer Service Department.
I'm a tenant in a high-rise apartment building and have very little personal property; do I really need tenant insurance?
Although you may not be interested in getting coverage for the contents of your apartment, a tenant policy also provides protection against damage you might cause to the structure of your apartment or the structure of other apartments or your neighbours’ personal property. For example, if you have a kitchen fire that gets out of control, or you forget to turn off the water in your tub and it causes damage to your apartment or other people’s property, then you could be held legally reponsible to pay for these damages.
Or, imagine one of your neighbours causes a fire and now you have to move out for an extended period of time while repairs are being made to the building. With additional living expense insurance, these continuous expenses are covered. Therefore, tenant insurance provides excellent value and peace of mind—and in some cases for as little as $1 per day. For more information on why you should have tenant insurance, call us for more details.