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Tag Archive: Auto Insurance

  1. The Impacts of Distracted Driving

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    When you aren’t focused on the road things can happen fast. Too often we hear of pedestrians being struck by a car, the fortunate ones being able to walk away. Most of these incidents have one thing in common, distracted driving. The government is listening and has taken serious necessary action.

    What is Distracted Driving? Using your phone to talk, text, check maps and depending on the circumstances, can also include eating, grooming or even drinking beverages.

    Effective January 1, 2019, distracted driving charges are changing. The new penalties are as follows:

    Drivers with A to G licenses

    First Conviction

    Second Conviction

    Third Conviction

    -A fine of up to $1,000
    -Three demerit points
    -A three-day day driver’s licence suspension
    -A fine of up to $2,000
    -Six demerit points
    -A seven-day driver’s licence suspension
    -A fine of up to $3,000
    -Six demerit points
    -A 30-day driver’s licence suspension

    Drivers with G1, G2, M1 or M2 licenses

    First Conviction

    Second Conviction

    Third Conviction

    -A fine of up to $1,000
    -A 30-day licence suspension
    -A fine of up to $2,000
    -A 90-day licence suspension
    -A fine of up to $3,000
    -Cancellation of your licence and removal from the Graduated Licensing System (GLS)

     Along with these increased penalties, one of the biggest financial costs could be your insurance rates.

    Insurance companies are now beginning to treat distracted driving just as they would impaired driving, careless driving and racing.

    This means that a first offence could lead to your insurance being non-renewed, forcing you into a high risk market, with significantly higher insurance costs. In addition, you could be subjected to a 50% surcharge on top of these higher base rates.

    This ticket impacts your record for three years, so the costs for this infraction could end up costing you thousands of dollars over that time.

    For more information on these changes, please give us a call or visit:

  2. Canada’s Top 10 Stolen Vehicles of 2017

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    Coming outside to discover your vehicle is not where you left it is a frustrating experience no vehicle owner should have to face. Yet, the fact remains that more than 78,000 Canadian drivers had such an experience between 2015 and 2016 according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). To help minimize the number of auto theft cases and put certain vehicle owners on high alert, the IBC publishes an annual list of the Top 10 Most Frequently Stolen Vehicles.

    Here are the vehicles that made the list for 2017.

    1. 2015 Lexus GX460 4-Door AWD SUV
    2. 2007 Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD Pickup
    3. 2006 Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD Pickup
    4. 2005 Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD Pickup
    5. 2001 Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD Pickup
    6. 2003 Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD Pickup
    7. 2004 Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD Pickup
    8. 2016 Toyota 4Runner 4-Door 4WD SUV
    9. 2002 Ford F-350 Super Duty 4WD Pickup
    10. 2006 Ford F-250 Super Duty 4WD Pickup

    If your vehicle is on this top 10 list, there are steps you can take to make it less of a target for thieves. The IBC recommends that you:

    – Never leave your vehicle running while it’s unattended.
    – Always park in places that are well lit.
    – Close your sunroof and windows and lock your doors whenever you park your vehicle.
    – Store valuables and packages out of plain sight, preferably in the trunk.
    – Keep your car in the garage at night.
    – Don’t leave personal information in the glove box. Take your insurance and ownership documents with you when you park your vehicle.

    Keep in mind that it takes less than one minute to steal the average vehicle. Thieves are looking for easy targets, so following these tips will go a long way in making your vehicle a less attractive option.

    In the unfortunate incident that your vehicle is stolen despite your best efforts to keep it safe, call the police immediately. To make it easier for the police to recover your vehicle, you should be able to provide your vehicle identification number (VIN), registration, license plate number and driver’s license information. Tip: Keep this information in your smartphone so you can access it quickly.

    After you file a police report, don’t forget to contact your insurance broker to let them know your vehicle has been stolen. Informing your broker can help protect you in case your vehicle is used to cause harm or damage after the theft.

  3. Red Light Cameras

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    The goal of the Red Light Camera Enforcement Program is to improve driver and pedestrian safety by reducing the number of right angle collisions at intersections. The Red Light Program is expected to change driver behaviour and reduce the number and severity of these collisions across York Region.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q. What is red light running?
    It is a violation that occurs when a driver enters an intersection after the signal light has turned red.

    Q. What if I am making a left turn and the light turns red when my vehicle is still in the intersection?
      Drivers already at an intersection when the signal changes to red (when waiting to turn, for example) are not considered red light runners.

    Q. Do red light cameras replace police officers at intersections?
     No. Red light cameras do not replace police officers. The red light cameras are being used to help police efforts in discouraging motorists from running red lights. Police enforcement is a substantial component of the program.

    Q. Do the cameras photograph every vehicle passing through an intersection?
     The cameras are set to photograph vehicles that enter an intersection after the light has turned red. Vehicles that enter yellow and are within the intersection when the light changes to red, are not photographed. The program photographs vehicles that enter an intersection only after the signal has turned red.

    Q. Who reviews the photographs before motorists are ticketed?
     Trained officers review every picture to verify information and ensure that the vehicle is in violation. Tickets are mailed to vehicle owners only in cases where it is clear that the vehicle ran the red light.

    Q. Who receives a ticket for running a red light detected by a camera system?
     The registered license plate holder receives the ticket, regardless of who was driving the vehicle.

    Q. What is the penalty for running a red light based on evidence obtained by a camera system?
     As of January 1, 2010 the set fine for running a red light detected by a camera system was increased to $260 plus a $60 victim surcharge and a $5 court cost. The total payable is now $325. Demerit points are not issued with violations detected by the red light camera system.

    Q. What is the penalty for running a red light if caught by a police officer?
     The set fine for running a red light when caught by a police officer is $325. Failure to stop for a red light where a police officer issues a ticket results in three demerit points.

    Q. Where do the fines go?
     $265 goes to York Region and the Province of Ontario collects $60 as a Victim Fine Surcharge.

    Q. Do red light cameras violate privacy?
     In consultation with the Privacy Commissioner, every attempt has been made to minimize capturing members of the public in the photos. In the event that members of the public are inadvertently captured on film, it will not be possible to identity them from the photos included on the tickets.

    Q. What is the cost of a red light camera?
     A red light camera system costs approximately $100,000.

    Q. Who supplies the cameras? How big are the cameras? What is their location relative to the intersection?
     The system supplier is Traffipax. The camera is an industrial digital camera, manufactured for unattended operation in an outdoor environment. The cameras are housed in a one half metre by one half metre by one half metre enclosure. The cameras are mounted on a pole, approximately 20 metres in advance of the intersection and are mounted approximately 3.6 metres above the ground.

    Q. What other countries use red light cameras?
     Photographic detection devices are used extensively in many other countries including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the United States. Cameras are also used in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Quebec.

  4. Winter Tires

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    It’s no secret that in Ontario we are subject to harsh winters. Once the temperature drops below 7° C, all-season and summer tires begin to harden like hockey pucks. This reduces the traction drastically making it more dangerous to operate your vehicle.

    Winter tires are constructed with different rubber compounds allowing them to stay soft and flexible in colder temperatures. This translates into more grip and better stopping power during the winter months.

    Insurance companies have recognized this benefit and now offer discounts for having winter tires installed on your vehicle. The discount ranges from 3% to 5% depending on your insurance company.

    There are some restrictions on the availability of this discount including:

    • Tires must be marked with the Alpine Symbol (or clearly labeled as winter tires).
    • Full set of 4 tires must be installed.
    • Must be installed through the winter months.

    Additional restrictions may apply.

    If you would like more information or to have your discount added today, please give us a call.

  5. Road Safety: Pedestrians

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    It is up to both drivers and pedestrians to keep everyone safe on Ontario roads. Learn more about how to stay safe as a pedestrian and as a driver.

    For Pedestrians

    It is up to both drivers and pedestrians to keep everyone safe on Ontario roads. Learn more about how to stay safe as a pedestrian and as a driver.

    • Cross only at marked crosswalks or traffic lights. Don’t cross in the middle of the block or between parked cars.
    • Make sure drivers see you before you cross. If the driver is stopped, make eye contact before you step into the road.
    • Wear bright or light-coloured clothing or reflective strips, especially at dusk or when it’s dark.
    • At a traffic light:
      • Cross when traffic has come to a complete stop.
      • Begin to cross at the start of the green light or “Walk” signal, where provided.
      • Do not start to cross if you see a flashing “Do Not Walk” symbol or the light turns yellow.  If you already started to cross, complete your crossing in safety.
      • Never cross on a red light.
    • Watch for traffic turning at intersections or turning into and leaving driveways.

    For Drivers

    Pay special attention to pedestrians as you drive. Here are some tips to follow:

    • Always look for pedestrians, especially when turning.
    • Watch for children. Drive slowly and cautiously through school zones, residential areas, or any other area where children could be walking or playing.
    • Watch out for Community Safety Zone signs that indicate areas where public safety is a special concern, including the possibility of encountering pedestrians.
    • Be patient, especially with seniors or pedestrians with disabilities who need more time to cross the road.
    • Drive carefully near streetcar stops with islands or zones for passengers getting on and off. Pass them at reasonable speeds, and always be ready in case pedestrians make sudden or unexpected moves.

    For parents

    Show your children how to cross a road safely. Teach them to:

    • Stay to the side of the road, walking as far away from traffic as they safely can
    • Stop at the edge of the sidewalk, and look both ways before crossing the road
    • Take extra care on roadways that have no curbs
    • Watch out for blind corners (for example, a car coming out of an alley may not see a child pedestrian about to cross).

    Read More:

  6. What to do After an Automobile Accident

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    STEP 1
    Stop. If your vehicle is involved in an accident and you don’t stop, you may be subject to criminal prosecution.

    STEP 2
    If anyone is injured, if the total damage to all the vehicles involved appears to be MORE than $2,000, or if you suspect that any of the other drivers involved are guilty of a Criminal Code offence (such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol), call 911 and follow the instructions given to you by the emergency operator. Police will arrive as soon as possible.

    Do not try to move anyone injured in the accident — you may aggravate their injuries!

    If no one is injured and total damage to all the vehicles involved appears to be LESS than $2,000, call your local police for instructions. Police units may or may not be dispatched to the scene. If local police do not attend the scene of the accident, they will instruct you to report to a Collision Reporting Centre within 24 hours.

    Collision Reporting Centres are police facilities created to assist motorists in reporting motor vehicle accidents. At the reporting centre you will be assisted in completing a police report, and damage to the vehicle will be photographed.

    Collision Reporting Centres are currently available in a number of jurisdictions across the province. Visit: or call: (416) 745-3301 to locate the Collision Reporting Centre nearest to you.

    If there isn’t a Collision Reporting Centre in the area of the accident, the police will ask you to go to the nearest police station to file a report.

    STEP 3
    If it is safe to do so, move your vehicle to the side of the road, out of traffic. If your vehicle cannot be driven, turn on your hazard lights or use cones, warning triangles or flares, as appropriate.

    If you have access to a digital camera or a cell phone, you should use it to take pictures of the scene; preferably before the vehicles are moved.  You should also use your cell phone to audio record as much information as possible.

    STEP 4
    Write down the names, addresses, and telephone and driver’s licence numbers of all of the other drivers, the licence plate numbers of the other vehicles, as well as the names and addresses of the registered owners of the vehicles, and the insurance information for each of the other vehicles.

    STEP 5
    Also obtain the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of passengers and witnesses.

    STEP 6
    Jot down specific details about the scene of the accident, using the accident report form below.

    STEP 7
    Give us a call at (905) 886-4913 or visit our claims page to report the accident as soon as possible after the accident.


    • As difficult as it may seem, it is important that you remain calm.
    • Do not argue with other drivers and passengers. Save your story for the police.
    • Do not voluntarily assume liability or take responsibility, sign statements regarding fault, or promise to pay for damage at the scene of the accident.
    • Be careful of unauthorized tow truck operators pressuring you to have your vehicle towed, demanding immediate payment for the tow, or attempting to take your vehicle to a garage or body shop of their choice. They may try to use the confusion of the moment to intimidate you into allowing your vehicle to be towed. If you feel you are being pressured, ask the police for the name of an authorized tow truck operator and have your vehicle towed to a Collision Reporting Centre or a police compound until you can talk to your insurance company.


    Download – Glove Box Accident Report Form

  7. Ontario Automobile Insurance Reforms

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    Effective June 1, 2016, to help make insurance premiums more affordable, the benefits and coverages you receive in a standard auto insurance policy are changing – some have been reduced, and some options for increased coverage have been eliminated or changed.

    When it’s time to renew or purchase auto insurance on or after June 1, 2016, the standard auto insurance policy you receive from your insurance company will have the new lower benefits – unless you contact us to purchase increased optional coverages.

    The following chart is a summary of the most significant changes to auto insurance:


    Current Policy

    New Policy

    Buy-up Option

    Rehabilitation and Attendant Care Benefit for Non-Catastrophic injuries $50,000 $65,000 (new combined total) Increase the benefit to $130,000
    Attendant Care $36,000 Increase to $2,000,000 (for catastrophic injuries)
    Non-Catastrophic injuries (Minor injuries i.e. sprains, whiplash and serious injuries i.e. broken bones severe strains). $1,000,000 (for catastrophic injuries) $1,000,000 total for Medical, Rehabilitation and Attendant Care (for Catastrophic injuries) Increase to $1,000,000 (for Non-
    Catastrophic injuries)

    There are many other options available to purchase additional or increased benefits and coverages. The following chart lists some but not all of those and indicates if those options will change on June 1, 2016.


    Current Policy

    New Policy

    Buy-up Option

    Income Replacement benefit 70% of gross income up to $400 per week. No change To increase the weekly limit to $600, $800 or $1,000 per week.
    Caregiver benefit catastrophic injuries: Up to $250 per week for the first dependent plus $50 for each additional dependent. No change To make the same amounts available in current policy  for catastrophic injuries available for all injuries.
    Housekeeping and Home Maintenance expenses Available only for catastrophic injuries: Up to $100 per week. No change To make the same amounts available in current policy for catastrophic injuries available for all injuries.
    Death and Funeral benefits $25,000 lump sum to an eligible spouse; $10,000 lump sum to each dependent; maximum $6,000 funeral benefits. No change $50,000 lump sum to an eligible spouse; $20,000 lump sum to each dependent; maximum $8,000 funeral benefits.
    Dependent Care benefit Not provided Not provided To purchase this benefit and add up to $75 per week for the first dependent and $25 per week for each additional dependent to a maximum of $150 per week.
    Indexation benefit Not provided Not provided To add an annual adjustment for inflation for many benefits according to the Consumer.
    Third Party Liability $200,000 minimum for claims as a result of lawsuits against you. No change Options exist to increase the minimum amount.
    Tort Deductible $36,905.40 deductible for court awarded compensation for pain and suffering (Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2016) No change Reduce deductible by $10,000 regardless of annual indexation percentage increases.

    Please give us a call if you have any further questions or if you are interested in the increased limits.