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Romanov Report 50 – Oct 14, 2006

October 14, 2006

OPP Operation Impact

5,529 charges were laid in total, they were:

  • 69 drunks taken off the road
  • 4,052 minor speeding tickets
  • 193 speeding in excess of 50km/h
  • 56 careless driving charges
  • 73 traffic or stop light offences
  • 903 other tickets, including unsafe lane changes, following too closely, etc
  • 233 unsafe vehicles yanked off the road

And a special report from Driving.ca that’ll “Wake You Up”, before you “Get Smashed”:

Fight The Ticket In Court

The officer who issued you the ticket is not the judge and jury. Plead your case in front of a judge. It’s not just the cost of the ticket you’re fighting, it’s the insurance rate hike you’ll get because of the ticket. One ticket can increase your rate by $500 a year, two tickets can increase your rate by $1,500 and affect your rate for three years. You can check which insurance company has the lowest rate by clicking on the link below:

Get a car insurance quote now.

Home Insurance Is A Steal

Having insurance is your best protection against home invasion, and it’s cheap!

Dare To Compare: Do your own quote for home, condo or tenant insurance and see how little you pay for this protection:  Get a quote now.

Home insurance rates can have a spread of $100′s of dollars between insurance company quotes.  A home valued at $280,000 in Toronto, with a $500 deductible, can vary from $692 to $1,040.  Packaging your home and auto insurance with the same insurance company often means extra discounts for both policies.

Tenant insurance covers your belongings, and provides liability insurance in case you cause injury to another tenant. $20,000 of contents coverage could cost just slightly over $100.

Condo insurance covers your personal contents and condo upgrades like better carpets, and so forth. The condo policy also provides liability insurance. The cost is very little, often under $200 a year.

Home vs. Auto Insurance

Government Mis-Management:  Auto insurance in Ontario is regulated by the provincial government, including the wording of the policy and even the rates. But, home insurance is not government regulated, so not only are the rates all over the board, but coverage, limits and exclusions also vary.

Be Warned: Every licensed driver in Ontario has access to auto insurance, regardless of his driving record.  But, the homeowner has no such guarantee. There are high risk home insurers, but even those companies can limit or exclude coverage or decline you altogether.  Standard home insurance companies can cancel your policy or not offer you a renewal at their own discretion. Auto insurers can only cancel or non-renew your policy if their reasons are acceptable to the provincial regulators.

Home Coverage

Your home insurance covers your dwelling, contents, detached private structures, additional living expenses, personal liability, voluntary payments for medical expenses and voluntary payments for damage to property of others.  Most homeowner policies are either Broad Form or Comprehensive.

3 Types of Homeowner Policies

Standard or Basic: This coverage is not so good. Your dwelling and contents are insured against such perils as fire, lightning, explosion, smoke, falling objects, impact by aircraft or land vehicle, riot, vandalism or malicious acts, water damage, windstorm or hail and electricity.  Note that many of these items have stated restrictions.  The standard policy has a list of specific exclusions.

Your claim will be settled using “Actual Cash Value”, which means depreciation will be taken into account. Your five year old TV may only be worth $100 and you will not be able to replace the TV for the purchased amount.

Broad Form: This coverage is okay. The Broad Form policy provides:

All risk means you are insured for any loss unless it is specifically excluded in your policy.

The named perils coverage includes fire, lightning, explosion, smoke, falling objects, impact by aircraft or land vehicle, riot, vandalism or malicious acts, water damage, windstorm or hail and electricity.

The Broad Form policy has a list of specific exclusions.  Your policy may include Guaranteed Replacement on your dwelling and/or contents.  This means a claim is settled without using depreciation, meaning your damaged item, such as a TV, is replaced with a new one, regardless of the age of your damaged TV and regardless of its value today.

Comprehensive Policy: This coverage is superior and what you should have. This policy provides:

All losses are covered, unless they are specifically excluded in your policy.

The Comprehensive policy includes “Guaranteed Replacement” of your dwelling and contents, so your claim is settled without depreciation being a factor.

Policy Exclusions and Limits

All policies are not the same, but most have standard excluded perils such as faulty workmanship, wear and tear, flood, continuous seepage, business use, damage caused by rodents, illegally acquired property, vacant dwellings, war, terrorism, resultant damage caused by any growing, storing or manufacturing of narcotics, and earthquakes, just to name a few.

Homeowner, tenant and condo policies also have limits on some items, such as jewelry, fine arts, money, silverware and gold, or even bicycles. It is important to check your limits to be sure you are adequately protected, or if you need to insure some of these items separately, for an extra premium.

  • “All Risk” coverage on your “Dwelling”
  • “Named Perils” coverage on “Contents”
  • “All Risk” coverage on your “Dwelling” and “Contents”

Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone steals your name, your hat, or other personal information for fraudulent purposes.

Approximately 1,400 to 1,800 Canadian identity theft complaints are called in every month.

Once they have your name, date of birth, address, social insurance number or any credit card number, they can use that information to get replacement credit cards or to apply for new credit cards, redirect your mail, rent vehicles, sell your home, get access to utilities such as telephone or electrical, or even get a job. They can also collect government benefits, and access your RRSP’s or pension benefits. They can also use your bank debit card to drain your account.

  • Only 15% of victims find out about the theft through proactive action taken by a business.
  • The average time spent by victims resolving the problem is about 600 hours.
  • 73% of respondents indicated the crime involved the thief acquiring a credit card.
  • The emotional impact is similar to that of victims of violent crime.

Prevention Of Identity Theft

It’s a good idea to check your credit profile once in awhile to make sure it hasn’t been affected by identity theft. Also if you order it you can check it regularly at no cost. To do so, click below:

Check your credit file with the credit bureaus:

Report fraudulent activities to:

*Phonebusters is a national anti-fraud call centre operated by law-enforcement agencies, including the RCMP. The centre collects complaints and forwards them to the appropriate law-enforcement agencies.

Clues You’ve Been Victimized:

  • Your bank statement, online activity or passbook lists transactions you haven’t performed or authorized.
  • A creditor informs you that an application for credit has been received with your name and address on it, which you did not fill out.
  • You receive credit card statements or other bills in your name that do not belong to you.
  • You no longer receive legitimate credit card or bank account statements, or you notice that not all of your mail is being delivered.
  • A collection agency informs you that they are collecting for a defaulted account established in your name, but you have no knowledge of the account.

What If You’ve Been Victimized?

  • If you believe you may be a victim of identity theft, it’s very important that you act immediately by reporting the incident to the appropriate organization.
  • Sign all credit cards when you receive them.
  • Never loan your credit cards to anyone.
  • Cancel credit cards you do not use and keep a list of the ones you use regularly.
  • Immediately report lost or stolen credit cards and any discrepancies in your monthly statements to the credit card company.
  • Never leave receipts at bank machines, bank wickets, in trash cans, or at unattended gasoline pumps; ensure you destroy receipts you no longer need.
  • Sign up for automatic deposits and pay your bills online through your bank’s secured website.
  • When you shop online, make sure the website’s address begins with “https”.  The “s” at the end stands for “secure”, and it means that your information will be encrypted and protected.
  • Never provide personal information such as social insurance number, date of birth, credit card numbers, or PIN over the telephone unless you initiate the call.
  • Avoid keeping a written record of your bank PIN number(s), social insurance number and computer passwords, and never keep this information in your wallet or hand bag.
  • Make sure your passwords are hard to crack by making them a combination of numbers, letters and symbols.
  • Avoid mail, email, or telephone solicitations disguised as promotions or surveys offering instant prizes or awards designed for the purpose of obtaining your personal details including credit card numbers.
  • Notify creditors and/or financial institutions immediately if your bank cards, credit cards or identification are lost or have been stolen.
  • File a report with your local police.
  • Cancel credit cards, and notify utility companies and government agencies.

Home Insurance & Identity Theft Protection

Presently several insurance companies are offering this coverage. Here is information about two of them:

Dominion of Canada: This overage is automatically included in their home, condo and tenant’s packages at no cost. It has a $250 deductible and a $25,000 limit:

ING Insurance:  The ING product can be included in any existing company property or combined home and auto policy starting at $2.50 per month. Coverage includes reimbursement of basic expenses, access to specialized legal and other services to help repair damage to credit ratings, deal with potential lawsuits, prevent harassment by creditors and restore the victim’s good name.  It also covers lost wages, loan re-application fees, legal representation, and minor costs like couriers, postage, and long-distance phone calls.

Bonus: ING’s plan has a zero deductible, and using their inquiry line or theft related expenses for reimbursement will not count as a claim against your home insurance, meaning that the customer keeps their claims-free discount.

Complications Causing Higher Insurance Rates

Here are some complications which may increase your home insurance rate, limit your coverage or exclude it entirely by some insurance companies.

  • 60 Amp electrical service
  • Knob and tube wiring
  • Galvanized plumbing or iron pipes
  • Oil tank over twenty years old
  • First time home insurance
  • Multiple claims
  • High valued home
  • High valued possessions like jewelry or art
  • Century home or home designated historical
  • More than one mortgagee
  • Home is on an island or is far from a fire hall
  • Business in the home
  • More than one tenant or student lodger
  • Log homes
  • Home is vacant