10 Ways changing your driving can save big bucks on your fuel bill.

Tweaking your behaviour behind the wheel can be a pain — but it could also save you minimum $500 or more in gas every year

Typically when drivers want to make drastic gains in their fuel efficiency, they’ll swap whatever gas-guzzler they’ve got with a less-thirsty alternative.

But you can save hundreds of dollars a year at the pump just by changing the way you drive. We’ve drafted this list of 10 tips that, collectively, should save you up to $500 or more in fuel per year, if applied properly and depending on your vehicle of course.

Some of these you might already know, some are just applied common sense, while some sound counter-intuitive. Like our first tip, for example…

Tip 1: Accelerate briskly

You’ve likely heard slow starts off the line at stoplights are one of the best ways to reduce your fuel consumption. Guess what? The longer you take to reach your cruising speed, the more you stretch the energy demand.

It’s actually better to accelerate adroitly — not peeling out or burning rubber, since, yes, your high-revving engine will make you pay at the pump later if you floor it. But applying about two-thirds throttle is perfect.

Does your car have a manual transmission? First gear should be used only to get the vehicle rolling, with a rapid gear change through all the following ratios to keep RPMs as low as possible. With some older automatic transmissions, shifting to a higher (and more beneficial) gear can be achieved by briefly taking your foot off the accelerator.

Tip 2: Stick to high-speed highways

Now you’ve reached cruising velocity, stay there. Nothing makes your engine thirstier than braking and re-accelerating. This is why it’s greedier at lower, variable speeds in-city compared to the higher, constant speeds of the highway. So when possible, choose highways instead of urban roads.

Have to go through heavy traffic in-town? Keep your distance from other cars and anticipate traffic movement, two tips that also save on brakes and tire wear. This helps cut down how much coming-to-a-complete-stop you’ll have to do, which in turns saves fuel.

Tip 3: Don’t coast to a stop in neutral

Remember when grandpa told you to let your vehicle coast in neutral because the reduced load on the engine would save gas? That hasn’t been true for at least 20 years, since while , yes, modern vehicles are designed to shut off their fuel supply when decelerating, they only do so if a gear is engaged.

You can test this one out on some new cars: with the on-board computer set to show instantaneous consumption, go into neutral gear. You’ll see a bit of fuel wasted, as if you were idling. Coasting could also adversely affect revs when you go back into gear, and full-on “free-wheeling” runs the risk of keeping you from reacting quickly in the case of an emergency where you might need to accelerate.

Tip 4: Keep your speed at a nice even 100 km/h

If you really want to save substantial money at the gas pump, don’t drive at 120 km/h on the highway. We’re not talking about avoiding fines for breaking the law, we’re talking about another set of laws — the laws of physics, which stipulates that the aerodynamic drag on your car at 120 km/h causes your car to burn at least 20 per cent more fuel than it would at 100 km/h.

If you commute along at least 50 km/h of highway per day in a vehicle with average-for-Canada fuel efficiency, this simple difference in speeds can save you around $400 per year (at an assumed $1.10 per litre for fuel). Double that if you drive a bigger SUV.

Tip 5: Don’t rely on adaptive cruise control

Your car’s cruise control is great for maintaining a steady speed on highway, helping save an average of seven per cent on gas, and at max, twice as much. That said, modern adaptive cruise control systems can negatively affect fuel mileage in high-traffic situations because they constantly alter your speed to match the car ahead. In those situations, it’s often better if you take control of the throttle.

Cruise control also might not be your best bet when roads are up hill and down; a system struggling to maintain a given speed on hilly terrains will not maximize your fuel efficiency. In those cases, not only you should forget about cruise control, but you should go with the flow, even if it means resisting the temptation to floor the accelerator. Rather, nurse your fuel consumption by being slight and gradual with pedal application, in tune with a low-RPMs-momentum.

Admittedly, your trip uphill might take a little longer, but you’ll catch up on the downhill letting your car coast – not in neutral, remember – while you mind the speed limits, of course.

Tip 6: Buy a block heater

If your car doesn’t have a block heater already, get one, and use it every time the temperature drops below zero. Every component of your car that needs to be warmed – the engine, its fluids, etc. – will get to temp faster. Warmer oil means less wear on your engine, savings in fuel consumption and reduced emissions.

How much can you save at the pump if you install a block heater? More or less the cost of a daily coffee. Indeed, CAA-Quebec did some experiments with vehicles it did and didn’t plug in. Over a two-month period at an average temperature of -10 degrees Celsius, the heated cars saw 15 per cent less fuel consumption for the first 20 kilometers of driving. Some vehicles showed a whopping 33-per-cent improvement.

To save energy overall, connect your block heater to a timer so it only starts three or four hours before your morning departure. Leaving it on longer turns your gas savings into wasted electricity.

Tip 7: Keep your tires inflated

We won’t repeat how and when you should check your tires’ pressure — that’s a topic we’ve already covered before. But we’ll tell you why you should. For every temperature drop of 6 degrees Celsius, your tires lose 1 psi of pressure.

Mother Nature sends us a cold front? If you haven’t topped off your tires recently, that snap could see them underinflated by roughly eight psi (56 kPa), at which point you’re wasting about four per cent more fuel, says Natural Resources Canada. In the long run, not only will you be frittering away pennies at the pump, you’ll be cutting down the life expectancy of your tires by up to 10,000 km, the government body says.

So when’s the last time you checked your tires’ pressure? If you don’t remember, you’re among the one-third of Canadian drivers, says tire industry research, who likely has at least one tire underinflated by more than 10 per cent.

Tip 8: Mind where you park

The last time you went to the shopping mall, where did you park? Did you start at the entrance then zig-zag down the rows searching for the spot? When you found it, did you drive in nose-first? Know that you would have saved gas – and time – if you started your hunt in a more remote corner of the lot full of spots, especially if you found a space you could leave without backing up from.

It’s a small savings, but every little bit helps — and if you’re able, the exercise walking to the store entrance isn’t bad either.

Tip 9: Lighten your load

This tip won’t break the bank either, but sort through the stuff you leave in your car. That old hockey bag, that sacks of de-icing salt, that old box of books you keep forgetting to donate — they don’t weigh a lot on their, but altogether, getting rid of them may save you gas. Every 25 kg of extra mass increases the fuel consumption of a mid-size car by about one per cent.

Hypermilers” maximizing their economy will go as far as unbolting their rear seat, but we’ll stop short of that and other controversial techniques they employ.

Tip 10: Try not to idle so much

You already know it, but idling does little but waste gas. We’re talking between a quarter and a half-litre for every 10 minutes in a car going… nowhere. (That’s just one good reason a block heater works better than a remote starter.)

Natural Resources Canada says, balancing “factors such as fuel savings, emissions and component wear,” you should shut off your engine if you’re going to be stopped for more than 60 seconds. There is one exception, and that’s if you’re in traffic. Don’t turn off your engine on the road like that, just try to avoid said congestion.

Use the radio traffic reports to your benefit, try Google Maps or Waze, choose less-known and -crowded roads, whatever. Anything’s better than watching your on-board computer undo your hard-earned low-fuel-consumption average after sitting five minutes in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Source: https://driving.ca/features/feature-story/10-ways-slightly-changing-your-driving-can-save-big-bucks-on-your-fuel-bill

Home Insurance Coverage You May Not Know About…

Most home insurance clients don’t know they could be covered for identity theft, Top Broker Summit attendees heard Monday.

“On the personal lines side, there have been a number of companies in Canada that have offered identity theft coverage for 10, 12 or 13 years. I think most Canadians don’t know it’s available,” said Paul Kovacs, founder and executive director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction.

“Some insurance companies throw it in. Others charge for it. But it’s certainly not a topic that I think the public is aware of. Identity theft is a growing threat and there is an opportunity on the personal lines side to talk about the role of the industry,” Kovacs said while moderating a luncheon panel at Top Broker Summit, produced by Canadian Underwriter and held at the Ritz-Carlton in Toronto. “Most Canadians don’t know whether they have it or not.”

Identity theft is when a criminal uses a client’s personal information (such as a name, social insurance number, or credit card number), as defined by CAA Insurance, one of the many companies that offer identity theft protection with home insurance. In CAA’s case, the coverage can be added for $25 a year.

For business clients, cyber insurance can cover a variety of losses, such as legal costs and damages, if you are sued for a privacy breach. It can also cover the cost to restore or recover data caused by a breach, denial-of-service attack, or ransomware, Insurance Bureau of Canada reports.

What exactly gets covered depends on the individual policy.

“There is absolutely no standard,” said Patrick Bourk, principal and national cyber practice leader for Hub International Ontario, during the Top Broker Summit luncheon panel. “Every insurer will do things a little bit differently.”

Cyber is a profitable business for insurers, but it it’s also linked to a very high risk compared to other lines, said Kovacs.

Some insurers are concerned about a single catastrophic cyber loss that affects multiple victims, costing the industry billions of dollars’ worth of claims payouts, suggested Bourk.

Asked by Kovacs how he sees the cyber market in five to 10 years, Bourk suggested prices might increase as cyber losses mount. “I think there is going to be some insurers who will realize, ‘Okay, maybe this is not necessarily for our risk appetite,’” Bourk responded.

Also on the panel was Jacqueline Detablan, vice president of specialty at CNA Canada.

“How we underwrite those risks has changed significantly,” said Detablan, who was previously a vice president of financial lines at American International Group (AIG) Canada. “Back in the day, we would have a real IT engineer do a deep dive on almost every single risk. We still to that on more complex risks.

“But [now] it’s more of a volume play, because you are going to have losses and you need to have a larger pool of premiums to cover those losses.”

Source Article: https://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/the-home-insurance-coverage-your-clients-dont-know-about-1004171210/

Windsor’s First Cannabis Store to Open November 1, 2019

Things should get rolling at Windsor’s first legal pot shop by the start of November.

Kyriakos (Kirk) Anastasiadis said Wednesday his new joint at 545 Ouellette Ave. should be past regulatory hurdles, renovated, stocked and open by Nov. 1.

“I’m just excited to get working on this and bringing some good business and positivity to the downtown Windsor core,” said Anastasiadis, 30, who owns several bars and restaurants in London.

Anastasiadis was one of 42 applicants selected in the most recent Ontario lottery last month to receive a retail pot store licence, assuming all the regulatory requirements are met.

A dozen of those applicants have since been disqualified for failing to submit required documents in time. Another one withdrew the application.

“I wasn’t disqualified, so that’s a good next step,” said Anastasiadis, who plans on moving to Windsor to run the store. “I got all my applications in, then the next step is they’re going to do an interview, and then it’s the build.”

As long as he passes the final inspections, Anastasiadis said he will be ready to go by the end of next month.

“In the application for the cannabis dispensary you have to propose a set date for inspection, and as of right now that is end of October, Nov. 1,” he said. “The AGCO is going to come in and do this inspection, then they’ll let you know if you’re ready to go or what changes you have to make to the store.”

One of his biggest jobs before November will be renovating the store.

“It’s a lot of cosmetic,” said Anastasiadis. “Rip out the floor and put a new floor in. Basically beautifying the place.”

The regulations require storeowners to have a vault for storing inventory, but Anastasiadis said that’s already taken care of.

“Being an old bank, there’s actually a vault built into it,” he said. “That takes a lot of the steps out of the way as long as the vault is up to code.”

Anastasiadis must officially receive his licence before buying inventory, but he said the product should arrive quickly once the order is in.

“They set you up with their wholesaler from the (Ontario Cannabis Store), then you put in your order,” he said. “They do weekly deliveries.”

That first order will likely be a big one.

“I believe the first order is allowed to be up to 100 kilos,” said Anastasiadis.

That includes all cannabis products from oils and mouth sprays to pre-rolled joints. Anastasiadis said he also plans to sell edibles once they hit the legal market.

#Windsorontario, #AandA, #Brokerisbest, #Cannabis, #Windsorpotshop

Source: https://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/windsors-first-legal-pot-shop-slated-to-open-nov-1

Electronic Pink Slips A Go

You can now show your proof of auto insurance electronically in Ontario

Pink auto insurance slips aren’t being eliminated yet, but new option being phased in over 1-year period.

Ontario drivers can now carry electronic proof of their auto insurance on their smartphones or other devices.

Finance Minister Rod Phillips said the pink paper insurance slip isn’t being eliminated yet, but being able to display the information on a phone will be more convenient for many drivers.

“We’ve all had enough paper in our lives, at least me, for one, I have experienced rummaging through the glove box, looking for that little pink slip,” Phillips said as he made the announcement on Thursday. “Well, as of today your rummaging days are over if you choose this electronic option.”

There will be a one-year phase-in period, when insurers will have to issue a paper card in addition to the electronic option if it is requested.Phillips said drivers in Alberta, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador can already display their proof of insurance electronically. 

“With the proliferation of mobile devices and apps and various add ons, it only makes sense that drivers in Ontario can  take advantage of the same options that drivers in other provinces can,” he said.

Drained battery, damaged screen no excuse

The electronic cards will feature safeguards that won’t allow them to be altered or edited, and privacy concerns are top of mind, Phillips said.

Drivers will be responsible for making sure their phone can display the proof of insurance, even with a poor signal, drained battery or damaged screen. The Trillium Automobile Dealers Association, speaking for Ontario’s new car dealers, welcomed the news.

“In this advanced, technological age we live in, there is no good reason why drivers must carry a paper copy for proof of insurance,” director of government relations Frank Notte said in a statement.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada said consumers have digital options in other sectors such as banking and retail, so auto insurers are pleased their customers will have the same choice.

“We look forward to working with the government on other measures that will improve the auto insurance system for drivers,” the insurance bureau’s Ontario vice-president Kim Donaldson said in a statement.

Electronic proof of insurance was one of a number of ways the government signalled in its spring budget that it was going to reform auto insurance.

The province is also reverting back to the default benefit of $2 million for those who are catastrophically injured in a collision, after it dropped to $1 million three years ago.

#Windsorontario, #AandA, #Brokerisbest, #cbcwindsor

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/car-insurance-pink-auto-ontario-electronic-1.5271540

Insurance Broker VS Agent

What is a general insurance agent or broker?

Home insurance comes under the financial sector known as Property and Casualty (P&C) Insurance. In Ontario, general insurance agents, also known simply as insurance agents, are people who are licensed and regulated by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) to sell a variety of insurance products including home and auto insurance, and they are employed by one insurance company. To see if an insurance agent you want to work with is licensed, visit FSCO’s Agents Licensed in Ontario database. Alternatively, ask an insurance company for the name of an agent authorized to sell their products.

An insurance agent is different from an insurance broker. An insurance broker may sell insurance on behalf of more than one insurance company and works to find you the coverage that best suits your needs from any of the companies they represent. Insurance brokers are licensed by the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario (RIBO). To learn more about insurance brokers, visit the RIBO website .

What is a P&C insurance company?

A property and casualty insurance company, also known as a general insurance company, issues and sells home and auto insurance to individuals through its agents or brokers, and promises to pay benefits to holders of those policies. In Ontario, insurance companies are licensed and regulated by FSCO. For a list of licensed companies visit FSCO’s Licensed Insurance Companies in Ontario database.

FSCO’s role

FSCO licenses and regulates insurance agents and companies in Ontario to ensure consumers are protected and to enhance their confidence in the insurance sector. If an insurance agent is licensed and regulated by FSCO it means that they had to meet certain requirements that are in place to protect you.

As well as checking that the general insurance agent or company you want to work with is licensed by FSCO, you should also check FSCO’s Enforcement Online database to see if any enforcement action has been taken against them in Ontario. Enforcement actions like having their licence suspended, or being fined (Administrative Monetary Penalty) means that there have been some issues in regards to compliance with the law that resulted in these sanctions. You might also want to check out the Canadian Insurance Regulators Disciplinary Actions  database that offers public access to regulatory decisions issued by insurance regulators across Canada. 

Insurance agent and company responsibilities

General insurance agents, brokers and companies have obligations and responsibilities to you, the insurance buyer. Visit the RIBO website to understand a broker’s responsibilities.

Insurance agents and companies are required to:

  • be licensed by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario to sell property insurance in Ontario;
  • comply with the Ontario Insurance Act ;
  • make treating you and other consumers fairly a core component of their governance and business culture;
  • have policies and processes in place to handle your complaints in a timely and fair manner;
  • protect your private information and immediately inform you of any breach;
  • if an agent, have successfully passed the qualifying examination conducted by the Insurance Institute of Ontario (agents are exempt if they have a Chartered Insurance Professional designation); and
  • if an agent, must disclose to you in writing any conflicts of interest that they may have.

In addition to licensing requirements, insurance agents and companies should follow industry best practices. They should:

  • act with due skill, care and diligence when dealing with you and when recommending home insurance policies to you;
  • promote home insurance policies and other related products in a manner that is clear, fair and not misleading or false;
  • recommend suitable home insurance policies by assessing your property, content and liability, taking into account your disclosed personal circumstances and financial situation;
  • provide continuing service to you until all obligations have been met;
  • ensure that a licensed insurance agent is always available for consultation during business hours;
  • provide their contact information, licence number, and other information that you request; and
  • draw your attention to all relevant information before you buy a home insurance policy.

Your rights and responsibilities

When you purchase a home insurance policy, you enter a contract which gives you the following rights and responsibilities:

You have the right to:

  • understand your policy, and to receive explanations in plain language from your insurance agent or broker.
  • receive clear information about the claims process.
  • file and resolve any complaints.
  • protection of your privacy.

You are responsible for:

  • paying all premiums as outlined in the policy.
  • disclosing information about the value of your home and contents. If you undervalue your home or contents when buying the policy, you might not have enough coverage. If you overstate the value when making a claim, your policy may be cancelled or voided.
  • disclosing information about renovations or home-based business activities, no matter how small.
  • disclosing full and complete information on your home insurance application, including previous home insurance claims.
  • reviewing the application thoroughly before signing and submitting.

Questions to ask an insurance agent or broker about home insurance

When purchasing a home insurance policy, use these questions as a guide when speaking with a home insurance agent, broker or company.

  1. What does this home insurance policy cover and to what extent?
  2. What does this home insurance policy exclude? Can you give me an example of when an exclusion would happen?
  3. I have the following valuables: [list off items you consider valuable]. Does this home insurance policy cover these valuables? If not, how much would it be to get an endorsement for the valuables? Do I need to get appraisals done for these valuables when they’re insured?
  4. I have a locker/storage unit/shed/garage. Is it covered under this policy?
  5. What liability does this home insurance policy cover?
  6. How much are the deductibles in this home insurance policy?
  7. Does this home insurance policy cover replacement cost or actual cash value?
  8. Do I qualify for any premium discounts?
  9. Are there any discounts you offer for making my home more disaster resistant?
  10. If I combine my home and auto insurance, is there a discount?
  11. Are the premiums paid monthly or annually?
  12. When does the policy coverage begin? For how long?
  13. If I need to make a claim, how do I do this?
  14. I’ve heard floods are on the rise. Does this home insurance policy cover floods, also known as overland water?
  15. Am I covered for sewer backup? If so, to what amount?
  16. Do you have any tools or resources such as a home inventory document that can assist me in making better decisions and protecting my home?
  17. Do I live in an area that is more prone to risks? Is there anything I can do to protect my home against these risks?

What to do if you have a complaint

If you have a question or complaint about a service or product that you purchased, you should speak with your insurance agent, broker or the insurance company first and see if they can resolve the issue. 
If you want to file a complaint about an insurance company or agent, you can follow the three steps on FSCO’s website: How to Resolve a Complaint about Insurance. Keep in mind the following when asking FSCO for assistance:

  1. FSCO reviews complaints for non-compliance with the Insurance Act and its regulations. FSCO cannot adjudicate claims, review contractual disputes or impose a settlement. We also cannot assist in obtaining compensation.
  2. FSCO does not deal with concerns regarding claims, interpretation of policy coverage and policy processing and handling. For these concerns, please contact the General Insurance OmbudService (GIO). GIO is an independent organization who assists consumers in resolving concerns or disputes with their home, auto or business insurers. They may be reached at 1-877-225-0446 or through their website at www.giocanada.org .
  3. FSCO cannot review consumer concerns regarding insurance premiums. Like many insurance products, property insurance is sold in a highly competitive environment. Each insurance company has its own unique set of underwriting guidelines which outline the risks it will insure and will not insure. As a result, the premiums companies charge and the coverages provided will vary from company to company. If there has been a change in risk, or if a risk has had a number of claims within a certain period of time, an insurer may use discretion when deciding whether to renew or cancel a policy, and what the premium would be.

If you have a complaint against an insurance broker, visit RIBO’s website  to learn more about their complaint process, or contact a complaint officer at 416-365-1900.


Importance of Travel Insurance

Photo: Disney

Your Canadian insurance is almost certainly not valid outside Canada. Your provincial or territorial health plan may cover nothing or only a very small portion of the costs if you get sick or are injured while abroad. For more information, contact your provincial or territorial health authority.

Hospitals and clinics in some countries have been known to refuse to treat patients who become ill or who have had an accident and who do not have adequate travel health insurance or the money to pay their bills. You could face years of debt paying off the costs of treatment for an illness or accident you suffered abroad. The Government of Canada will not pay your medical bills.

“During a short vacation on a Caribbean island, a Canadian developed a severe form of pneumonia and had to be admitted to hospital. His health deteriorated, and he was transferred to intensive care and placed on a breathing machine for more than a month. Without insurance, he had to make arrangements with the hospital to pay a bill that amounted to more than $20,000.”

At A&A Insurance Brokers Ltd, we have trained professionals to provide you with the travel insurance you need to ensure you have a safe and relaxing holiday.

Source: https://travel.gc.ca/travelling/documents/travel-insurance