Cyber insurance, also known as cyber liability or cybersecurity insurance, was created to cover the millions of dollars of damage companies suffer due to hacks and data breaches. In 2017, the first personal cyber insurance endorsement for high-end homeowners was introduced, and now several insurance companies are offering these endorsements.

Are they worth the cost, and what do they cover?

What cyber insurance typically covers

Most policies will cover damages and expenses related to cyberattacks, including:

  • Cyber extortion
  • Cyberbullying
  • Data restoration
  • Identity theft

This means if you accidentally unleash a virus, you will have coverage to restore your system and reinstall your software. Your insurer may also authorize ransom payments to avoid disclosure of stolen information. There are so many different cyber threats that it’s impossible to list them all here, but most of them will be covered under a fully featured personal cyber insurance policy or endorsement.

How cyber insurance works

The majority of providers offer personal cyber coverage as an endorsement to your homeowners or renters’ policy. It can also be purchased as a stand-alone policy. Coverage amounts range from $50,000 to $250,000.

The endorsement has limits and sublimits. The policy limit is the total amount of damages covered each year, while the sublimit is the total amount of coverage provided for each covered event (e.g., $25,000 for cyberbullying). Some policies will also have a deductible, the amount you have to pay out of pocket per claim.

Why you need cyber insurance

According to the Pew Research Center, nearly two-thirds of Americans have been exposed to data theft. Those who have had their identity stolen will tell you how traumatic it is having to spend countless hours and hundreds of dollars trying to re-establish their credit rating, cancel fraudulent claims and reissue official documents.

If you have children, especially teenagers, the risk of a cyber event is compounded. Gaming platforms and websites you don’t even know they are accessing can expose your family to invisible threats. Teens may also be less experienced than you are at phishing attempts.

Controlling the risk

Of course, insurance is not enough, nor will it prevent you from being the target of an attack. Follow these six simple tips to stay out of trouble:

  • Beef up your system: Set your firewall and security to the highest settings.
  • Get rid of backdoors: Reboot your router periodically.
  • Use secure passwords: Utilize a password management system and never forget another password.
  • Shield your online presence: Remove personal information from Facebook and other social media sites.
  • Manage your subscriptions: Make sure you know what you’re subscribed to.
  • Always go to the source: Don’t trust an urgent message from one of your institutions. Go to their website or call the normal phone number to verify the message.

Technology and the internet are now a part of our everyday lives. Taking the necessary precautions to protect your family and personal information has never been more important and a personal cyber policy can be part of that protection. If you would like to learn more, speak to your insurance broker. They can help you choose a policy that is right for you.

Do you find the nuances of auto insurance a bit confusing? You’re not alone.

Choosing the right coverage and limits can be daunting. You may simply opt for the minimum coverage required in your province and the lowest deductibles you can afford, but that might leave you dangerously overexposed and underinsured.

To be certain you have the right insurance coverage, consider how much insurance you need to protect your assets and cover your potential liabilities.

Here’s a helpful guide to take the mystery out of auto insurance and help you rise to the challenge.

No fault vs. tort

There are two different forms of auto insurance in Canada: no fault and tort (or at fault). In a no-fault regime, drivers have insurance to cover their own injuries and damages, rather than using insurance to pay out to the other person. In other words, you don’t need to argue about who is to blame for an accident; you just file a claim on your own insurance.

No-fault laws don’t always protect you from being sued, but they do place restrictions on when you could be sued. Manitoba and Saskatchewan maintain the right to sue for economic losses in excess of no-fault benefits. By contrast, Quebec has a pure no-fault system and forbids suing for collisions involving bodily harm.

Lawsuits happen less often in Canada than they do in the United States, as injuries or damages must pass a monetary or verbal threshold (i.e., medical expenses exceed a certain dollar figure, or the injuries are sufficiently serious) when most health care is provided free of charge. You are still expected by law to have liability insurance to cover damages if you are to blame for the accident.

In a tort regime, such as Alberta’s (or even Saskatchewan’s, which has a dual system), the law assigns blame and the person deemed responsible will have to cover medical bills, damages and potentially pain and suffering. If you caused the accident, your insurance will pay up to the limits specified in your policy. But if the damages exceed that amount, you are responsible for the rest. There is usually some allowance for medical coverage on a no-fault basis.

Private vs. public

Most provinces and territories do not offer their own insurance programs. In Alberta, insurance is purchased from privately owned insurers.

British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan offer insurance through publicly owned insurance companies, while Quebec’s public regime only covers bodily injuries. Other auto insurance coverage is purchased through private insurance providers.

Liability coverage

Liability auto insurance covers bodily injury (BI) and property damage (PD) sustained by third parties when it is the responsibility of the insured driver. The available limits vary by province, with a legal minimum starting at $50,000 in Nova Scotia but usually $200,000 or more.

How much liability insurance do you need? Since this coverage is affordable in all provinces, it is usually recommended to get at least $500,000 or $1 million, and even more if you travel often or are planning a trip to the United States or a province with a tort regime.

Liability insurance may also cover you if you are in a collision with an uninsured or underinsured driver. If you are injured in a hit-and-run, or hit by a driver with no insurance or insufficient insurance, your liability insurance will cover your losses.

Collision and comprehensive coverage

Two forms of insurance cover damage to your car: collision and comprehensive. Collision coverage pays out if your car is damaged or totaled in a collision with another object (such as a car or tree). Collision coverage usually has a deductible. It’s also usually optional, although some provinces require collision if your vehicle is leased or financed by a bank or lender.

Comprehensive insurance pays out if your car is damaged by an incident in which there was no collision. This could be a fire, theft, act of vandalism, weather event (windstorm, hail, water, flood or earthquake) or random event (such as damage caused by an animal). Comprehensive insurance also has a deductible and is usually packaged with collision insurance on newer vehicles to fully cover damage to the vehicle.

It’s well worth investing in both forms of coverage if your vehicle has a substantial value.

Accident benefits

Accident benefits are often mandatory and cover medical and rehabilitation expenses that aren’t covered by the government, as well as (in some cases) caregiver expenses, lost wages and funeral expenses. This type of coverage is mandatory in no-fault provinces, where it pays out before liability insurance. It applies to the driver, passengers, pedestrians and bystanders.

However, the number of benefits, level of coverage required and damages covered vary greatly from one province to the next. Claims can be made by an insured driver, a passenger or even an injured pedestrian.

Other coverage

There are other coverage options you might want to add to your policy. These include:

  • Loss of use — covers the cost of a rental car while your car is being repaired
  • Guaranteed asset protection (GAP) — helps you meet repayments if your vehicle is totalled before you finish paying for it

Your insurance broker can explain the various coverage options available to you and help you select what’s most appropriate for your personal situation.

When deciding how much auto insurance you need, remember that provincial insurance requirements are not recommendations for levels of coverage — they are simply the minimum coverage required to legally operate a vehicle. If you are ever in a traffic accident, the damages are likely to be significantly higher, and you’ll be glad you took the time to speak with your insurance broker.

As a home renovator, you probably have more jobs right now than you can handle. A recent survey by The Harris Poll for Selective Insurance found that home renovations in the United States increased dramatically during the first half of 2021, with 55% of homeowners stating they’ve made substantial improvements that would increase their home’s value.

Canada’s experienced a similar housing boom of late. With new home prices skyrocketing, owners are deciding to stay longer in existing homes and make them more livable. In addition, the pandemic has led to new work- and learn-from-home arrangements, spurring room additions and renovations of existing spaces.

While all of this is great for your business, it’s more important now than ever for you to be aware of your exposure to liability claims and lawsuits. Even if you’re not as big as a general contractor, you have many of the same risks. Asking an insurance broker to help analyze your needs may reveal you’re underinsured.

An insurance broker may also be able to help you secure a home improvement contractor license bond. Most provinces require anyone working with electricity, plumbing, or heating, ventilation and air-conditioning to be licensed and bonded.

Here are some important coverages to consider:

Start with commercial general liability

All contractors should carry commercial general liability (CGL) insurance, and it may be a requirement in your province to become a licensed contractor.

CGL protects you from claims involving injuries and property damage during the course of your work. For example, if you leave power tools out, you could be held liable if someone gets hurt. Even worse, if an addition you’re working on collapses and severely injures a homeowner, you could face a major lawsuit.

You don’t need to have a very vivid imagination to think of the property damage you might be responsible for if something goes wrong on a job — for example, if wiring you put in starts an electrical fire or a new faucet you install causes a major leak.

Insurance experts say CGL is the most important coverage a business owner can buy, because one expensive claim could put you out of business if you’re unprotected. CGL will cover medical expenses, property damage, legal expenses, and any judgments or settlements you might have to pay.

CGL also covers personal injury such as libel or slander, copyright infringement, misleading advertising or use of another’s intellectual property.

Policies have limits, usually set at $1 million or more, on how much they’ll pay each year. An insurance broker can discuss your options and recommend a policy that’s best for your remodelling business.

CGL insurance doesn’t cover your employees if they’re injured (they would be covered by workers’ compensation), and it doesn’t cover professional or employment practices liability (these coverages can be purchased separately).

Workers’ compensation

Workers’ compensation is required in nearly every province though requirements may vary from one to the next. Therefore, if you have employees on your payroll, you most likely need to pay premiums to your worker’s compensation board. If you’re a sole proprietor or have only one or two employees, you may be exempt.

Even self-employed contractors can benefit from workers’ compensation. It covers the cost of job-related injuries and illness, and pays for lost wages and rehabilitation expenses while an employee recovers.

Check your province requirements. Your broker can help with that.

You can keep your claims down by following health and safety best practices. Contracting work can be hazardous if precautions aren’t taken. Make sure your employees are following correct safety procedures.

Commercial auto and property insurance

Whether you’re a sole proprietor or have a contracting company, you’ll need commercial auto insurance for your vehicles. Even if you have only one truck, you won’t be able to insure it through your personal auto policy if it’s owned by your company and used for business. A commercial policy will allow you to name your employees as additional insureds so they can drive your vehicles.

Like personal auto insurance, commercial auto insurance covers bodily injury, property damage and accidents involving uninsured or underinsured motorists. Commercial auto insurance usually has higher limits and will cover trucks and vans.

You’ll also need commercial property insurance to protect any business property you own such as a building, computers, office equipment and supplies, tools and material you use for your work. Most commercial property policies insure items located at a fixed business address only. You may need to purchase a separate policy, called inland marine insurance, to cover the tools and material you transport to a customer’s property or a job site.

Builders risk insurance

Builders risk insurance is a policy that insures a construction project in progress. Like inland marine insurance, builders risk insurance covers materials, supplies and equipment in transit, but it also insures them once they are on the job site. Coverage continues until the project is complete.

Builders risk insurance covers major losses from fires, lightning, hurricanes, explosions, theft, etc., on an “all perils” basis, similar to a property insurance policy. There are various types of builders risk insurance, including policies designed specifically for renovation and remodeling projects.

Multiple parties can be named as insureds on a builders risk policy, including contractors, owners and lenders.

BOPs and CPPs provide several types of coverage in one policy

Many carriers offer business owners policies (BOP) or commercial package policies (CPP) to cover the basic insurance needs of a small business. The standard BOP gives you CGL, commercial property and business income insurance in one bundled policy, usually priced lower than if you were to buy the three separately.

Business income insurance, also known as business interruption insurance, replaces lost income if your business is shut down due to a fire or natural disaster.

BOPs usually don’t include auto insurance, but an insurer may allow you to add coverage to your BOP. CPPs offer more flexibility than a BOP. You can tailor CPPs to your needs since they allow you to add the coverage you want and drop the coverage you don’t.

With the construction business booming, you may be extremely busy these days. But you can’t afford to neglect your insurance needs. You don’t want to run the risk of being unprotected if you’re named in a lawsuit or suffer property loss. Talk to an insurance broker about designing a comprehensive insurance plan that’s tailored to the needs of your remodelling business.

Customizable Coverage

There are many different types of coverage for trade & contractors, including:

  • Liability Insurance
  • Tools and Equipment Coverage
  • Rental Reimbursement
  • Installation Floater
  • Course of Construction Insurance

Click to get your quote

Call for a quote 1-888-346-5547

Thinking about buying a condo? They require less maintenance than a house, but condos also come with certain restrictions and limitations. Before purchasing your first condo, it’s essential to understand both your rights and obligations as an owner.

Most condominium developments include both shared spaces and individual units. When you purchase a condo, you are given total control over your unit. The condo corporation manages every other aspect, including maintenance of the buildings, grounds, parking areas, pools and other structures.

Condo corporations are usually made up of condo owners like yourself. These appointed administrators are responsible for managing the budget, holding regular meetings, supervising maintenance and suppliers, and enforcing building rules.

Every condo owner is a voting member of the condo syndicate and has a say in approving future expenses and adopting of new rules.

Condominium rules

Each condo community is unique, which is why it’s essential to read the bylaws carefully before signing. These rules govern everything from what kind of blinds you can have to whether spas and barbecues are allowed.

Some details to consider when reviewing condo rules and bylaws include:

  • The size of a contingency or reserve fund: A larger fund is necessary in case of emergencies, which may put some buyers off due to large monthly fees but can be a godsend when major repairs are required.
  • Board member elections: Voting can be done by a show of hands or through a recorded measure, which can include electronic votes if bylaws permit. If you are physically impaired, travel often, or do not expect to be able to attend meetings, ensure your board allows electronic votes as every condo owner has the right to vote.
  • Volunteer requirements: If volunteering is required, you may need to set aside time monthly or seasonally to help maintain grounds or take part in other activities. If you do not have the time to volunteer and do not attend, you may be in breach of condo rules.
  • Restrictions regulating common areas and shared spaces: Some condos do not allow yard ornaments, sidewalk chalk, outdoor spas, and may even prevent you from painting your door.
  • Landscaping rules: Do you have to hire a particular landscaping company approved by the board? Can you garden in your backyard or do the shrubs and trees belong to the condo?
  • Whether short term-rentals are allowed: Can you rent your condo to travellers through a site like AirBnB? Is it possible to let your relatives stay in your condo while you are traveling? Some condos strictly prohibit renting and even guests.

Condominium legislation

In addition to unique corporation rules, provincial laws determine the rights that you have as a condo owner. Understanding what some of those laws are is integral to enjoying your experience.

In Alberta, condominiums are regulated under the Condominium Property Act. The Real Estate Council of Alberta (RECA) has provided its recommendations regarding the new regulations that came into effect as of January 1, 2020.

Alberta’s Condominium Property Act determines how condos should be operated and governed. The Condominium Property Regulation includes laws concerning how condos should be governed by development companies and condo managers.

Some of the new changes made under the Condominium Property Amendment Act are:

  • Notice of an annual general meeting (AGM) must be provided to condo owners at least 60 days beforehand. If owners wish to add items to the agenda, they must submit the request by 30 days before the meeting.
  • Unit owners will receive a copy of the AGM meeting’s minutes, including the result of votes, within 30 days of the meeting.
  • Condo boards are entitled to raise condo fees based on the results of reserve fund studies.
  • If damage originates from within your condo unit, you will be responsible for the deductible up to $50,000. Take, for example, an instance where an individual’s toilet explodes in their unit. If damage extends to the structure of the building, and the claim’s deductible is $30,000, you will be responsible for that amount.
  • If stated in the condo’s by-laws, a condo corporation can require individual unit owners to purchase their own insurance.

Your rights as a condo owner in Alberta

As a condominium owner in Alberta, you are usually entitled to the following:

  • Involvement: You have the right to join any existing condo corporation and campaign to hold an elected resident position such as the president of the corporation or another status. You also have the right to volunteer for various positions (such as snow removal chairperson or landscaping director).
  • Voting rights: You have the right to vote on any change to condo bylaws or rules. Everyone that lives within a condo community has the right to vote on changes impacting living spaces.
  • Respectful living: You have the right to a quiet and respectful living space. If a member of your community is infringing on this right — with loud music, parties, or other disturbances — you can bring the matter up with the condo corporation.
  • Fair warning: Others (including workers and community members) do not have the right to enter your unit without your permission.
  • Selling and renting: You can sell or rent your condo without gaining permission from other owners. Some condo corporations do have bylaws preventing the installation of “for sale” signs on windows and green spaces. You do have the right to advertise the sale of your home elsewhere and to sell your home as you wish. You also have the right (unless otherwise noted and agreed upon) to rent to visitors or long-term renters.
  • Issues and problems: It is your right to address the condo corporation with any concerns regarding your quality of living or shared living space. Most corporations hold weekly or monthly meetings to hear the complaints of residents.
  • Accessibility: It is your right to request disability access to any common area entrances and exits. If you cannot access a shared space, you have the right to request a ramp, handles, or other building amendments. However, any disability adjustments required inside of your home are your responsibility unless otherwise noted in your condominium agreement.
  • Transparency: You can request access to any documents concerning the condo corporation, including all transaction records, receipts, and other paperwork. Note that there may be a fee for the paperwork, but this is now capped at $10/document, assuming the document isn’t a rush or estoppel.

Your responsibilities as a condo owner

As a condo owner, you will also be expect to follow all the adopted bylaws. The most common ones are listed below, though all communities are unique.

  • Remember what you agreed to: Abide by the condominium rules and bylaws. Most condo corporations have fines for breaking the rules, and some may be legally allowed to vote you out of the community if you repeatedly break the rules.
  • Membership dues: If there are monthly fees associated with your new condo purchase, you must pay those fees on time. Missed membership dues may result in legal action against you.
  • Be a good citizen: While it’s not a legal matter (in most cases), you are expected to maintain your condo and keep it in decent condition. It’s also an unwritten rule that you keep shared spaces clean and avoid any intentional damage.
  • Insurance details: Master condo insurance is included in your monthly corporation fees, but that does not necessarily mean that accidents inside of your home are covered. Many master insurance policies cover accidents that occur outside of the home and are “blanket policies” protecting common areas and spaces. If you do not have coverage inside of your home, you will need to purchase additional individual insurance. Check to see if the master policy covers guests in common areas, renovation costs, accidents in shared areas, and incidents inside of your home – if not, purchasing individual insurance will ensure that you are covered in case of an accident no matter where an accident happens.

Just as you have rights as the owner of a unit, you also have responsibilities as part of the broader condominium community. When one member does not respect the condo agreement, it can cause stress for others. Make sure to keep both your rights and responsibilities in mind while living as part of a community.

In Alberta, 16.8% of the population enjoy living in condominiums. If you’ve taken a close look at your condo corporation rules and understand your provincial rights, you’ll love being part of a condo community — just make sure that you have enough insurance in case something happens.

Your insurance broker can provide you with more details about individual insurance, help you determine what is covered with your monthly corporation fees, and help you gain all the coverage you need.