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Are you a Snowbird?

Heading somewhere warm for the winter?

Before you leave for an extended vacation, it’s important to have a conversation with your broker about your home and auto insurance coverage prior to your departure. Let your broker know your plans and the length of time that you plan on being away. Some insurance policies have a restriction on the length of time that you are able to be away from your home and still remain protected. It is important to know what your insurance company will require from you so that your coverage is not jeopardized.

Some important things to discuss and consider:

  • Protecting your home from water damage! Before you leave for vacation, shut off your water completely and then turn on any taps and flush the toilets to drain any excess water. Taking this precaution will prevent your pipes from freezing or flooding causing damage to your home.


  • Make arrangements for someone you trust to periodically check on your home and take care of its surroundings. A home that looks occupied is much less attractive to thieves. Have your mail and newspapers collected, lawn/snow maintained, lights on timers and have a neighbour park their car in your driveway.


  • Foreign exchange rates! The liability limits on your auto insurance policy are in Canadian dollars but any damages that you are liable for in the US will be in US dollars. Your current liability limit may not be sufficient in the US since our Canadian dollar is lower than the US dollar. Having insufficient liability limits can leave you vulnerable to being sued for the balance.


  • The US is a mort litigious country than Canada and settlement amounts are often much higher in the US than in Canada. Accordingly, you have a higher likelihood of being sued in the US and being found liable for damages that exceed the standard coverage limits provided in your Canadian auto insurance policy. Canadians come from a no-fault environment therefore, limits may not be high enough to cover the damages assessed against you if you have an accident in a tort system state.


  • Adding or increasing your coverage for the Loss of Use or for Non-owned Vehicles with the OPCF 20 and OPCF 20 is the Loss of Vehicle Use Form. An OPCF 20 will cover the cost of a rental vehicle while your vehicle is being repaired or replaced (if the damage or loss is caused by a peril for which you are insured). It could take longer to repair the vehicle in the U.S. if it is a Canadian model, as some parts may not be readily available, so you may need a replacement vehicle for an extended period of time.  Make sure that you have this coverage on your policy or purchase a higher limit. OPCF 27 Coverage for Non-Owned Vehicles -If your auto insurance policy includes the OPCF 27, you already have coverage for damage to a vehicle that you don’t own, such as a rental automobile.   The change form does NOT apply to any vehicle under the loss or damage section of this policy where the Insured has assumed liability for a period of time exceeding 30 days.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding your policy limits or what your policy covers, give us a call.

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At Tri-County Insurance we represent dozens of Canada’s best insurance companies. All provide competitive prices, excellent service and outstanding claims service. We will shop at all of these companies to get you the best insurance for your individual needs.

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