TD Insurance Poll reveals 1 in 6 don’t know what they’re covered for

With 99% of people in the provinces having some kind of insurance policy, Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents are the most comprehensively insured of all Canadians. But do they know what they’re covered for? According to the TD Insurance Coverage Uncovered Poll, 16% of Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents admit they’re unsure or have no idea what they are covered for in their insurance policies.

“Don’t confuse the peace of mind of having insurance with a false sense of security,” says Henry Blumenthal, Vice President and Chief Underwriter, TD Insurance. “While it’s unrealistic to know your insurance policy line by line, the basics of what you’re covered for shouldn’t be a mystery. Understanding your policies can help avoid costly issues in the event the unexpected happens.”

While more than four out of five people in the provinces say they think they know what is included in their insurance policies, most don’t take the proper steps to protect themselves. Six in ten don’t bother to keep a detailed inventory of their home’s valuables and only 29% update their insurance policy when they acquire something of major value.

“Not updating your insurance policies is like not checking the weather before you get dressed and leave the house – you risk finding yourself in an unfortunate situation you could have avoided,” says Blumenthal. “The bottom-line is no one wants to be standing knee deep in water in their basement wondering if they’re adequately covered.”

Protection at home

The top three things people in Manitoba and Saskatchewan believe a standard home insurance policy covers include: damaged or stolen property (83%); damages to the roof if a tree branch falls on it (79%); and expenses to temporarily live away from home if they’re forced to leave due to a loss (74%).

Twenty-one per cent of people in Manitoba and Saskatchewan also believe damage to lawns and gardens is covered by a standard home insurance policy, however coverage in these cases is typically limited.

Making claims

Sixty per cent of people in Manitoba and Saskatchewan have had to make a claim on their insurance before (versus 53% of Canadians). One-quarter have been surprised by something on their insurance policy.

“The best thing you can do to avoid unwanted surprises is to stay in the know,” says Blumenthal. “Unless you can predict the future, it’s always advisable to be prepared. This is not about being pessimistic, it is about being realistic. Bad things happen every day and we should always try our best not to be caught off-guard. Your insurance provider can help you uncover what you’re covered for.”

Forty-one per cent of people in Manitoba and Saskatchewan thought water damage caused the most home insurance claims. Other top responses were burglary (29%) and fire (17%). Six per cent of people in the provinces said wind and tornadoes, and less than 1% thought the top cause was third party bodily injury claims or lightning.

According to TD Insurance, last year, 30% of home insurance claims in Western Canada were the result of water damage. Thirty-seven per cent were due to wind and hail, 10% were due to theft and 2% because of fire.

Blumenthal offers helpful tips for ensuring your insurance policies have you covered: 

 –   Don’t assume anything when it comes to coverage. Get the facts and ask questions to ensure you understand what your basic home insurance policy covers. Most insurers have a maximum replacement cost for individual items. This can also help you determine whether you need to add any additional riders to your policy. An insurance rider provides the policyholder extra protection beyond the provisions contained in a standard insurance agreement. 

–   Develop a list of possessions. This list includes items in your home and in other buildings on the property. Among the things you should include are indoor and outdoor furniture; appliances, electronics, computers, recreational equipment; china, linens, silverware and kitchen equipment; and jewelry, clothing and other personal belongings. 

–   Go Digital. When you’ve completed your inventory, transfer it to your computer. Make a back-up copy and keep this away from your home. You can also take photographs or video of particularly valuable items. This can also go a long way to recovering your possessions if you are unlucky enough to be broken into. 

–   Update your policy. A home’s value increases as possessions of worth are acquired, as well as when repairs or renovations are completed. 

About the TD Insurance Coverage Uncovered Poll:

Results for the TD Insurance Coverage Uncovered Poll were collected through an Environics Research Group telephone omnibus, conducted between September 2-10, 2010. A total of 1,503 completed surveys were collected with Canadian adults. Of the total sample, 250 respondents were from Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

About TD Insurance

The TD Insurance brand is a part of TD. The wide range of TD Insurance products help protect clients from the ‘accidents of life’ including credit protection, life, health, travel, home and auto insurance. With more than three million clients, TD Insurance authorized products and services are available through a network of more than 1,000 TD Canada Trust branches, the Internet and telephone. The TD Insurance brand, through its TD Insurance Credit Protection and TD Insurance Life and Health brands, is the number one provider of critical illness insurance and direct life and health premium origination in Canada. And through its TD Insurance Meloche Monnex and TD Insurance Home and Auto brands, is the largest direct-response insurance group in the country. For more information, visit http://www.tdinsurance.com/.

For further information: Lisa Hodgins, TD Bank Financial Group, 416-308-4601, [email protected]; Karen Williams/Laura Ballantyne, Paradigm Public Relations, 416-203-2223, [email protected]/[email protected]