Posted on 4/14/2014 9:25 AM Cam Clay
After another long winter it is certainly nice to see the sun coming out once again. But if you live in southern or central Alberta you need to be prepared for the possibility of flooding this week as significant spring runoff is expected to make its way into area rivers and streams. Realistically however, the flooding is more likely to be a plains issue with increases in standing water on roadways and around homes.
Here is the Alberta Emergency Alert map issued on April 4th, 2014:
This advisory will affect those living in the Cypress Hills and the Red Deer region and extending just south of the city of Calgary.
Flood Driving Tips
Spring Runoff Advisories are not all that unusual here given regular high winter snowpack, but it is still important that you stay safe and are aware of your surroundings should flooding occur, particularly when driving. If you find yourself out driving only to come across a flooded roadway we have three simple rules to keep you, your vehicle and your family safe:
- DO NOT DRIVE ACROSS A FLOODED ROADWAY.
- DO NOT DRIVE ACROSS A FLOODED ROADWAY.
- DO NOT DRIVE ACROSS A FLOODED ROADWAY.
Have we made ourselves clear?
Driving across a flooded roadway is just asking for trouble, especially if flowing water is involved. Did you know that the greatest percentage of flood-related deaths are due to a vehicle being driven into hazardous floodwaters? People walking into floodwaters cause the second highest percentage. The common theme here is that we tend to underestimate the power of water.
So instead of tempting fate, we ask that when you approach a flooded roadway you turn around instead of trying to ford it. This is especially important at night when it can be difficult to gauge the depth of standing water.
Source – Alberta Emergency Alert – Spring Runoff Advisory
Photo – Alberta Emergency Alert
Posted on 4/8/2014 7:37 AM Cam Clay
Texting and driving is dangerous. You might not think that sending one quick text message is a very big deal, but it is. It takes your eyes, and your attention, away from the road. In fact, drivers who text are 23 times more likely to be involved in a traffic accident. Compare that to just 4 to 5 times more likely for drivers making a phone call behind the wheel, or 3 times more likely when applying make-up.
Earlier this month Kanetix.ca commissioned a survey of about 1500 drivers - 84% agreed that texting and driving should be a criminal offence. In general, 73% felt that using a phone at all while driving should be considered criminal.
No matter how you feel about it, it is undeniable that texting while driving is a poor choice. Not only can it be dangerous for your health and everyone else you share the road with, but it can really put a pinch on your pocketbook as well. If you get caught texting, even at a red light, you can be fined up to $280. And guess what? We frown upon it in the insurance industry too, which means you may end up paying an additional $75 a year in premium increases.
Distracted driving accounts for 20% to 30% of all traffic accidents. Each year in Canada we suffer $10 billion in losses caused by collision related healthcare costs and lost productivity. That is roughly 1% of our GDP! But we can all help to decrease this number, and it starts with putting your phone down:
- Keep temptation at bay and leave your phone just out of reach
- Have one of your passengers read and return all text messages for you
- If you must stop to read your messages or answer the phone, pull over somewhere safe to do so
Join us here at Alpine Insurance & Financial and vow to stop texting and driving today!
Sources – Majority of Canadians in poll think texting while driving should be a criminal offence Distracted Driving Statistics
Photo - © Stephen Fore - Fotolia.com
Posted on 3/24/2014 1:19 PM Cam Clay
How many of you out there are familiar with the concept of car sharing? Chances are you are even if you do not know it by that name - ever heard of Zipcar? It’s pretty ingenious, really, and a lot of entrepreneurs are starting to take advantage of it to turn a profit.
Car sharing occurs when the owner of a vehicle lends or rents it out to another individual, often times for a fee. In some instances, the owner of the vehicle does not drive it him or herself anymore than 10% of the time. Instead, they allow others use of the vehicle until it is paid off, and *POOF* free car.
While car sharing might be a nice way to make a little extra cash, it can cost you in the long run. Car sharers beware: The wording of your auto insurance policy may soon be changing.
Auto Insurers Denying Car Sharing Claims
Currently, the Canadian auto insurance industry is a bit fuzzy on its car sharing policies. Some refuse to pay if anyone other than the titled owner was driving; others will still pay out even if the driver was using the car on loan, but not if money changed hands for the privilege of use.
What is comes down to is your insurance company. Will they, or will they not, accept your claim? As it stands now, the rules are unclear; however, in general, a personal auto cannot be used for commercial purposes – it is the industry standard.
But don’t worry, confusion on this issue isn’t likely to last long.
Earlier in March, a technology conference held in downtown Toronto addressed car sharing and its impact on the auto insurance industry. While no conclusive decisions were made, the dialogue has now been opened and we can further explore our options for writing your auto policies.
Several ideas for insuring car sharers were thrown around. These were the three most popular:
- Anyone profiting from allowing others the use of their personal auto must purchase commercial coverage to guarantee coverage
- Setting a base policy limit
- Requiring car sharers to purchase an additional rider to ensure coverage
As we have already stated, no decisions have been made, but car sharers do need to be aware that their vehicles may not be covered by a personal auto insurance policy. Those of you involved in car sharing should check in with your insurance agent today to make sure that you will be covered in the event of an accident.
Source – Growing Popularity of Car Sharing Likely To Require Changes in Current Policy Wording
Photo - © Stasique - Fotolia.com
Posted on 3/18/2014 7:44 AM Cam Clay
Lying in bed late at night, counting sheep isn’t fun for anyone. You’re probably like us here at Alpine Insurance and Financial and would prefer to have your head hit the pillow and be out for the count. But it doesn’t always work like that, which can result in some rough mornings.
Unfortunately, your day can be worse than just waking up with a headache or feeling groggy; sleepiness can lead to auto accidents. Car accidents that are caused by drowsy driving tend to fit a certain profile. These are the characteristics:
- Late night/early morning or midafternoon accidents
- Usually single occupant, single vehicle
- The driver makes no attempt to avoid collision
- Most likely to occur on high speed roads, like highways and freeways
Getting enough sleep at night is important for a lot of reasons. A lack of sleep can impair both your judgment and driving performance. Inadequate sleep can lead to increased reaction times, inattention and a decreased ability to process information. Even just one to two hours less sleep than is recommended can have devastating effects on your driving habits.
So how can you reduce your risk for a drowsy driving related crash? Here are three countermeasures:
- When you are already tired, do not even drink a small amount of alcohol before driving (you really shouldn’t be drinking and driving at all)
- Limit driving between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.
- PLAN to get sufficient sleep
It can be hard sticking to a sleep schedule; sometimes your body just doesn’t want to cooperate. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try. So let’s spread the word about getting enough sleep at night and try to make our roads a safer place!
Source – Drowsy Driving and Automobile Crashes
Photo - © Black Spring - Fotolia.com
Posted on 3/11/2014 12:27 AM Cam Clay
Equipment breakdowns are a part of life in the business world. Each year hundreds of millions of dollars are lost due to equipment breakdown. Today, most every business is heavily dependent on computers, electronics and various other mechanical processes - small glitches can result in big problems, and even bigger losses.
Preparedness is the hallmark of a successful business, and as a business owner, it is your job to put your business in the best position to succeed. It is important then that you develop a business continuity plan that mitigates the risk of equipment breakdown.
Developing a Business Continuity Plan
Step 1: Identify Critical Equipment
It is important that you identify all pieces of equipment that are critical to your core business. For each piece identified, you will need to ask the following questions:
- How would a breakdown of this equipment affect our business?
- Can we tolerate a disruption, and for how long?
- Who will provide the repairs?
Step 2: Practice Routine Maintenance
One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a business owner is to not properly care for and/or maintain your equipment. For each piece of equipment you own, there will be a manufacturer recommendation for routine maintenance - it is important that you follow these guidelines to avoid breakdowns:
- Maintain all equipment according to the manufacturer recommendation
- Document maintenance and monitor trends
- Know who to call for service and whether or not they have the means to quickly replace routine parts
Step 3: Plan For Equipment Breakdowns
Every business continuity plan should include equipment breakdown contingencies. Your number one consideration should be how to maintain regular business functions even when a breakdown occurs. In you plan you need to outline:
- Identify a reliable source of repair for each of the pieces of equipment we determined in Step 1
- Know where to obtain rental equipment
- Who is qualified to operate said equipment and will they need any special licenses or permits
- Review the plan with management and/or key personnel
- Test the plan to ensure you are sticking to the designated recovery timeframe
Equipment Breakdown Coverage
A business continuity plan alone will not protect you from the damages associated with a critical equipment breakdown. Equipment breakdown coverage, like that offered by Alpine Insurance & Financial, is a Property Insurance extension designed to protect your business from the potentially devastating effects of a breakdown. We not only help with repair costs, but we also cover you for extra expenses and lost income.
Contact Alpine Insurance & Financial for more information!
Source - 3 Tips to Help Clients Prevent Equipment Breakdown
Photo - © Kadmy - Fotolia.com
Posted on 2/11/2014 7:41 AM Cam Clay
84% of Canadians celebrate Valentine’s Day, with 60.9% spending an average of $100.89 per person. We know, it has become a bit commercialized, but the message is still good all the same: Show the person that you love just how much you care about them. Many people will be showing their love this Valentine’s Day with an engagement ring.
An engagement ring is often times an expensive investment, one that you will want to be sure you are able to protect. While you cannot buy a standalone Jewelry Insurance policy as a consumer, you can add it on to your home or renters insurance. This rider or floater as they are known, will you give you protection against theft, loss and “mysterious disappearances.”
A standard home or renters insurance policy will only cover you for up to $1,000-$2,000 per covered loss, but a jewelry rider will cover your full loss and you won’t have to pay any out of pocket expenses because there is no deductible.
So how do you go about getting Jewellery Insurance? You can start by contacting your agent at Alpine Insurance & Financial for a free quote. We do ask that you submit to us a receipt from the store detailing the dollar amount you spent on the ring, as well as a note from the appraiser. If you are proposing with an heirloom it is particularly important that you visit a reputable appraiser so that we are equipped for the proper value of the ring.
Remember, you will need to add an jewellery you insure to a list of your home inventory. The Jewellery Insurance is assigned to one address only, so be sure that if you move, or are planning to move, the policy moves with you.
Alpine Insurance and Financial wishes you the best of luck on your Valentine’s Day Proposal!
Valentine’s Day – A Business Perspective
Here’s Something Every Real Sweetheart Should Know: Jewelry And Other Expensive Valentine’s Day Gift Items Require Special Insurance Coverage
Photo - © leungchopan - Fotolia.com
Posted on 1/20/2014 3:12 PM Cam Clay
Cold weather often means idling vehicles. The problem with idling is that in this day and age it provides only a creature comfort: It isn’t fuel-efficient and it can be harmful to your health and the environment.
Back in the days of carburetors and chokes, many drivers chose to warm up their vehicles because otherwise their engines would balk and stutter in the cold. But ask any auto mechanic today and they will tell you that due to the switch from carburetors to fuel injected engines your vehicle is best warmed up by driving, not by allowing it to idle.
In fact, it takes only 30 seconds of driving for the oil to circulate your engine in its entirety.
Here are a few more facts about idling:
Restart or idle?
True or false? It is more fuel-efficient to allow your car to idle than to turn off and restart the engine.
False. Any time your vehicle is left to idle for more than 10 seconds it is a greater waste of gasoline to leave it running than to switch it off.
Idling hurts your vehicle
To idle you vehicle is to expose your engine to unnecessary harm. The longer you idle the more likely your vehicle is to enter into a “gasoline-rich mode” that decreases not only fuel economy but also performance.
Turn off the engine, save money
Do you like saving money? By eliminating 5 minutes of idle time, you can save $65 per year and 75 litres of gasoline!
Exhaust isn’t good for you
Over the years, studies have shown that children who live close to major roadways have a lower IQ than those who don’t. This is because exhaust is bad for you, particularly at a young age when children still in strollers are more likely to be in close contact with the tailpipe of an idling vehicle. Exhaust has also been linked to increased rates of cancer, heart and lung disease, asthma and allergies.
Source – 8 Facts and Myths About Warming Up Your Car in Winter
Photo - © Stephen Finn - Fotolia.com
Posted on 1/14/2014 9:02 AM Cam Clay
Driving in the snow can be treacherous. No matter how well you prepare, accidents happen. The problem is that so few people are prepared. KRC Research recently conducted an online survey on behalf of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and found that only 4% of respondents carry all of the essential emergency supplies recommended by State Farm (see below).
1,050 Canadian adults, aged 18 and older were surveyed from Oct 25th to Nov 3rd, 2013. Each was required to have a valid driver’s license.
The good news is that 97% of surveyed drivers do in fact carry at least one emergency supply in their vehicle. The bad news? 61% admit to carrying more junk than emergency tools. Pop open the average Canadian’s trunk and you’re more likely to find food wrappers or Frisbees than roadside flares or jumper cables.
We really can’t stress enough the importance of carrying roadside emergency equipment in your vehicle. Even a short trip can have major delays. The last thing we want is for you to be stranded in the snow, fog, or rain without the proper supplies.
So walk out to your car, take an inventory and determine which essential emergency supplies you need to stay safe out on the road:
Essential Emergency Supplies
- Spare tire
- Windshield scraper/brush
- Jumper cables
- First aid kit
- Blanket and/or extra clothing
- Road flares
Additional (Suggested) Emergency Supplies
- Cellphone and charger
- Calorie-dense non-perishable food
- Road salt or kitty litter (to help with traction)
- Fluorescent distress sign (“Help”, “Call Police”)
Source - Most surveyed drivers have one type of emergency supply in their vehicle trunks, although very few have all types
Photo - © Francesco83 - Fotolia.com
Posted on 12/10/2013 8:57 AM Cam Clay
Here at Alpine Insurance and Financial we know all about the cold. We’ve been insuring your Alberta homes and businesses for years, so when we see sub-freezing temperatures in the forecast, we know that it is time to start preparing our customers for dealing with the consequences of the frigid cold.
One of the most problematic issues with the cold, and one that we see many claims for, is water damage due to pipes that have frozen or burst. Your Home Insurance policy should cover you for winter-related damage, including ice dams and wind.
While we are here to protect you in the event that you do need to file a claim, we recommend proactivity and prepping your home before the elements have had a chance to wreak havoc.
Keeping your home warm is the first step to preventing frozen pipes. Eighteen degrees Celsius is an adequate temperature for keeping pipes thawed. Remember, the temperature inside your home is significantly warmer than the inside of your walls. If you have an attic or crawlspace, you may want to consider insulating them for further protection from the cold as well.
Another helpful tip is to keep water running through your pipes when the temperatures drop below freezing. You don’t need to keep your faucets turned all the way up; you need only for water to be dripping from both the hot and cold water lines.
You may want to contact a plumber and have them install an emergency pressure release valve, which can help stop frozen pipes from bursting. Or, if you own a home that is currently vacant, you can have said plumber drain your water system – no water, no water damage.
Be aware of the location of your emergency water shut-off valve and where all pipes are located. Every minute water seeps into your home is more money tacked onto the repair bill.
Source - Are You Ready For a Long, Cold, Snowy Winter? More Importantly, Is Your Home Prepared and Winter-Proofed?
Photo - © eugene kashko - Fotolia.com
Posted on 12/3/2013 11:07 PM Cam Clay
Baby, it’s cold outside!
With temperatures dropping, we know you’d probably like to be spending more time inside by the fire. Unfortunately, duty calls and we all have to head outside at some point - whether we’re taking the kids to school, going to work, or shoveling snow.
Here in Canada, we enjoy one of the world’s most severe winter climates. While we’d like to think that just makes us tougher than most, that doesn’t mean we are immune to the hazards of extreme cold. Windburn, hypothermia and frostbite are very real maladies affecting people around the country.
Who is most at risk?
As we’ve already stated, everyone is at risk to suffer from extreme cold, it just so happens however, that there are certain groups more likely to be affected than others:
- Senior citizens
- The homeless
- Those with diseases affecting the blood vessels or taking beta-blockers
- Outdoor workers
- Winter sports enthusiasts
How do I reduce my risk?
The number one way to reduce your risk of illness or injury resulting from extreme cold is to stay inside. Can’t? Then you had better bundle up and pay attention to local weather reports. Environment Canada is very good about providing wind chill alerts for conditions that will cause frostbite.
When venturing outdoors, it is better to be over dressed than underdressed – you can always remove layers. Your outermost layer should be wind resistant, while synthetic fabrics and wool are best for keeping your body dry.
Remember, your nose is very much susceptible to frostbite and windburn. A scarf or facemask is best for protection.
We hear it all the time: warm yourself up with a drink. And it’s true - alcohol will increase blood flow to the extremities. The problem? That feeling of warmth you might get with a shot of whiskey isn’t doing anything for your core body temperature; you’re still losing heat.
We at Alpine Insurance wish you the safest of winters! Protect your investments with one of our insurance policies.
Source – Healthy Living: Extreme Cold
Photo - © eugenesergeev - Fotolia.com