I know that the first thing you do when you receive your policy is to sit down and read it. NOT!!
So, I thought I would give you an overview of what that insurance contract includes. In other words, use the KISS principle to explain it.
Insurance is a contract between you and your insurer and believe it or not, there is no such thing as true “All Risk”. Insurance is not, and was never designed, to cover everything! Generally, all insurance contracts include the following sections with conditions, exclusions and limitations:
- Declaration’s page – describes, who is insured, when, amounts of insurance and premium
- Insuring agreements– what are you covered for
- Exclusions – what’s not covered
- Conditions – Certain requirements or conditions that are required for coverage to be valid
- Definitions – Words that have clearly defined meaning for your contract
- Warranties – Things that you must do or you may not have coverage
- Limits and deductibles – How much insurance you have and what is your share.
- Endorsements – changes to the above
- Signature clause – Signature of the official signing to the agreement
You have rights in that contract.
You also have responsibilities as required by law under the Insurance Act of Alberta. These are called Statutory Conditions and must be included in every property or casualty policy issued in the province of Alberta. There are additional Statutory Conditions for Auto Insurance, many but not all of them, are similar. We will talk about the Auto Insurance Stat Conditions in a future blog.
- MISREPRESENTATION – Don’t lie or tell a part-truth to an insurance company. If you do, they can void your policy or rightfully refuse to pay a claim.
- PROPERTY OF OTHERS – You can’t insure something you don’t own, have a financial interest in or have assumed responsibility of.
- CHANGE OF INTEREST – Insured losses occurring after an assignment due to bankruptcy, insolvency or change of title by succession, operation of law or death are covered.
- MATERIAL CHANGE – If any conditions of your situation or property changes, you need to tell your insurer. If you aren’t sure, ask.
- TERMINATION – A contract can only be cancelled by you on request at any time or by an insurance company giving written notice. Certain penalties may apply if you cancel.
- REQUIREMENTS AFTER A LOSS – No don’t just walk away. You must:
Right away tell your insurer when and how it happened
Provide a proof of loss (your insurer will give you a form to complete)
Prove the amount of your loss.
Co-operate with the insurer and provide them the records they request.
- WHO MAY GIVE NOTICE AND PROOF OF LOSS – If you can’t provide or don’t provide the Proof of Loss, it can be given by your agent (under certain conditions) or any one to whom some or all of the insurance money is payable.
- SALVAGE – You must protect your property from further loss or damage after the occurrence and the insurer will help you pay for it.
- ENTRY, CONTROL & ABANDONMENT – The insurer has right of access to your property but they can’t take control or possession without your consent and you can’t just walk away from it.
- IN CASE OF DISAGREEMENT – This one is important! You have the right to a dispute resolution process prescribed by the government if you don’t agree with the amount the insurer will pay to repair or replace your property. Here’s some more info for you – Insurance Complaints
- WHEN LOSS PAYABLE – The insurer has 60 days to pay you after you file your Proof of Loss.
- REPAIR OR REPLACEMENT – Unless you have entered the “Dispute Resolution Process” outlined in item 10, the insurer instead of paying you, may repair, replace or rebuild and must start within 45 days of you filing your Proof of Loss.
- NOTICE – Written notice can be delivered or sent to the Head Office of the insurer in the province. The insurer must reach out to you at the address shown on your contract.
Now comes the fun part. You can’t take this to the bank or the courts. This is the condensed version of the Statutory Conditions to help make it just a bit easier. If you want to know more, then read your contract, talk to your insurance provider or better still call me!
I’m always happy to help you decipher the legal jargon in your contract. Reach out to email@example.com or 587-597-5478.