Get Answers to Your Questions

At Finnegan Insurance Brokers, we get a lot of questions about how to prevent emergency situations that must be claimed on insurance, and what to do in the case of an emergency. Read through our frequently asked questions to find answers to some of these questions.

Auto

Q: How can I prevent vehicle theft?

A: There is no way to completely prevent your car from being stolen, but you can make it difficult for a thief to steal your vehicle or its contents. A few of the ways you can decrease the likelihood of vehicle theft include:

  • Never leaving your keys in the vehicle
  • Turning your ignition off and locking your vehicle whenever you leave your car
  • Avoid parking on the street
  • Concealing items left in your car, keeping things in the trunk and never leaving money or CDs in the open
  • Parking your vehicle in a well-lit, well-guarded, highly visible area whenever possible
  • Asking your neighbours to watch out for your vehicle and doing the same for them
  • Installing an anti-theft deterrent such as a car alarm or an ignition disabler

Q: How can I tell if my child restraint has been installed properly?

A: It is important to install a child's restraint seat properly in order for it to be effective. Read the manufacturer's installation instructions thoroughly and follow them exactly. Many police departments also have programs to help with proper installation. For tips and information regarding child seat safety, please contact the following organizations:

Q: Is it safe to use my cell phone while driving?

A: Cell phones can be valuable equipment in a car when you need to call for assistance. However, they can also be a distraction if they are used while driving, and many jurisdictions are considering restrictions on cell phone use while driving. For safety's sake, don't use your cell phone while driving. If you need to make a call, stop your car safely away from traffic before picking up the phone. 

Q: What should I do if I’m involved in a collision?

A: Here are some basic tips to help protect both yourself and your interests in the event of a car accident:

  • Call the police immediately, and an ambulance if necessary.
  • Do not admit liability.
  • Record details of the accident including date, time, location, a description of the accident, any injuries, and any charges laid.
  • Record details concerning the other party and vehicle such as owner's name and address, phone number, and vehicle year, make and model.
  • It is very important to obtain the insurance information of the other driver. This includes the name of the insurance company and the policy number and the name of the broker or agent.
  • Obtain a copy of the police report from the attending officer, as this will have the accident report number for future reference.

Business

Q: How can I prevent general commercial crime?

A: Ensure that all exterior doors have deadbolt locks with a minimum one inch bolt into the strike plate.

  • Secure exposed exterior door hinge pins to prevent their removal.
  • Protect all grade floor glass with bars, metal screens or burglary resistant glazing materials.
  • Install a burglar alarm system which is monitored offsite. We recommend that the system be certified by Underwriters Laboratories of Canada (ULC).
  • Continually check for unsafe work conditions and practices, and take prompt corrective action.
  • Provide a complement of serviced, multi-purpose fire extinguishers in your premises and instruct all staff in their use.
  • Clamp or lock PCs to desks/work stations. Security kits are available at nominal cost.
  • Backup data and programs on a regular basis and store them offsite in a secure location.
  • Laptop computers are portable and easy targets for theft. Do not leave them unsecured or unattended.
  • Maintain records of serial numbers for all of your computer equipment.

Q: How can I prevent office loss?

A: Avoid overloading of electrical outlets, particularly in older buildings equipped with fuses instead of circuit breakers.

  • If existing electrical service is inadequate, ensure that any required electrical modifications are done by a professional electrician.
  • Ensure that life and safety features such as fire alarms, exit signs and emergency lights are operational and serviced as per applicable fire code specifications.
  • Clean all spills or wet floors immediately, post signs warning of wet or damp floors and check floor surfaces for potential hazards on a regular basis. Non-slip rugs should be used during the winter months.

Q: How can I prevent commercial vehicle loss?

A: Be selective when hiring drivers for your vehicles by obtaining pre-employment checks on all employees. Your vehicles should be suitable for the type of work you do and the relative experience of your drivers. A safety conscious driver, with a clean driving and operating record, is the key to reducing the risk of personal injury to the driver and passengers as well as any damage or injury to others.

  • Drivers should never pick up hitchhikers or allow anyone who is not authorized by the owner to ride in the vehicle.
  • Proper maintenance improves road safety, and should be completed by experienced and qualified mechanics. Regular maintenance schedules and records should be kept to prevent accidents caused by unexpected mechanical failures.
  • Inspect your vehicle every day against a standardized checklist. Keep your vehicle equipped with a flashlight, good spare tire, jack and flares in case of emergencies.
  • Proper use of vehicles extends the life of your vehicle as well as preventing damage to the property of others. Drive on well-maintained and well-travelled roads. Travel at speeds that are not in excess of the posted speed limit. Properly secured loads prevent your load from spilling on the roadways causing damage to others. Improper loading or overloading leads to load shift and/or upset or rollover. Vehicles should only be used for their intended purpose.
  • Always lock your vehicle and take the keys with you, even if it is only for a few minutes.
  • Never leave the engine running while your vehicle is unattended.
  • Safeguard your keys – never keep your vehicle keys or business keys on the same key ring and never attach identification tags to them.
  • Valuable items exposed to view are an invitation to thieves (e.g. log books, delivery schedules, cash, cheques). Drivers should never reveal the contents of their vehicles, their loads, their destination or leave their loads unattended.
  • Deliveries should not be made unless the receiving party signs for them.
  • Parking in well-lit areas is important for personal safety and for the protection of your vehicle and cargo. Keep your vehicle in a locked garage or protected location when not in use.
  • Choose your anti-theft devices carefully. There are many types of anti-theft devices available to protect your vehicle and cargo. Choose the mechanical device, alarm or electronic immobilizer that is best suited to protect your vehicle and cargo.

Home

Q: How can I prevent a burglar from entering my home?

A: Burglary is a crime of opportunity. Studies show that most burglars attack during the daytime when dense bushes and trees protect them from view, and the building appears unoccupied. One-third of burglars enter from the basement, one third force entry through a window or door, and one third gain access from an unlocked/open door or window. To best protect your home, look at it from a burglar's perspective. What are the vulnerable parts? Here are a few simple and inexpensive steps to make sure your home is not an attractive target:

  • Secure your premises.
    • Close blinds and curtains at night so that a burglar can't scope your belongings.
    • Lock all doors and windows before leaving.
    • Lock windows so that they can't be opened from the outside. If they can't be locked, you can pin them by drilling a hole through both window frames and inserting a bolt or metal pin. The pin must be easily removable for emergency situations.
    • Home burglar alarm systems are a great deterrent. Even if you have an alarm system, don't neglect the other security measures available to you. An alarm provides an extra layer of security, but is no replacement for good common sense. Alarm owners should still do what they can to make sure their home is not an attractive target for thieves.
  • Make your home look occupied at all times. 
    • Use timers to maintain normal lighting patterns.
    • Leave a radio on when you are away from your home for short periods of time.
  • Protect your valuables. 
    • Consider marking your valuables indelibly (engraved) with your driver’s license or social insurance number.
    • Take an inventory of your home with a videotape and/or photographs.
    • Keep jewellery and negotiables in a safety deposit box or an unlikely place (i.e. not your bedroom).


You can also secure the outside of your home, making it more difficult for burglars to force entry:

  • Keep your shrubbery cut back so that it doesn't block windows and doors.
  • Secure window air conditioners from the inside.
  • Illuminate as much of your property as possible.
  • Exterior doors should be solid, not hollow. Metal doors provide the best protection against forced entry.
  • Use a fencing style that would not conceal a burglar's activities. Remember if you can't see out, others can't see in.
  • Secure any glass that is less than 40' from a door lock. Either coat exterior glass with an acrylic or polycarbonate to strengthen, or replace with laminated or tempered glass.
  • Door hinges that are on the outside should have a non-removable center pin that can't be tampered with.
  • Install deadbolt locks.
  • Dogs are great deterrents to burglars. Even a strategically placed "Beware of Dog" sticker can make a burglar think twice. Of course, vicious dogs are never a good idea. If your dog bites someone, you might find yourself in court. A dog that barks is better than one that bites.
  • Place hinged security bars over basement windows. Remember to keep the key nearby for emergency exits.
  • Pin sliding patio doors together when closed. Another easy security step is to drill a hole in the upper track and insert a screw that extends out into the runner to prevent the door from being lifted up and out of its track.
  • Ensure that a burglar cannot access the roof from high trees or a ladder left outside.

Q: What encourages burglars to break into my home?

A: Here are some things you should never do:

  • Put up a nameplate outside of your house with your full name. A burglar can use this information to look up your number in the phone book and call to see if you are home.
  • Leave a note on the door or in the mailbox telling a friend/family member that you aren't home.
  • Leave spare keys in an obvious place such as the mailbox or under the front door mat. This makes it very easy for a burglar to rob your house quickly without forcing entry.
  • Leave cash and handbags in view in your home. 
  • Leave doors unlocked when you are at the other end of the house or in the yard.

Q: What should I do if my house gets broken into?

A: Despite your best efforts, a burglar may still penetrate your home. If you return to find that your house has been robbed: 

  • Don't stay – always think of your safety first
  • Never confront a burglar or block the exit route
  • Go immediately to a neighbour's home or nearby location and phone the police

If you have further questions about insurance claims, we are happy to provide you with the information you need. Call us today to get in touch with us.

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