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Halloween Safety Tips

  • Don’t use sharp knives to carve pumpkins, use the knives provided in pumpkin carving kits
  • Use flashlights or battery operated candles to light up your jack-o-lanterns
  • If indoors, keep jack-o-lanterns at least one metre away from flammable materials such as curtains.
  • If outdoors, keep jack-o-lanterns at least one metre away from flammable materials and out of the path of trick-or-treaters.
  • Clear your front entrance of any items over which trick-or-treaters might trip.
  • Meet the trick-or-treaters on the walkway so they don’t have to climb steps to your front door
  • Make sure that pets are properly secured (for example, in a closed room with food and water), so that they do not suddenly rush out when you open your front door to trick-or-treaters.
  • Ensure children are properly lite


Tips to Prepare for High Winds, Heavy Rains and Floods

  • Contact your municipal offices to inquire about disaster relief programs in your community
  • Keep the area around your home clear of garbage and recycling bins, patio furniture, yard debris and other objects that heavy winds could pick up and blow around
  • Clear eaves troughs and downspouts of leaves and debris and ensure downspouts drain properly - ideally six feet away from your home
  • Get a licensed professional to: install an anti-backflow valve; install a sump pump with a reliable power backup; inspect your current equipment; clear drains of roots or obstructions; and ensure drain systems are working properly
  • If it looks like water intrusion may occur, shut off the electricity and outside gas valve immediately. Move important personal documents and expensive items out of the basement to a higher floor to keep them safe from water damage
  • Never go near or touch fallen power lines. Call your local energy utility company to alert them to damage.


Did you know that traffic laws changed in Ontario effective September 1, 2015?

The “Making Ontario Roads Safer Act” or Bill 31 was approved unanimously in June and will come into effect September 1st which imposes new rules for drivers and heavier fines as in most provinces.

According to Toronto.ctvnews.ca the new rules and fines are as follows:

Distracted driving: If you’re caught looking at your phone, texting or talking on your phone while driving, you will face much bigger fines and more demerit points, the province is warning. The current fine for distracted driving is approximately $200. As of Tuesday, those found guilty of distracted driving will face fines up to $1,000 and more demerit points. Drivers with G1 or G2 licenses could have their permits suspended on the spot.

Pedestrian crossovers: Drivers will have to wait until pedestrians have completely crossed the road at pedestrian crossovers and school crossings before proceeding. About half of all fatal traffic accidents involving pedestrians occur at intersections, the Ministry of Transportation said. The new law is an attempt to make roads safer for pedestrians. This change will take effect in January.

Passing cyclists: Drivers will have to give cyclists at least one metre of room wherever possible. The fine for breaking this rule has not yet been set. Motorists who open the door of their vehicle into the path of a cyclist without checking will face fines between $300 and $1,000 and three demerit points.

The “move over” law: As for Sept. 1, drivers will be require to slow down and move into the next lane whenever they see a stopped emergency vehicle with its red and blue lights flashing. This will apply to stopped tow trucks that have amber lights flashing. The fine for breaking these rules will be $490 and three demerit points.

Alcohol and drugs: Those caught driving under the influence of drugs will now face the same penalties as drunk drivers, the ministry said. These include between a three and 90-day license suspension and a week-long vehicle impoundment. More than 45 per cent of drivers killed in Ontario were found that have drugs or alcohol in their systems.

These tougher fines and penalties should help reduce injury or death on the roads and create safer driving habits. 


Pembridge and Pafco Partner with CANATICS to Fight Auto Insurance Fraud

Insurance fraud affects all Canadians. Organized fraud schemes can put people at risk while driving up the cost of insurance for all consumers. In Ontario alone, fraud costs consumers as much as $1.6 billion every year.

Recently, the Ontario government’s Auto Insurance Anti-Fraud Task Force supported the establishment of the Canadian National Insurance Crime Services (CANATICS) - to identify potential cases of organized and premeditated fraud.

Pembridge and Pafco along with other insurance companies have partnered with CANATICS to discover new ways to fight fraud as part of our ongoing commitment to protect Canadian consumers.

Learn more about insurance fraud, what it looks like, and how you can help prevent it.

You can also find out how CANATICS works  and other details about this new initiative.


Help protect your home from flooding with these tips

The excessive snowfalls this winter in Atlantic Canada has been nothing less than extreme. And while dealing with the barrage of snow can be exhausting, it’s important to make sure the onslaught doesn’t create additional issues in the present and near future when the snow finally starts to melt.  Varying temperatures can result in possible moisture intrusion, water damage, sewer backup and other related events around your home.

Protect your largest asset by making sure you manage the snow on your property, while preparing for the coming thaw with the following tips:

  • Snow can be heavy. To prevent roof collapse, if it is safe to do so, try to remove some of the snow. Better yet, hire a professional.
  • Snow removal can also help prevent ice dams from forming.  
  • Clear gutters and eaves troughs of ice, leaves and any debris to keep melt water flowing away from your home.  
  • Remove snow from basement stairwells, window wells and around foundation walls and clear a path for water to reach storm drains and catch basins.
  • Look for cracks in your foundation or basement walls and seal them.


Vehicle Theft Prevention Tips

  • Put vehicles in garages whenever possible (many thefts from driveways).
  • Don’t leave vehicles warming up in the driveway in winter (many thefts also in this manner).
  • Don’t leave extra keys in vehicles. Vehicle door locks are easily defeated and leaving an extra key in the vehicle ensures it is easy to steal.   
  • Toyota vehicles have been especially targeted in the last year with $1.4M worth stolen.


Increase to Québec Auto Insurance Premium Sales Tax

Effective January 1, 2015, the Québec government will be increasing the tax applied to all auto insurance premium payments that are made in 2015 from 5% to 9%, regardless of when the policy was purchased. New policies purchased in 2015 will have the new tax rate applied and outstanding balances on existing polices due in 2015 will be taxed at the new rate when payments are collected. 

The announcement was made as part of the Québec government’s economic announcements in November 2014. On average, this additional 4% tax on premiums will increase the tax payment for passenger vehicles by $2 to $4 per month.

This change applies to all automobile and recreational vehicles insured in the province.  Changes will be reflected on the first payment customers make in 2015, regardless of their billing plan. Customers will be taxed on amounts due in 2015, but not on amounts already paid in 2014.

For customers who have paid in full in 2014 and make no changes to their policy until renewal, the new tax will be applied at renewal. For customers who have tax-exempt status, we will be required to collect the tax and then remit it back, consistent with the current process.

Rest assured, the quality coverage Pafco customers currently enjoy will remain the same. This is our commitment to provide the best protection for you and your family.

If you still have questions regarding your premium, please do not hesitate to contact your broker. If you have any specific questions regarding this recent tax increase, we encourage you to visit the Québec government website or contact your local government representative for more information.


Tips to Protect Your Home in the Cold Weather

The following tips will help you protect your home and property during cold weather:

  • Keep the house heated to a minimum of 18 degrees Celsius. The temperature inside the walls where pipes are located can be substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 18 degrees will not keep the inside walls from freezing.
  • Identify the location for the main water shutoff in your home. Find out how it works in case you have to use it.
  • Open hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. Keeping water moving within the pipes will prevent freezing.
  • If you are going to be away, drain the pipes. This can be done by first shutting off the main water line and then draining all lines by opening the taps and closing them once the water runs out. Also flush toilets to remove water from tanks. Be sure to have someone check on your home while your away to ensure heat is being maintained as well.
  • Make sure all hoses are disconnected from outside spigots.
  • If you discover that pipes are frozen, don't wait for them to burst. Take measures to safely thaw them immediately (such as wrapping pipes in towels soaked in water heated on the stove, or using hot air from a hair dryer, while being careful to stay away from standing water to avoid the risk of shock), or call a plumber for assistance.
  • If your pipes burst, first turn off the water and then mop up spills to prevent the water from doing more damage than it already has.
  • Make temporary repairs and take other steps to protect your property from further damage, such as remove any carpet or furniture that can be further damaged from seepage.


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