Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Speeding up the Claims Process

Spring is here and snowbirds are making their way back to Canada. While most of them will return home with happy memories, some will return to medical bills and claims paperwork, due to mishaps or ailments while away.

In order to have a smooth and expedient claims experience, we should:
  • Contact insurance company as soon as possible to open their claim
  • Send all documents right away – almost half of all claims forms are not returned within the first 30 days
  • Double-check all forms are signed where indicated
  • Ensure all bills are original and itemized, including original pharmacy prescription receipts (store or credit card receipts are not sufficient)
  • Contact their doctor immediately regarding medical reports, as this is often one of the most common reasons for delay
If you have any questions or need help filling out claim forms, contact travel insurance companies immediately for help. Once the paperwork is received, the claims process can begin. Other delays are caused by third parties including doctors, hospitals, and airline companies, so the sooner you can provide all necessary documentation, the better.

Hopefully, we could have a safe trip, without incident. But if we do need to submit a claim, make sure to get it well-prepared. If we are going to purchase travel insurance next year, it is good to also provide with claims information. Don't hesitate to contact us, Bridges International Insurance Service, who can answer any questions you may have.

For more information on insurance, visit us at www.biis.ca or call 1-888-267-4461. Our staff would be pleased to answer all your inquiries.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Online Tax Information Make Filing Easier for All

If you’re just starting to file your taxes, you’ll find the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) online information is a fast and easy way to understand what you need to do. Check out a new video for Canadian students meant specially to help them with filing their income tax and benefit return. This tax information video and others like it allow you to choose specific segments that interest you, so you can access only the information you need, when you need it. By watching this video, you’ll be aware of all credits and benefits available to you and your obligations as a taxpayer.

Now, Canada Revenue Agency’s online services are fast, easy, and secure. You can use them to file your income tax and benefit return, make a payment, track your refund, and more. Sign up for direct deposit too! Your refund and any benefit or credit payments owed to you will be deposited directly into your account, putting your money into your pocket faster. Plus, if you request direct deposit and file online, you may get your refund in as little as eight days! For more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready.

For more information on insurance, visit us at www.biis.ca or call 1-888-267-4461. Our staff would be pleased to answer all your inquiries.

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Monday, April 15, 2013

Tenant's Insurance Covers Your Loss of Possessions and Living Out Expenses

Early last month in Burnaby there was a blaze that destroyed 35 suites. The majority of residents without tenant's insurance coverage had to face loss of all their belongings, including their beloved pets.
"Everybody lost everything. Many cats died, a couple snakes died and a rabbit and frogs, lots of pets," one of the rescued residents said.
The fire also revealed that the wood-frame building, which was about 50 years old, did not have a sprinkler system, and the majority of the tenants did not have insurance. Those tenants who couldn't find friends or family to stay with, about a dozen people, were being put up in nearby hotels for immediate accommodation.
In fact, if you rent your apartment or house from a landlord, tenant's insurance is available to help you replace your belongings after a loss due to fire, theft or water damage. You do not need to get coverage for the building because this is your landlord's responsibility. Your tenant's insurance policy also pays for extra costs that result from the loss. And your insurance protects you if someone gets hurt or someone else's property gets damaged because of your negligence. There are several benefits of a tenant's policy.
Firstly, it protects your belongings in the apartment. If you suffer a loss due to a risk or peril, such as fire or theft, your possessions, including furniture, clothes and electronics, are covered. Policies usually cover certain items such as jewellery or sporting equipment to a minimum amount, so if you have items worth more than the designated amount, talk to your insurance broker about adding extra coverage. Keep receipts for your large-ticket items or have items appraised, and keep these records stored in a safe place. It's also advised that you create an inventory of your belongings along with brand names and serial numbers, and take photos or videos, and store this inventory record in a safe place.
In the event of a loss, insurance pays for any necessary expenses while your apartment is being repaired, such as hotel bills, restaurant meals and moving costs. This coverage is subject to certain limits.
Tenants are responsible for the harm they cause to any part of their apartment building itself and to others who live or visit there (your neighbour's apartments). For example, if a lamp or appliance starts a fire that causes damage not only to your apartment but also to other tenants' or neighbours' contents and any structure of the building you can be held responsible for the cost of that damage.
If your faulty toaster oven starts a fire that damages not only your apartment, but also the entire complex, you may have to pay out a lot of money. Similarly, if someone slips and falls in your apartment, you could be held financially responsible for the cost of the injured person's pain, suffering and medical bills. Tenant's insurance covers these costs.
Types of Tenants' Insurance You Can Buy and What They Cover
Each insurance company packages tenants' insurance products by different names, but they should all include two kinds of coverage - Basic Liability coverage and Contents coverage.
1. Basic Liability coverage protects you if you or your guests cause damage to the building - whether it is your unit or the whole building. If you don't have this protection and you are sued for the repair costs, you could be financially responsible for the whole bill. This coverage is comparable to the liability coverage in a typical homeowners' policy.
2. Contents coverage replaces your belongings if they are lost or damaged. You may think you have little of value, but you would be very surprised how much it would cost you to replace everything - all at once. You should insure for an amount representing the new replacement cost of all your belongings. Coverage is on a named perils or an all risk basis.
Located in downtown Vancouver BC, Bridges International Insurance Services is a leading Canadian insurance broker for over 10 years. We represent major Canadian insurance companies that have been assisting residents in BC. Check out our website at http://www.biis.ca and contact us today at info@biis.ca or 604-408-8695 or 1-888-267-4461.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Save money by doing your own taxes?

Each year in April, it’s time to file our own taxes, while financial experts warn that saving a few dollars up front might end up costing you more on your tax return.

Alim Dhanji, a certified financial planner in Vancouver, says "If our taxes are straightforward and we want to do them ourselves, it's not a bad idea, but if it gets more complicated then hiring a professional can save you a lot of money because there's a lot of items that are often overlooked, and it's hard for an individual to keep up with all the new tax laws."

Dhanji comments there are areas that can be used for tax savings that personal filers can forget about, including income or pension splitting and deferring RRSP contribution room. We should take advantage of these credits can result in thousands of dollars of lost savings.

According to the latest statistics available, the Canada Revenue Agency says 26.1 million Canadians filed a tax return in 2010. Among all filers, 48.2 per cent did their own taxes while 51.7 per cent hired a third party. Cost is cited as one of the top reasons why Canadians opt for the do-it-yourself approach when it comes to tax preparation.

Experts say people should expect to pay anywhere from $20 for tax computer software and at least $50 to file at a clinic. Average rates from tax professionals can range from $150 per hour to $500 for a complicated return involving many slips.

It is advised that we purchase the computer tax software. With popular tax software, like UFile or Intuit's TurboTax, filers are taken through the process step-by-step, and have the option of going back and fixing numbers to see how changes might affect the amount of their return.

For more information on travel insurance, visit us at www.biis.ca or call 1-888-267-4461. Our staff would be pleased to answer all your inquiries.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Canada is among world's top 10 tourist destinations

Canada is one of the world's top tourist destinations, according to Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index by World Economic Forum. 

Canada is rated "excellent" in air transportation infrastructure, rich natural resources and cultural diversity put us in eighth place among 140 nations. Canada is also home to a number of World Heritage sites, including the Rocky Mountains, the Rideau Canal and Old Town Lunenburg.
However, Canada has slipped in two areas: competitive prices and environmental sustainability. 
The top five countries on the index were all in Europe: Switzerland followed by Germany, Austria, Spain, the U.K., the U.S., France, Sweden and Singapore. 
1. Switzerland

2. Germany

3. Austria

4. Spain

5. UK

6. US

7. France

8. Canada

9. Sweden

10. Singapore

For more information on travel insurance, visit us at www.biis.ca or call 1-888-267-4461. Our staff would be pleased to answer all your inquiries.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Will I get insurance covered if I have pre-existing conditions?

People often worry that a pre-existing condition may exclude them from insurance coverage.

Many Canadians have some kind of pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes, asthma or other manageable conditions that don’t have a debilitating impact on their daily lives. Insurance is certainly available for anyone with this kind of condition. If you have a pre-existing condition, you will likely be given what is called a “rated” policy. This policy may carry a higher premium and will generally require medical tests before you will be approved for coverage, such as a blood or urine test, to ensure that you do not have any other conditions.

What most people don’t know is that insurance coverage is also available for survivors of more serious conditions such as heart disease, stroke or cancer. Generally, these policies can only be purchased a certain number of years after the date that the patient was pronounced as recovered from the condition and are mostly sold as a rated policy.

Coverage is usually not available to any individual who does not meet eligibility or who:
a) Has been diagnosed with a terminal illness;
b) Has been diagnosed with or has had an episode of congestive heart failure;
c) Has Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV);
d) Has Alzheimer’s disease or any other type of dementia;
e) Has received any type of treatment for pancreatic cancer, liver cancer or any type of cancer that has metastasized;
f) Has been prescribed or used home oxygen treatment in the last 12 months;
g) Has had a major organ transplant (heart, kidney, liver, lung);
h) Has received kidney dialysis treatment in the last 12 months.
You are eligible to apply for coverage if you meet the eligibility requirements stated above.

For more information on travel insurance, visit us at www.biis.ca or call 1-888-267-4461. Our staff would be pleased to answer all your inquiries.

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Monday, April 1, 2013

Travel insurance excludes 10 high-risk activities

Travel insurance usually excludes high-risk activities, which include any skiing out of bounds, heliskiing, ski jumping, skydiving, sky-surfing, scuba diving, white water rafting, street luge, skeleton activities, mountaineering, or participation in any rodeo activity.

    Ski Jumping


    Sky surfing

    Scuba diving (except if certified by internationally recognized and accepted program such as NAUI or PADI, or if diving depth does not exceed 30 metres)

    White water rafting (except grades 1 to 4)

    Street Luge

    Skeleton activity


    Rodeo activity

      For more information on travel insurance, visit us at www.biis.ca or call 1-888-267-4461. Our staff would be pleased to answer all your inquiries.

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