Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between an insurance broker and a direct writer?

An insurance broker is an independent representative that will have a selection of insurance carriers as it’s partners. These partnerships provide you with a choice of different insurance companies to fulfil your insurance needs. An independent broker will shop all it’s carriers to ensure you receive the best coverage for the best price. An agent or direct writer only has access to one market, thus removing the choices available to you, the customer.

What are the benefits of an insurance broker?

Your insurance broker is one of your key advisors, along with your accountant, lawyer and banker. Your insurance broker is licensed and meets ongoing educational requirements to maintain that license, assuring you of expert, unbiased advice. Whether it’s finding the best coverage at the best price or negotiating your next claim, your local insurance broker helps you to protect your family, your possessions, and your business.

For auto insurance, what is the minimum coverage one can carry?

In Alberta, the minimum requirement for insurance is $200,000 Third Party Liability and Accident Benefits. (The majority, over 85% of vehicles are insured for at least a $1,000,000 limit of third party liability.).

At Astro Insurance, we highly recommend a minimum of $1,000,000 Third Party Liability, Accident Benefits, and the Family Protection endorsement. The difference in the premium you pay is a few dollars, but the protection in the unfortunate incident of a claim, is priceless. Claims for bodily injury are increasing significantly and we recommend that our clients have at least $2,000,000 Third Party Liability to protect themselves and their families.

Moving to Alberta from out of province or out of country, what do you need?

In order to obtain insurance in Alberta, you need to provide an Alberta drivers license, your current province, state, or country drivers abstract (with the date first licensed listed) and your insurance claims history letter. The insurance claims history needs to go back as far as 10 years if possible. In the event that you have had multiple carriers, we would require a letter from each of them.

Insurance in Alberta is rated on the combination of both years licensed and years continuously insured.

When do I need to provide a Vehicle Inspection?

A vehicle inspection is required for Alberta registered vehicles when the vehicle reaches 12 years old. Should you change insurance carriers, a new inspection is required.

If moving to Alberta from out of province or from out of the country, you will need to obtain an out of province inspection form. These forms are available at our registry office. The inspections are required on all ages of vehicles.

What are the different types of auto insurance one can carry?

Over and above the required liability coverage, you have the option to carry collision and comprehensive coverage on your vehicles. Most vehicles qualify for this coverage and your independent insurance broker can review it with you in more detail.

Collision: Collision protects you should you be involved in an accident, whether you are at fault or not. It allows you to report the accident to your insurance company so they may represent you in the instance of a loss. You would be subject to your collision deductible once the repairs have been completed. Should you be deemed not at fault, your insurance company then represents you against the third party insurance company to subrogate your claim to them. You may be subject to your deductible until your claim has been settled.

Comprehensive: Comprehensive coverage covers incidents other than collision with an object such as fire, theft, vandalism, impact by animal, hail, wind, explosion, and damage to any of your windows. Most people choose to exclude the windshield coverage in order to reduce the premium.

Optional coverages can also include loss of use coverage for a rental car at the time of an insurable loss, rental car insurance coverage for Canada and the US, accident waiver to protect you against your first at fault loss, waiver of depreciation to protect the purchase price of your new car (available only on brand new vehicles, not used).

Why do I need a bill of sale?

We require a bill of sale to prove ownership. Alternatively, a copy of the registration document in your name will be sufficient to prove ownership.

What type of payment plans are there?

As a broker, we provide a large variety of payment plans to meet your independent needs. We offer monthly payments, 2 pay, 3 pay, and full payment options. For monthly payments, you will need to provide either a void cheque or a stamped authorization form from your bank. We would like to remind our customers that in order to change banking information, we require at least 2 weeks notice to amend the withdrawal.

Why is my home insurance so high?

Home insurance is an unstable market. The philosophy of insurance is, “the losses of the few spread among the many…share the risk”. Due to the obscene volume of claims in Canada, yes Canada, the insurance companies have had to increase premiums to help balance the payout in claims. As an insurance broker, we help you find the right fit for premium, deductibles, and coverage as a package. Your best interest is our business.

Why is the replacement cost of my home different to the market value or the tax assessment?

The replacement cost of your home is not influenced by the market value or the tax assessment completed on your home. As brokers, we use a “cost calculator” which is developed by local home builders to determine the rebuild cost of homes. It takes into consideration the going rate to get a house built now, not a negotiated value, as your home is your castle and you need it rebuilt by a good builder, not the cheapest builder. The debris removal of your old home and the costs to clean up the site to rebuild on are also included in the replacement cost. This replacement cost value is not negotiable, however, we review this amount with you at least every five years to ensure it is as accurate as it can be.

Why is there now a Wind and Hail deductible?

After the tremendous number of wind and hail claims in 2012 and 2013, insurance companies have decided that wind and hail coverage is not optional, but essential. We agree and we are convinced that you as consumers also know the value of Wind and Hail protection. Although Wind and hail are not optional coverages, they are listed separately so you can see the difference in the premium price on this specific coverage.

What happens if I make a claim on my insurance?

Home Insurance:

If you make a claim on your house insurance your rates will increase on the following renewal. Claims affect your home insurance for a minimum of 3 years. Not every claim is worth reporting and at Astro Insurance, we are here for you and work with you during your claim experience, providing you with the knowledge so you can have peace of mind.

Auto Insurance:

If you make a claim on your auto insurance, it depends on the type of claim you make on whether or not your rates are affected.

At fault losses, whether partially at fault or fully at fault, count against you as a claim. If you carry the accident waiver, your first at fault loss will not increase your rates. If you do not carry the accident waiver, you should talk to one of our knowledgable staff to see how it will affect your rates.

Does Astro provide after hours claims service?

Should you have to make a claim and Astro is not open, contact our office and you can be connected to your specific company’s after hours emergency claims service.

What do I do if I have to make a claim?

Contact our office and talk to one of our Account Executives. If we are closed and it is an emergency, contact the after hours claims number found on our Claims Page.

Our first priority is you!

See our Claims Page for information and important numbers you may need in the unfortunate event of an accident.