Drivers: Avoid Free Towing Services

After an auto accident, you are in shock and confused. No one anticipates an accident; therefore, when one does happen, you may feel the list of things to handle immediately is overwhelming. Unfortunately, there are towing services out there that take advantage of your confusion and emotional state. These services will park close to an accident and then try to swoop in and get business. Even worse, many of these services are out there to scam drivers. They may offer free services only to bill you later, and the bottom line is, no respectable towing service races to the scene of an accident without being directly called.

Towing – Call Your Car Insurance in Calgary First

Your car needs to be towed and the police reports have already been taken. Instead of using a free service or any service that shows up at the scene, you should contact your car insurance provider instead. Your car insurance will find a trusted towing service in the area and ensure that you are covered so that you do not pay excessive fees just for using the service. Just keep in mind that your policy may have kilometre limitations as to how far you are towed for free before you pay the remaining balance.

If you are a member of a roadside assistance program, you may wish to enlist their help as well for finding a towing service. Most members are entitled to free towing, again, within kilometre limitations as well. You will still be responsible for any taxi fees or additional transportation fees.

Trust the Company Towing Your Vehicle

Accident-chasing towing services are rarely reputable and those that rush to an accident scene are usually there to take undue advantage. It is important that you contact your car insurance in Medicine Hat because:

  • They will recommend a towing service they contract directly with, which means they have worked with that service in the past and you can trust their reputation.
  • They will only hire a licensed, insured professional to tow your vehicle.
  • You will not be surprised with outrageous towing fees and bills later on.
  • You may be fully covered for towing, which means nothing is out of pocket.

Even if liability in the accident has not been established, you should still contact your auto insurer and have them help setup the towing service for you.

TSG Insurance offers comprehensive car insurance in Brooks, Calgary and Medicine Hat that include towing and roadside assistance options. Before you experience the stress of an accident, make sure you have the right level of coverage. Contact us online or call us toll-free at 800-830-9423 to learn more about our auto insurance policy options.

TSG Insurance Acquires Pro Insurance Group in Southern Alberta

Effective May 1, 2015, Thomson Schindle Green (TSG) Insurance and Financial Services Ltd. acquired 100 percent of the Pro Insurance Group shares. We are very excited about the additional locations that have been added in Brooks and Bassano, as they will assist us in providing Team TSG protection throughout Southern Alberta.

We welcome all of the Pro Insurance Group employees and clients to the TSG family. We are looking forward to sharing our insurance companies, products and wealth of experience as well as the knowledge that Team TSG has to offer. The combination of products and services the Pro Insurance Group and Team TSG offers will bring tremendous benefits to all. The merger of the two brokerages will provide a large, stable Southern Alberta brokerage that will be here to service our clients’ needs for many years to come.

If you have any questions or concerns with regards to the merger of these organizations, please do not hesitate to contact Greg Skriver in our Brooks office, or Ken Schindle and/or Stuart Green in Medicine Hat.

8 Things to Keep in Mind When Planning Your Retirement

As the baby boomer generation prepares to leave the workforce, people all across Canada are thinking about their retirement savings. You want to be able to live out your golden years with financial stability and peace of mind.

So how do you properly prepare to retire comfortably? Here are eight tips to keep in mind when planning your retirement.

Start Early

Start saving as early as you can. If you’re in your 20s, you think you have all the time in the world. However, the years can sneak up faster than you think, and you want to build the biggest nest egg possible.

Your 20s are actually the perfect time to start saving. But don’t worry if you’re older and haven’t put away as much as you should have. You might have some catching up to do, but even small savings are better than none.

If you do need to catch up, start by slashing unnecessary expenses. Make coffee at home instead of going to expensive shops, or cut back on entertainment. Put away as much as possible while you can.

You might not like giving up some luxuries now, but you’ll be glad you did when you retire and need the money you saved.

Be Honest

You can find various guidelines for how much money you’ll need to retire. Many sources list an estimate of one million dollars. However, this figure doesn’t fit everyone.

To figure out how much you should save, you need to assess your spending habits and think about the kind of lifestyle you want in retirement. Do you want to travel a lot, or would you prefer to stay home and enjoy your family? Are you accustomed to a higher standard of living and want to maintain it?

Be honest with yourself about how you want to live after retiring. You won’t do yourself any favours by thinking you can live on less than you actually can.

Once you understand your spending habits, you should think about how long you’re likely to live. Are you currently healthy? Do you have an active lifestyle? Take a look at your older family members’ lifespans, especially parents and grandparents.

If you expect to live into your 90s or beyond, then you’ll need to save enough to accommodate a long life.

Get a Financial Advisor

Many people find retirement accounts confusing. When you’re trying to decide what type of account will work best for you, you need a financial advisor to help you navigate the tax system.

Find a good advisor who can explain your options and help you manage the best account for your needs. There are two main types of retirement accounts:

Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP)

An RRSP is a tax-exempt retirement savings plan registered through the Canada Revenue Agency. You put money in the account and as long as the funds stay in the plan, you don’t have to pay taxes on them. However, you do have to pay taxes when you start to make withdrawals from your account.

Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA)

A TFSA is a registered savings plan that allows you to earn investment income free of taxes. Withdrawals from a TFSA are also tax free.

You can have both a TFSA and an RRSP.

Pay Off Your Debt

Before you can start seriously saving for retirement, you need to pay off all your debts. If you can be debt-free sometime in your 50’s, you’ll be in a good place. Pay off your mortgage, cars, and any consumer debt.

If you’re paying for your children’s college tuition, see if they can work part-time to help lessen the burden on you.

See What Your Company Offers

Don’t pass up free money. Many companies offer match programs for RRSP accounts. This means they’ll match whatever you contribute up to a certain limit. The money will come out of your paycheck automatically.

Even if you’re starting an RRSP while you’re still young, you should still contribute at least as much as your employer will match.

Work If You Can

If you’re in good health when you retire, you can preserve your retirement savings by working part-time. You should still save as if you won’t be able to work. However, a little extra income will help your savings last longer.

Minimize Bonds

Don’t put most of your investment portfolio into bonds, even after you retire. Inflation over time can decrease bonds’ buying power. Stocks are better for long-term returns.

Draw From Multiple Accounts

When you retire, don’t go through all the savings in your non-retirement accounts before switching to your registered accounts. Instead, draw from both.

This is especially important if you have an RRSP. When you begin withdrawing money from your RRSP, you have to pay taxes on it.

If you withdraw a little from both your regular savings accounts and your retirement accounts, you will have a smaller tax bill overall than if you go through all your regular savings first and rely exclusively on your RRSP.

It’s never too late to start saving for retirement. With these tips and a good financial advisor, you can enter your golden years with confidence.

Calgary Insurance: 403.723.9416

Medicine Hat Insurance: 403.526.3283

Brooks Insurance: 403.501.5123

The Secret to Choosing the Right Insurance Provider

There are tons of insurance providers out there. How do you sift through all the competing voices and find the right insurance provider for your needs? This blog post will give you the tools you need to select the best insurance for you.

The Features of Insurance Plans

Most insurance providers offer similar coverage and benefits, and most will cover pre-existing conditions and preventative services. What normally sets them apart are other factors:

  • Plan Categories: Many insurance providers offer different tiers of coverage within an insurance type. When you look at the different tiers, choose one that covers you fully without putting a strain on your wallet.
  • Provider Network: Some insurance companies often work closely with certain specialists, like doctors. You can get better deals on medical treatments if you work with doctors on the insurance company’s provider network.
  • Monthly Premiums: You will have to send your insurance provider a check (or premium) every month. The amount that you pay depends on your insurance provider and the tier of coverage you chose. You should find an insurance plan with full coverage for a low monthly premium, which is why you should always compare rates before buying insurance.
  • Out-of-pocket Costs: This is what you pay in addition to your monthly premiums, also known as the copay. It’s the percentage of any medical treatment or repair that the insurance company won’t help you pay for. Different insurance companies offer different amount, so compare out-of-pocket costs before buying insurance too.

The Guide to Choosing Coverage

Once you’ve identified the differences between the insurance providers around you, you need to decide what kind of coverage you need. Here’s how you do that:

  1. Identify what you absolutely need protection for. If your family is predisposed to a certain illness, or if you have a teenager that will start driving soon, you need to make sure your insurance fully covers all the risks associated with those scenarios.
  2. Don’t get more coverage than you need. Most insurance providers have some flexibility when it comes to choosing what your plans do or don’t cover. Don’t overbuy insurance. Find a plan that suits your individual needs, giving you the coverage you require at a price you can afford.
  3. Check the insurance provider’s network. Does it have dependable, reputable doctors and hospitals on it? Do you already have a doctor you trust? If you do, you’ll want to make sure that doctor is listed on the provider network.
  4. Check the details. How much will you pay out of pocket? Does the coverage extend to medications? What is the annual limit on coverage and services? Insurance companies do have limits for covering the cost of procedures. Make sure you have answers to all of these questions before you buy. As long as you ask questions and read the fine print, you shouldn’t have any illusions about what your insurance covers.

The Debate: Online vs. In Person

When you shop for your next insurance provider, should you do it online, or should you do it in person? There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Online

When you shop online, you can compare providers and plans side by side in quick succession. You can quickly identify which plans provide the type of coverage you’re looking for, and you can select the companies you’re want more information from.

In Person

When you shop in person, you’re able to ask the insurance agent direct questions, and you’ll receive direct answers. You won’t have to worry about ambiguous language or missing information because you can just get clarification from the agent. However, this means that you won’t get to compare plans side by side, and you’ll have to deal with the agent’s loyalty to his or her insurance company—any responsible agent will try to sell to you.

The best way to shop for insurance is to start online, finding companies that you like, and then interview an agent at each of those companies to get full clarification. Only then can you can a truly informed decision.

The Alternatives

There are some situations where you don’t have to just choose one insurance provider. If you work with an insurance brokerage instead, you can mix and match different insurance plans with different insurance providers. Insurance brokerages also guide you through the entire process of finding a thorough, affordable plan.

Insurance brokerages like Thomson Schindle Green Insurance & Financial Services are dedicated to helping you protect what matters to you. If you would like to learn more about choosing an insurance provider, give us a call. We’d be happy to help.

Calgary Insurance: 403.723.9416

Medicine Hat Insurance: 403.526.3283

Brooks Insurance: 403.501.5123

How to Find the Best Home Insurance

There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all home insurance policy in Calgary. Your home is as unique as you are – with possessions, features and value that are not the same as a friend, family or neighbour. Therefore, it is important you have adequate coverage in the event something does happen.

Getting the right coverage is not difficult. In fact, just consulting with a trusted insurance broker in Calgary can help you find the right coverage and premium for your home. It is important, however, that you understand the steps to finding the right level of coverage, so that you can make an informed decision about home insurance in Calgary.

Tips for Finding the Best Homeowner’s Insurance in Calgary, Medicine Hat or Brooks

Not taking the time to find the right level of coverage will cost you. Whether it is when you file a claim or just paying your annual premium, make sure you are truly getting what you are paying for within your home insurance policy.

  • Compare Rates – Never go with the first home insurance policy you find. Instead, compare rates from multiple carriers to see the premiums, deductibles and what level of coverage you get for the price.
  • Compare Insurer Reputations – Unfortunately, there are some insurers out there that do not have the best reputation. These are often the budget insurance companies that hook you with cheap premiums. Just like you compare prices, make the effort to also compare the insurance company’s reputation.
  • Assess Your Risks – Every home is different and depending on where your home is located, your risks may be higher or lower than others. For example, if you live in a flood-prone area, you will want to add flood or water damage coverage to your home insurance in Sherwood Park. Not all policies automatically cover water damage; therefore, it is important to discuss this with your insurance broker.
  • Take a Thorough Inventory – If you want contents coverage or personal property coverage, you need to take a thorough inventory of your home. Write down the items, their estimated value, and replacement costs so that you can pick the right level of insurance coverage to replace those items if they are ever lost, stolen or damaged.
  • Consult Reliable Insurance Brokers – It is hard to estimate on your own how much insurance you need or even what your liabilities may be. So, it is best to speak with an insurance broker who can evaluate your home and help you identify which homeowner’s insurance policy is right for you. An experienced broker can also compare rates from multiple insurance carriers.

Whether you are buying a home or you want to change your coverage, meet with an insurance broker in Calgary today at TSG Insurance. Call us at 403-723-9416 or contact us online for a homeowner’s insurance quote. Or visit us at one of our three offices:

Medicine Hat Home Insurance: 403-526-3283

Calgary Home Insurance: 403-723-9414

Brooks Home Insurance: 403-501-5123

Bassano Home Insurance: 403-641-4988

Edmonton Home Insurance: 780-464-0872