October 17, 2017

Breaking Down Equipment Breakdown for Farm Insurance Policies

Combine Farm Equipment Prairies Grain Harvest

Breaking Down Equipment Breakdown for Farm Insurance Policies

By | Farm Insurance, Insurance Explained | No Comments

Operating a modern, commercial agricultural business means investing in the necessary equipment to operate. From 10 acres to 1,000 acres, there’s an exhaustive list of devices, vehicles, equipment, and technology you use to operate your farm. Minimize downtime and save yourself the hassle of hiring to repair mechanical, electrical, and pressure systems by choosing to add farm equipment breakdown coverage to your insurance policy.

Many insurance policies limit or exclude equipment breakdown so adding this enhancement to your farm policy is a good way to protect your investment in farm equipment.

You can check the limit of coverage (the amount you are insured up to in the event of an equipment breakdown) by checking your policy coverage summary and wordings. In the event that you have a claim, you will need to pay your deductible. However, if the only coverage being used is the Farm Equipment Breakdown coverage, there is no loss of claims-free discount.

Just what exactly is an equipment breakdown? It is defined as physical loss or damage originating within mechanical, electrical, electronic, or boilers and other vessels normally subject to vacuum or internal pressure.

We’ll break down each type below.

Note, examples are just an illustration to show different types of claims. Each claim received by Mutual Fire Insurance is adjusted individually with coverage to be determined based on your unique claim.

Mechanical Equipment Breakdown

When equipment has moving parts that fail to operate, it is considered a mechanical breakdown.


The exhaust fan in the poultry house mechanically seized due to lack of lubrication. An alarm system alerted the operator to the problem and a temporary fan was brought in before losing fowl. Total property damage covered was $3,500 plus an extra expense of $800.

Electrical or Electronic

Electrical Farm Equipment Room

Wiring and fibre optics running through farm machinery can break down due to a power surge or a single phasing event (that’s when the lights flicker or only some lights go out). Another cause for electrical breakdown is an arcing occurrence between wires.


A severe voltage spike damaged the windings in a 50hp feed water pump motor. The motor could not be repaired due to the extensive electrical damage and was replaced. Total property damage covered was $5,575.

Pressure System

Any equipment under pressure that fails to operate due to a rupture, bursting, bulging, implosion, or steam explosion.


The 300hp irrigation pump seized due to low water conditions. Repair parts were obtained and shipped overnight. The costs to the property were $15,025 and an expediting expense of $1,200 was included.

Types of Farm Machinery

Poultry Barn Farm Equipment Chickens

For the purposes of farm equipment breakdown, mobile farm machinery and equipment includes any land motor vehicle and attachments designed for use on or off public roads. Additional examples of property covered include:

  • Air Conditioning Units
  • Automatic waterers
  • Boiler and Pressure Vessels
  • Circuit breaker panels
  • Compressors
  • Computer Controlled Equipment
  • Computerized feeding systems
  • Computers
  • Conveyors
  • Electrical Systems
  • Generators
  • GPS Equipment
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Heating Units
  • Irrigation Systems
  • Milking parlors and collection equipment
  • Motors
  • Plows
  • Pumps
  • Refrigeration compressors
  • Refrigeration Units
  • Silo unloaders
  • Transformers
  • Tractors
  • Well/Water pumps


Ultimately, farm machinery is meant to be used. With use comes natural wear and tear to the equipment and all machinery has a life expectancy. This wear and tear is not covered through farm equipment breakdown.

Talk with your insurance broker to see if farm equipment breakdown is the right coverage for you.

October 10, 2017

Great BC ShakeOut 2017

Great BC ShakeOut 2017

By | Community, Mutual Fire Insurance | No Comments

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Earthquakes

  1. About 90% of the world’s earthquakes occur in the “Ring of Fire” —  a horseshoe-shaped zone of the Pacific Ocean from the southern tip of South America up to Alaska over to Russia and back down to New Zealand. MFI’s head office sits in Langley, BC near the pacific coast and within the Ring of Fire. 
  2. About 500,000 detectable earthquakes occur in the world each year. 100,000 of those are felt by people and about 100 cause damage.
  3. There is no such thing as “earthquake weather”. Whether it is cold, hot, rainy, or dry, statistics show an equal distribution of earthquakes. If weather does affect earthquakes, we do not yet understand how it works.

Earthquakes happen fairly often in the world but we don’t do enough to prepare for them. It is important to be prepared for what to do in an earthquake and the best way to be prepared is to practice!

Great BC ShakeOut 2017

Every year since 2014, MFI participates in the Great BC Shakeout. This year we’ll be practicing on Thursday October 19 at 10:19am PST. We encourage you to participate too!

Learn more about earthquake preparedness and register your school, work, or home to participate at ShakeOutBC.com


Do you need to pack a 72-hour emergency kit?

Here’s a big list of 72 items you need for your emergency kit.


October 1, 2017

Introducing New Membership Benefits

Introducing New Membership Benefits

By | Home Insurance, Membership, Mutual Fire Insurance | No Comments

Mutual Fire Insurance Celebrates its 115th Year of Business

Hobby Farm Family

Our history begins with 44 farmers and business owners in the Fraser Valley region. Determined to create a local insurance company, MFI became the first mutual insurance company with its main office in the province and today, we provide solutions for farm, commercial, and home insurance needs from British Columbia to Ontario.

Navigating the economic ups and downs of the last century, MFI persisted to grow into a stable and profitable dual-structured mutual company. Our structure allows you to become a member and enjoy special perks!

Introducing MemberPROTECT™

On October 1, we introduced our enhanced membership program, MemberPROTECT™, with two new benefits for qualifying homes:

All members still enjoy the following benefits:

  • Receive a premium refund (after the first full year of membership), if so declared by the Board of Directors
  • Attend our annual general meetings and any special meetings
  • Vote on resolutions that affect the company
  • Nominate or accept a nomination to become a Board Director

Our success is due to the strong relationships we have with our broker partners. We cater to the needs of our broker family across the country and support them with innovative products. Our company is flexible and we take pride in helping our clients by providing peace of mind solutions.

Contact a broker today and ask about insuring with Mutual Fire Insurance.

September 25, 2017

Bylaw Coverage Explained Simply: How to Protect Yourself from Out of Pocket Expenses

Bylaw Coverage Explained Simply: How to Protect Yourself from Out of Pocket Expenses

By | Home Insurance, Insurance Explained | No Comments

One of the most frustrating things for a policyholder to experience is unexpected costs that can occur in addition to a direct damage loss. When a loss occurs, you expect to pay a deductible and receive full coverage.

We see more and more claims where policyholders become responsible for additional costs related to bylaw coverage. You may be able to prevent this frustration by asking your insurance broker about contingent building bylaw coverage.

What is Contingent Building Bylaw Coverage?

Contingent building bylaw coverage protects you from any increase in the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home after a loss as a result of enforcement of the minimum requirements of any bylaw, regulation, ordinance or law which regulates such repairs.

Simply put, the enhancement protects you by covering additional work to bring the structure up to current building code. It also covers both the demolition and removal of any undamaged portion of the building. Of course, there may be some restrictions, so it is best to talk with your broker to confirm.

It is beneficial to add this coverage to any insurance package for older homes and homes that have undergone renovations.

Updated single family home

City Bylaws Change

Municipalities in both urban and suburban areas change bylaws to protect citizens and buildings from disaster. Why do municipalities change their bylaws?

  • New Safety Standards such as sprinkler systems, carbon monoxide monitors, and flame retardant panels protect people and property.
  • Updated Best Practices such as hard-wired smoke alarms versus traditional battery-operated alarms that increase safety for occupants.
  • Changing Features of cities and towns. For example, the city now requires underground electrical connections to service the house.
  • Homes are Aging. Many Canadians do not live in newly built homes. As homes age and municipalities continue to update and create bylaws to protect people, it affects how much work will need to be done to a home if a loss occurs.

How Bylaw Coverage Protects You

In summary, if a partial loss occurs, the municipality requires that the repairs to a home comply with new bylaws. Those repairs can be costly. You could potentially be out of pocket for those costs because most insurance contracts exclude coverage for losses arising from bylaws affecting repair or reconstruction of a damaged building. As noted above, you may be able to prevent this frustration by talking with your broker about contingent building bylaw coverage.

Mutual Fire Insurance offers a homeowner’s combination package. For one low cost, qualifying policyholders will receive coverage for Guaranteed Replacement Cost, Single Limit, Contingent Building Bylaws, Sewer Backup, and Enhanced Special Limits. Chat with a broker about contingent building bylaw coverage in over 500 offices in cities and towns from British Columbia to Manitoba.

September 6, 2017

The Ultimate List of 72 things You Need in your 72-Hour Emergency Kit

The Ultimate List of 72 things You Need in your 72-Hour Emergency Kit

By | Home Insurance | No Comments

From the Fort McMurray wildfires to floods in Saskatchewan to the BC wildfires to wind storms in Manitoba; extreme weather events harm people in communities across Canada during any season of the year. When weather hits hard, it forces people to leave their homes for safety in other districts and it can also leave them stranded inside their homes with no way out.

Too often, families do not have a kit to sustain them in an emergency. We recommend you pack an emergency kit because chances are, you will need it one day.

Whether you need to flee your home at a moment’s notice or are unable to leave your home at all, we’ve got you covered with the ultimate list of 72 things you need to pack in your 72-hour emergency preparedness kit. It will serve you in most emergency situations.

Emergency Kit Bag


Make sure you have enough food for each person in your household to eat for three days. Consider any food allergies and dietary restrictions when packing your meals.

  1. Canned food that can be opened and eaten without cooking
  2. Dried food
  3. Energy and protein bars
  4. Manual can opener
  5. Coffee and Tea
  6. Utensils
  7. Plates
  8. Cups
  9. Resealable plastic bags


Each person requires about 4L/1Gal per person per day for drinking and washing.

  1. Bottled water in large and small bottles
  2. Lifestraw or other water purifying device
  3. Water purifying tablets


If the electricity is out, you will need a way to stay warm. Have at least two ways to start a fire and include warm clothes for each person.

  1. Waterproof matches
  2. Lighter
  3. Long-burning candles
  4. Disposable hand warmers
  5. Blanket or sleeping bag
  6. Emergency poncho
  7. One extra set of clothes per person


Evacuating a neighbourhood or town to another location might mean there are no hotels or rooms to rent.

  1. Pop up tent
  2. Tarp
  3. 15m/50ft of rope
  4. Bungee cords
  5. Work gloves
  6. Pocket Knife
  7. Multitool
  8. Multibit screwdriver
  9. Wrench
  10. Hammer


Be able to find your way without GPS and ensure you can signal emergency crews if necessary.

  1. Wind up or battery powered flashlight for each person
  2. Wind up or battery powered radio
  3. Extra batteries
  4. $100 cash in small bills and change
  5. Whistle
  6. Duct tape
  7. Zip ties
  8. Paper map
  9. Compass
  10. Road flares
  11. Light stick
  12. Cellphone charger


Make sure you can tend to injuries and are prepared with essential medications and sanitation.

  1. First aid kit
  2. Extra pair of glasses or contacts
  3. Record of vaccinations, surgeries, medical history
  4. List of allergies for each person
  5. Health insurance information
  6. Prescription medications
  7. Non-prescription medication such as pain relievers and antihistamines
  8. Hand sanitizer
  9. Moist towelette
  10. Medicine dropper
  11. Toiletries
  12. Chap stick
  13. Rubber gloves
  14. Toilet paper
  15. Garbage bags
  16. Twist ties
  17. Bucket and toilet seat
  18. Disinfectant or bleach
  19. Dust mask

Important Documents

Keep these documents in a waterproof bag to ensure they are not damaged in storage.

  1. Copy of your family emergency plan
  2. List of emergency contacts and phone numbers
  3. Copy of home insurance policy
  4. Insurance company claims phone number
  5. Identification
  6. Bank records
  7. Extra keys for your car and home

Stress Relief

Distract your kids and get your mind off the emergency at hand by playing a few games.

  1. Book
  2. Deck of cards
  3. Games
  4. Puzzles
  5. Pen/Pencil and notepad

Bonus Item

Pack family photos in your emergency kit. It is comforting for kids (and adults) to see the faces of friends and family in an emergency

Personalize Your Emergency Kit

Think about your unique needs and make sure that your emergency kit is sufficient for your family. Consider the elderly, people with disabilities and special needs, young children, and people with dietary restrictions. If you were stuck for 72-hours, the bag should satisfy the basic needs for each member of your household.

Put it All Together

Now that you have all the essential items for your emergency kit, you need a way to store it and a place to put it. Answers to those questions will depend on your personal preference and where you live but remember, you may need to grab the kit and leave with short notice.

Items for Emergency Kit Preparedness

Many people choose to pack their kit into backpacks or bags that are easily carried. Backpacks can also be packed heavier or lighter so each person in your family is able to carry something. An alternative is to stock your kit in plastic storage containers. They store easily, can be staked on a rolling cart, and can be waterproof.

If you live in a house, you may store your kit in an outbuilding like a shed or garage. Or store it inside your home near the front entry or hall closet. Those living in a condo have fewer options for storage. A closet, storage room or even the trunk of your car are good spots for your emergency kit.

With your emergency kit packed and stored, you and your family are ready for and emergency. Check your bag at least once a year to rotate food items and check expiry dates for important documents and medications.

Emergency Kit Names

If “Emergency Kit” doesn’t strike you as an exciting name. Feel free to use one of these. Our favourite is #3.

  • Go Bag
  • Bug Out Bag
  • Just-in-Case Case
  • Get Out Of Dodge Bag (GOOD Bag)
August 3, 2017

Coming Home After a Wildfire Evacuation Order is Rescinded

Coming Home After a Wildfire Evacuation Order is Rescinded

By | Home Insurance, Mutual Fire Insurance | No Comments

Several wildfires in British Columbia’s Central Interior are under control thanks to the determined efforts of first responders and volunteers. Mutual Fire Insurance is monitoring the situation and our dedicated claims representatives are readily available in person, by email, and on the phone to communicate with families evacuated by the fires.

As evacuation orders are rescinded in some areas, we wish residents a safe return on their journey home. Check the Drive BC website to plan your route. Drive with care and follow all recommended travel routes.

Areas of the province with recent downgraded Evacuation Orders include:

  • Homes along Summer’s Creek Rd. in Princeton
  • The City of Williams Lake
  • Sugarcane
  • 150 Mile House
  • Fox Mountain
  • Esler
  • Pine Valley
  • Springhouse
  • Kleena Kleene area
  • Cache Creek North (Electoral Area “I”)
  • East of Clinton partial
  • Hihium Lake (Electoral Area “E”) partial
  • Loon Lake partial
  • Cache Creek North (Electoral Area “E”)
  • Boston Flats Mobile Home Park
  • Back Valley Road area east of Cache Creek partial
  • Highway 20 west of Fraser River
  • Louis Estates properties
  • Indian Reserve #1 Shorelines of Okanagan Lake

Evacuation updates are made regularly on the Emergency Info BC website. Remember that many of these areas remain on Evacuation Alert, so it is important to restock your emergency kit with water, first aid, medications, and supplies in case an Evacuation Order is issued again.

I’m Home, What’s Next?

Whether you were gone for a few days or a few weeks, returning home can be a startling experience. Your surroundings may look very different from when you left. If your home is safe to enter, proceed inside and remember these tips to ensure a smooth claims process.


Be cautious with food stored during your time away. Damage to food occurs from unsafe temperatures, smoke, ash, fire retardant, and loss of power. Discard food that is spoiled, as well as food that has been stored in a refrigerator or freezer that has lost power, even if the power has since been restored. Throw out all food that has spoiled. Keeping an inventory of what was lost will help you make a claim for the cost of the food on your home insurance policy.

Smoke Damage

Even though you closed windows and doors when you left, your home may have smoke damage. Our claims representatives can help answer any questions you have.

Fire Retardant

The red fire retardant used by first responders may be on top of your home, shed, or detached outbuildings. It can be removed easily with water. If the fire retardant is dry, scrubbing, and even power washing, may be required. If not, this cleaning can be covered by your home insurance policy.

Contact Claims Representatives

Some residents may be facing a home that has greater damage from fire. If your home is not safe to enter, or is no longer standing, please contact us immediately for assistance.

We encourage you to call our claims line for help when you return to your home.

  • 604.881.1250 from Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.
  • 855.535.0554 outside of the above hours.

You may also email us directly at claimsreporting@mutualfirebc.com

July 24, 2017

BC Wildfire Update

BC Wildfire Update

By | Media Release, Mutual Fire Insurance | No Comments

Assistance for Residents Returning Home

LANGLEY, BC –  Several wildfires in British Columbia’s Central Interior are under control thanks to the determined efforts of our first responders. Mutual Fire Insurance is monitoring the situation and our dedicated claims representatives are readily available in person, by email, and on the phone to communicate with families evacuated by the fires.

As evacuation orders are rescinded in some areas, we wish residents a safe return on their journey home. To see if you can return home, check for evacuation updates on the Emergency Info BC website.

We encourage you to call our claims line for help when you return. We are here to assist you.

  • 604.881.1250 from Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.
  • 855.535.0554 outside of the above hours.

You may also email us directly at claimsreporting@mutualfirebc.com

Our thoughts remain with the residents and communities affected by these wildfires.

Click here for a PDF version of the media release.

July 19, 2017

Partnering with Integris to Support BC’s Interior

Partnering with Integris to Support BC’s Interior

By | Community, Mutual Fire Insurance | No Comments

Warm weather and high winds continue to fuel the flames of over 120 fires in British Columbia. Many communities are on Evacuation Alert and over 40,000 people have evacuated for safety in other cities because of the fires. Accordingly, our province has declared a state of emergency for the first time in fourteen years.

Imagine leaving your home with short notice – a fire on your heels. It is impossible to carry all that you need on your back.

Mutual Fire Insurance (MFI) wanted to help families displaced by the fires. We knew a good portion of evacuees fled north to Prince George and we decided to work with our broker partner, Integris Insurance – a division of Integris Credit Union.

A Donation with Impact

Quesnel donation to fire fightersMoved by the overwhelming need for help in our communities, MFI stepped forward with a $10,000 donation to care for evacuees in the north. We partnered with Integris as they have strong connections with leaders and charitable organizations throughout the region– specifically in the cities of Prince George, Quesnel, and the Village of Clinton. By letting their connections know they had flexible financial resources, together we have supported relief efforts in unique and responsive ways. So far, we have been able to:

  • Deliver food, propane, and gas cards to fire fighters
  • Purchase toys, games, and books for young children
  • Buy essentials for pets like food, medication, and a refrigerator for medicine storage. Fridge donated to SPCA
  • Purchase board games for youth aged 12 to 18
  • Purchase water, batteries, and gas cards for the Pet Safe Coalition

Integris Truck Delivery BC Wildfire Sheet Sets and PillowsIntegris also contributed a $5,000 donation to purchase sheet sets and pillows for people using the cots in evacuation centres. While the wool blankets provided by disaster relief services do offer warmth, they can be uncomfortable for some. The sheets and pillows were a welcome relief for the people in the evacuation centres.

People who have been displaced need the resources provided at evacuation centres; however, many of the items Mutual Fire Insurance and Integris provided are not necessarily offered by the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and/or government funds.

Insurance Industry Challenge

Mutual Fire Insurance, together with Integris, challenge the insurance industry to make a donation to a local organization in a city with a crisis centre to help evacuees and first responders. No amount is too small. We encourage you to post to social media and use the hashtag #BCstrong.

Follow MFI on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Follow Integris on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

July 17, 2017

Supporting Kamloops During BC’s Wildfire Crisis

Supporting Kamloops During BC’s Wildfire Crisis

By | Community, Mutual Fire Insurance | No Comments

This past Friday, as fires raged through BC’s Interior, communities evacuated hoping their friends and neighbours made it out OK. Our arrival to a hotel in Kamloops for an unrelated work matter was a shared experience with evacuees and volunteers roaming the lobby. Many scurried about, worried looks on their faces as they held hope and tried to hide signs of their desperate worry. We were staying at the Sandman Signature that volunteered their ballroom space for a makeshift evacuee donation centre. Moved by the amount of people in need and the genuine concern of the employees and volunteers, a colleague and I stopped into the donation centre to see how we could help. One of the volunteers jumped at the opportunity to talk to us. They were desperate for food that contained protein. Clean underwear was scarce and they had to turn away families in need of baby food and formula.

We needed to find a way to help.

Through a few quick emails and phone calls back home, the senior leadership at MFI sent $5,000 immediately to help the donation centre. We turned the $5,000 into food, underwear, baby goods, and gas cards. We were grateful to do this on behalf of the company.

BC Wildfire Kamloops DonationWhen we arrived to the donation centre to drop off the items, three of six volunteers were left. Two volunteers by the door that said they would be a minute to help us as another sorted the goods inside. I heard a cheerful voice say, “I will just be a minute, I have to just put my leg on” as a woman readied herself to help us carry boxes in. She  proceeded to put on her prosthetic leg from the knee down and explained to us that she would do her best as she had lost her leg to cancer.

Another woman held the door for us and proceeded to take boxes from the car. You could tell she was in pain. We asked her to sit tight and let us carry them in as they had been working all day. She had tears in her eyes and just kept saying, “thank you, thank you” over and over again. By the time we put the last boxes down, we were blown away by their stories.

The first woman with the prosthetic leg was going for an 11th surgery on her limb impacted by the cancer she had. She expressed how she was just so happy and grateful that she had beat cancer and was adamant that she would never have to get chemo again. The second girl shared with my colleague that she had a small infant at home so her family was on a limited income. She was the one that organized this donation centre and, even though she has an upcoming back surgery, she was happy that she was able to help now. The other person was humbled to help, repeatedly smiling and saying thank you as she fought off exhaustion.

These women, all with their own stories and physical ailments, were providing everything they could for others. We shared stories and tears with them. They shared their gratitude back to all those that sent them good thoughts and donations.

We left with our hearts full of hope for those impacted. I have always been proud to work in an industry that provides help to people in some of the most trying moments of their lives. MFI, and many other industry partners, have furthered this by donating to help those affected and, in doing so, we are doing more than providing goods, we are giving them hope that their lives will again have normalcy.

July 10, 2017

BC Wildfire

BC Wildfire

By | Media Release, Mutual Fire Insurance | No Comments

Mutual Fire Insurance: Central Interior and Cariboo Region Wildfires

LANGLEY, BC –  As of this morning, news outlets report over 130 fires and an estimated 10,000 evacuees from the BC Central Interior and Cariboo regions. A state of emergency is in effect for the entire province as the fires continue to burn. Safety is a top priority, please follow all recommendations by local government and authorities. Evacuation centres have been set up and we encourage you to register at the nearest centre.

Wildfires such as these can change rapidly. We will continue to update our website with information for our policyholders and broker partners.

Important Policyholder Information

Mutual Fire Insurance is monitoring the situation and our claims team is readily available by email, phone, and on the ground to provide support and guidance to you. We will utilize e-transfer or wire transfer to assist you as your claim comes in.

To receive your e-transfer or wire transfer, please be prepared to provide our representative with your e-mail address or banking information. We kindly ask that you keep all receipts associated with your emergency evacuation expenses.

How to Make a Claim

We are here to assist you. Please call us to file your claim at:

  • 604.881.1250 from Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm.
  • 855.535.0554 outside of the above hours.

You may also email us directly at claimsreporting@mutualfirebc.com

Our thoughts are with the residents and communities affected by these wildfires. We share the deepest gratitude for the efforts made by all first responders and our hope is that they return home safely. Thank you to our broker partners for their offered support.

Click Here for a PDF version of the Media Release