In the wake of COVID-19, Albertans are facing a new reality of social distancing and significant changes to daily life as a result of the economic effects of the pandemic. In what may be a difficult time for many Calgarians, we would like to offer some tips that may help you save money and prepare financially as this global situation unfolds:
- Contact your auto insurance company – if you are no longer commuting to work, you may be able to get your insurance premium significantly reduced. This is also an excellent time to shop around for competitive premiums, as many insurance companies are now offering considerably lower rates.
- Ask your bank about deferrals – several banks are offering flexible payment options or deferrals for certain loans, mortgages, and credit card debts. Reach out directly to your bank or lender for more information.
- Talk to your service providers – if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, directed by health authorities to self-isolate, lost your job, or are taking care of a family member, you can request deferral of utility payments for electricity and natural gas until June 19, 2020 . You will not be cut off from these essential services within the prescribed 90-day grace period.
- Speak to your landlord about rent deferral – in Alberta, landlords cannot evict tenants for non-payment of rent and/or utilities before May 1, 2020. Late fees will not be applied until June 30, 2020 and cannot be collected retroactively for this time. Learn more at https://www.alberta.ca/rental-evictions.aspx.
- Student loans are automatically deferred – starting March 30th, 2020, all student loans payments are automatically paused, interest-free, for six months. The same applies for federal student loan debt. You can continue making payments, if you wish.
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – if your employment has been directly affected by COVID-19, this federal program may provide you temporary income support of $500 a week for up to 16 weeks. More information can be found at https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/cerb-application.html.
- Calgary CO-OP is currently offering FREE delivery care packages to members who are currently under direction by a public health agency to self-quarantine. More details can be found at https://www.calgarycoop.com/covid19/.
- Have a financial contingency plan – having a certified, up to date will ensures your peace of mind, so that you don’t have to worry about the future of your loved ones or your finances. You can work together with a wills & estates lawyer to write a will, or update an existing one, completely online. It’s a very important step that you can do quickly, from the comfort of your home.
During this unprecedented crisis, we are all faced with questions of what we can do individually and collectively to get through this difficult time. We’re in this together and, as a community, we are flexible and resilient. Calgarians are really incredible at supporting one another and there are some excellent resources available to ease the burden.
As part of your contingency plan, if you are looking to update or create a will, our wills & estates lawyers are able to get this done quickly and easily with the latest technology so you don’t have to leave the safety of your home. At Litwiniuk & Company we remain ready, able, and prepared to serve you during this time. We’re here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by phone, live chat, and email. And, as always, we’re also here for any of your other personal injury or real estate needs.