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How to Protect Yourself Against Costly Property Damage

This post is the third installment of “Properly Protecting your Home”. We encourage you to check out our first installment on why to get home insurance and how to select the right plan and the second on how to save money on your insurance. As with the previous posts, we have solicited the expertise of Morison Insurance, Ontario’s Brokerage of the Year 2015-2016, to bring you this information.

There are many accidents that you cannot predict, and for this reason home insurance is incredibly important. However, the most common forms of property damage can be avoided with proper planning and a little TLC. Today we provide you with tips on how to protect your home from property damage like flooding, cold weather and burglary. And because nobody’s perfect, we have also included what to do in the event that damage occurs.

TO AVOID WATER DAMAGE

  • Consider investing in a sump pump. It collects water from the weeping tiles around your basement and pushes water outside the house through a discharge pipe. Make sure the pipe extends at least 6 feet (1.8 metres) away from your house and that the sump pump has a reliable backup source in the event of a power outage. Don’t forget to replace the batteries every 2 to 3 years.
  • Inspect pipes and hot water tanks regularly for leaks. Replace them at the first signs of rust or corrosion.
  • Be aware of signs that indicate your pipes or plumbing may be leaking. Look for condensation around pipes, watch for stains on walls or ceilings, or a musty smell.
  • Never leave running taps unattended.
  • Keep appliances like your refrigerator and washing machine in good condition and replace when showing signs of age. Avoid running appliances when no one is home.
  • Inspect hoses every six months and replace those with kinks. Replace plastic connection lines on appliances with steel braided hoses.
  • Get water damage insurance.

IN THE EVENT OF WATER DAMAGE

  • If water backs up into your basement, do not enter unless it is absolutely safe to do so. Avoid direct contact with human waste, dirty water and electrical lines.
  • Wear protective gear if entering a part of your home that has been affected.
  • Turn off electrical power to the affected area if safe to do so.
  • Unplug and remove electrical appliances if safe to do so.
  • Move furniture or secure on raised blocks to help prevent water damage
  • Ventilate and dry the area by opening windows and doors, or use fans and dehumidifiers.

PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR WINTER

Just like the winter weather is hard on us; the winter weather is hard on your home. Here are a few things you should do before the cold weather arrives, so that you can cozy up this winter and leave your worries at the door.

OUTSIDE YOUR HOME

  • Clean eaves troughs and downspouts to ensure proper drainage
  • Repair damage on the outside of your home, including cracks or storm damage
  • Caulk window trim and door frames
  • Check your roof and flashing for repairs
  • Install weather stripping on exterior doors and windows
  • Winterize your pool or hot tub
  • Turn off the water supply to your outdoor taps and leave them open to drain. Keep them in the open position until spring.
  • Always clear snow away from the foundation of your house

INSIDE YOUR HOME

  • Check heat-duct and water-pipe insulation
  • Inspect any washing machine and dishwasher hoses for cracks or leaks, and clean the filters
  • Locate and learn how to use the water shut-off valve
  • Professionally service the furnace and air conditioner annually
  • Professionally clean chimneys annually and repair as needed

WHEN YOU GO AWAY

Empty houses are attractive targets for thieves, but following these tips can help protect your home while you are travelling.

  • Keep it to yourself. Don’t post your holiday plans on social networking sites as this can alert thieves to an empty house.
  • Get a house sitter. Have someone stay, or ask a trusted neighbour to check-in daily.
  • Set timers. Set lights on timers in different rooms of your home.
  • Newspapers and mail. Suspend newspaper delivery and have someone pick up your mail daily.
  • Maintain your yard. Arrange to have your grass cut and flowers watered.

We know that properly protecting and maintaining your home can be tedious and time consuming, but it is essential to avoiding unsafe, costly damage to your property. While proper insurance is important in the event of damage, avoiding damage is the number one way to keep you, your family, and your assets safe.

Morison Insurance Brokers Ltd. offers tips and information for general informational purposes only, and it is not to be relied upon or used for any particular purpose. The information contained or referenced in these articles is not intended to constitute and should not be considered professional advice. The information does not serve as a substitute for the recipient obtaining such advice. For help with your insurance, contact Kelly at Morison Insurance at 1-888-214-1929 or kelly@morisoninsurance.ca.