Winter officially arrives on December 21. That’s just a square on a calendar. For many dispersed about BC and the rest of Canada, the cold snap of the season has already arrived.
Given the climate, the months ahead mark a busy season for the insurance industry. That’s because your household and community are impacted by all that the winter brings. Thankfully, Park Insurance has provided five easy-to-follow tips to prepare you for common concerns that could lead to claims against your personal insurance policies.
5 Easy Tips to Protect Your Household from Insurance Claims this Winter
1. Prepare Your Home to Prevent Rain, Sleet, and Snow Damage
Water damage is a major concern in the winter. On the west coast, seasonal rains get heavy. East of the coastline, there is snow, and thus snowmelt to contend with. You need to keep it all from damaging your home’s exterior, and interior.
This graphic provides 11 simple directions to prevent water damage in and outside of the home but we’ll expand further. For starters, keep an eye on your roof. Inspect your shingles and eaves to make sure there is no existing damage. If there is, have it repaired right away. Inspect your gutters for leaks and repair/replace accordingly. Clear debris from your gutters as well, to prevent overflow and to keep the formation of ice-dams at bay. Snow accumulation must be removed from your roof via a roof rake or sweeper (available at your local home and garden centre).
Also inspect the sides of your home, looking for cracks in the trim around window and doorways. Walk around the foundation to look for the same concerns at your base. Follow these tips to keeping your home safe from strong winds as well, which directly apply to winter preparedness.
2. Protect Those Visiting Your Property
The season often puts many visitors on the path to your home. Make sure that it’s a safe one. This includes daily salting of sidewalks and walkways that lead to and from your property whenever the forecast calls for ice and snow. Your roof work noted in item #1 above should keep icicles off of your eaves, but be sure to inspect often for icicles which can cause significant bodily harm. Whenever you expect guests perform a quick property inspection an hour or two before their arrival.
3. Protect Your Home from Unwelcome Visitors When on Winter Vacation
Your home is also susceptible to your winter travel plans. For one, it will be left empty for days. But the days are also shorter. With less daylight, burglars have a greater chance at going unnoticed when entering your property. In addition, your neighbors may be away too. Simply put, the season is the perfect storm of opportunity for break-ins. Don’t make it any easier.
For starters, keep all travel plans off of social media. Criminals are watching. If you must stay socially connected (online), follow these household tips to managing social media while you travel.
A home security system is nice to have, but if the expense is a bit much – there’s an app for that. Thanks to modern technology, you can connect one of many affordable web-based applications to your home lighting and entertainment system. They can be scheduled to be turned off and on during certain times of the day. Although, that pattern can be recognized by an especially savvy burglar. Thus, it’s a good idea to perform the same actions through random times of the day, via your smartphone or tablet, from the comforts of your ski resort chalet or tropical cabana.
The tried and true also remain relevant. Have a trusted friend, family member, or neighbor collect your mail, and pop in from time to time to keep up appearances. And remember, don’t leave the key under the front door potted plant or mat. No key should be hidden anywhere outside, period.
There are also important insurance considerations if you are going to be away from your home for more than 4 days. Don’t inadvertently void your insurance coverage! Learn how to stay protected while on vacation this winter.
4. Protect Yourself When on Winter Vacation
Even if your household is away from your home, extra care must be taken to keep you and yours safe too. This includes a full medical health check for everyone in the caravan. Then, make sure that you have travel medical insurance appropriate to your destination.
Cybercrime is also a big concern during your winter vacation. Away from home, you are more likely to go online using public wifi, and are more open to prying eyes. You are likely doing more online shopping while away for the holidays too, purchasing and shipping gifts from a virtual environment. You are thus more susceptible to identity theft. Secure adequate identify theft coverage and proceed to follow the other easy tips to protecting yourself from cybercrime this winter season.
5. Become a Winter Road Warrior
Your travel plans may have you on the road. Canadians know that winter road conditions weigh heavy on the mind. That being said, there’s a lot you can do to alleviate this stress. For one, take your car into the garage to completely winterize your vehicle and inspect your snow tires. Also, keep a trunk full of necessities. This includes chains, flares, a shovel, a first-aid kit, a flashlight (with lots of batteries), a blanket for each passenger, extra clothing/footwear, hand warmers, bottled water, and a few non-perishable food items. Beyond your vehicle, perform due diligence for safe winter travel. Monitor daily weather reports, map out a primary and alternative routes, and abide by these characteristics of a great driver. View more on smart winter driving.
One final step that you should take before the arrival of winter, is to consult with a professional insurance broker to assess the seasonal preparedness of your entire household. Contact Park Insurance today, for a customized insurance plan.