Let’s hope we don’t have another winter like we did last year in Calgary! But even if it is much milder (fingers crossed), it’s still important to perform annual duties around your home to prevent a house insurance claim. Remember that your house insurance policy does not double as a maintenance policy. In other words, if your home suffers damage as the result of neglect, or because you failed to perform a routine maintenance task, your insurance policy may not cover repairs.
Get your home tightly snuggled in for the colder months by getting these chores done as soon as possible:
- Trim your trees: Have a professional cut off dead branches that have a chance of falling off in a strong wind as well as those that are hanging over your roof. On windy days branches can scrape against your roof, stripping off layers of asphalt and even falling off on to your home. When leaves fall directly on to your roof as well they can cause mould to form, which can then lead to the deterioration of the integrity of your roof. You may also want to have a contractor check for any needed repairs if your roof is older.
- Clean your eavestroughs: Avoid costly damage caused by ice dams by making sure your gutters are clear of debris. Ice dams occur because of poor ventilation, poor insulation, or a combination of both. If your roof is losing a lot of heat, the layer of snow closest to it will melt. That water will follow the pitch of the roof, draining down slowly and then freezing. Eventually, a large mound of ice will form. Once it begins to melt the water will have nowhere to go. It will then back up into the house, dripping down into the roof and eaves, causing tons of damage before you even notice.
- Get your furnace inspected: Getting your furnace tuned up now will prevent you from a chilly and long wait for the repairman if it goes out during the busy cold months. They will check to make sure your furnace is venting properly, that there are no leaks, and if your thermostat wires are connected correctly. They will also clean out the interior to get rid of debris that may prevent your furnace from working as it should. Also ensure to change your furnace filter once a month.
- Turn off the water to outside faucets. Also disconnect and store your hoses.
- Check for air leaks. Feel around doors, electrical outlets and light switches for cool air escaping. If necessary, add extra insulation and seal or caulk problem areas.
- Clean your chimney. Sitting in front of the fireplace is a cozy way to spend a cold evening. Have your chimney cleaned out to ensure smoke will vent out, preventing deadly carbon monoxide from building up in your home.
Also make sure to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These immensely important devices save lives and expensive repair costs.
Preventing Slip and Falls
Reduce the chances of someone slipping and falling on your property, which can lead to a house insurance liability claim, by following these tips:
- Keep all walkways clean and free of debris or clutter
- Remove accumulated snow, ice and slush promptly
- Spread salt or sand on slippery areas covered by ice or snow, particularly those on which visitors or household members might walk (driveways, pathways, porches, etc.)
Also, don’t forget about accident prevention inside your home:
- Secure floor coverings (mats, rugs, etc.) that do not naturally lie flat
- Ensure all staircases are structurally sound and well-lit
- Keep floors dry and free of debris, especially during high-traffic times of day
- Use rubber mats or tub grips inside bathtubs and showers
- Keep all entryways and exits clear of clutter and easily accessible
Remember, too, that according to City of Calgary bylaws, property owners are responsible for removing accumulated ice and snow from sidewalks adjacent to their property. Ice and snow must be addressed within 24 hours, or you may be subject to fines and penalties.
Get Great Advice and Low House Insurance Rates at Lane’s Insurance
If you need insurance advice, or if you’re thinking about changing insurance providers, the caring and knowledgeable brokers at Lane’s Insurance are a great resource. Lane’s Insurance is a full-service Alberta-based brokerage, offering competitive house insurance rates in Calgary. We offer excellent claims support and outstanding customer service. Visit Lane’s Insurance online today to get a fast, free house insurance quote.