We recently talked about what to do before you leave to prepare for what is looking to be a great cabin season in Alberta. It’s extremely satisfying to know that you have taken care of all the little details, like topping off your emergency and first aid kits, setting up your home security for when you’re away and reviewing your cabin insurance. Insurance brokers such as us at Lane’s know what questions to ask to fully evaluate your policy and in many cases are able to access hidden savings. Plus, we will make the experience personal, professional, and painless.
Now that’s out of the way, upon arrival at your home-away-from-home certainly take some time to put your feet up and relax. Unfortunately, however, cabin insurance works the same as most property insurance policies, in that the onus is on you to do whatever you can to prevent loss or damage. Regular maintenance is imperative for the longevity of your property and for keeping your insurance rates low. If an insurance company can prove you have been negligent in upkeep, you risk having your claim denied.
So take in your surroundings for a little bit, then get into the maintenance mindset. You’ll be rewarded with a worry-free summer.
Start with fire protection
Take out the extra batteries you brought and go around and test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Batteries should be changed every six months, even if everything seems to be working fine. Make sure the alarms can be heard clearly in every room of the house. To keep them in optimal condition, it’s not a bad idea to dust them regularly as well. Smoke detectors last about ten years on average, and carbon monoxide detectors last about five to seven years. You could also opt for models that are wired into your electrical system, which keeps the batteries charged for up to 10 years.
For additional fire protection, also check your fire extinguishers, all of which have service or expiry dates displayed on them. Fire extinguishers last about six years on average. They need to be replaced earlier if the pin has been pulled, they have been used, or they have lost pressure (the gauge is no longer in the green).
Be cautious of accident and liability concerns
Wander around and take a close look at all the trees surrounding your cabin. Keep them well-trimmed away from your roof and the side of your house. If there are any sagging or broken branches that could come down in a strong wind, have them removed by a professional arborist.
Then, it’s time for a quick inspection of your roof, which is primary for your home’s protection. While you’re up there, clear out your gutters to prevent blockages leading to floods in the summer and ice dams in the winter.
For the final DIY task, carefully examine your pathways, stairs, railings, patios, decks, and docks to ensure there is no damage and that they are all safe to use. If someone is injured on your property, you could be held liable for their treatment, recovery, and damages. Pound in nails, sand down splinters, and make the necessary repairs so that you don’t have to spend the summer warning people to watch where they step.
Every so often, perform a home evaluation
It sounds like an overly onerous chore, but keeping a detailed list of your personal belongings – especially those of value – will provide your insurance provider with necessary information if something is damaged or stolen. It could even be a fun (or at least interesting) family project. There are plenty of home evaluation templates available online, and they don’t have to be overly time-consuming or difficult to fill out. Must-have details include photos of each room, and also of each of your valuables, including the serial number if possible. Anything custom-built or a renovation that you haven’t already let your insurance broker know about should also be detailed. Your sports equipment is important – even the stuff you think is worn out – so take stock of everything (you would still have to replace it if something happens).
Go over the family emergency plan
If something should happen where you have to evacuate, such as a fire, everyone should know their escape routes and where to meet up. You already have your emergency kit stocked up for situations like a power outage (not uncommon in rural areas), when you can shelter in place. Let everyone know where your emergency kit is, but make sure they know that it is not to be opened unless there is an actual emergency.
Leave your worries behind with Lane’s insurance
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based brokerage with a deep understanding of the insurance needs of everyday Albertans. In addition to cabin insurance, Lane’s can help you find excellent rates on boat insurance, and every other type of protection you need to safeguard your financial security while making the most of summer.
Lane’s is partnered with the best and most trustworthy carriers in the Alberta insurance industry, so you can rest assured that you’re getting coverage you can count on for affordable rates.
To learn more, please contact a Lane’s Insurance customer service representative.