Winter can be tough on your home. That’s why autumn is the perfect time to make sure your home is ready for the most punishing months to avoid damage that can lead to home insurance claims. Here are some preventative tips:

  1. Check for areas that could open your home up to water damage. It is important to note that gradual water damage is not covered by insurance.
        • Clear gutters and drains. Clear gutters of leaves and other debris and ensure drains and downspouts around your home are not blocked.
        • Turn off water supply to outdoor faucets. Hoses should also be stored for the winter before the temperature drops below freezing.
        • Check your pipes. This is especially important if you have an older home or you notice water pressure is weakening. A plumber can use a camera to see if your pipes are blocked or deteriorating. Identify any visible exterior pipes that might freeze and consider insulating them.
        • Check sump pump or backup valves. Autumn is a good time to ensure everything is in working order.


  1. Examine your roof for potential problems Winter storms can cause roof damage. Take some time during warmer autumn weather to inspect your roof for loose shingles and other potential problems. Though your insurance likely covers you for damage due to storms, winter is a challenging time to make repairs and, remember, it is likely you would still have to pay a deductible on a claim.


  1. Inspect exterior for possible entry points for rodents. Cold weather forces rodents and other creatures to try to find warmth and shelter. Inspect the outside of your home looking for holes or cracks in the walls and/or foundation. Also, ensure any vents have screens preventing animals from getting into your home. Smaller creatures only need a tiny hole to gain entry into your home and damage from rodents is not covered by insurance.


  1. Mow and clear your lawn. Leaving long grass and piles of leaves on your lawn makes for the perfect nests for rodents and insects. The last time you mow your lawn before winter, lower your mower’s blade to produce a shorter cut for the winter.


  1. Cut back overhanging tree branches. To avoid tree insurance claims, consider cutting back any tree branches that hang over your roof, walkways, living areas or driveway. If the tree belongs to a neighbour, contact them to get their approval before cutting. If branches are near power lines, contact a professional. Do not attempt to trim them yourself.


  1. Secure or store outdoor furniture. Autumn is a great time to ensure your outdoor furniture and other items won’t blow away in a storm and cause damage to your property.


  1. Make sure pathways are clear and safe. Avoid winter slip and fall risk by ensuring walkways, stones, patios and decks don’t have any trip hazards. Also, ensure there is a clear, safe pathway to and from any doors. Purchase some salt or ice melter to spread on pathways if the temperature drops below freezing.


  1. Check exterior lighting. Burglars are less likely to approach well-lit homes and lighting also helps prevent injuries to those walking near your home at night.


  1. Check your attic and crawl spaces for any damage, especially if you’re not using the attic as a living space.


  1. Inspect your heating sources — furnace, fireplace and chimney. Autumn is a great time to have your furnace, chimney or fireplace inspected before you run into a problem in the colder weather. Also, replace your furnace filter.


  1. Fireproof your home. Winter is the prime season for fires. Minimize the risk by testing smoke alarms regularly, having fire extinguishers handy and being extremely cautious with the use of candles — keeping them away from flammable items and never leaving burning candles unattended. Also, check your vents for excessive lint that can lead to a fire.


  1. Ensure your carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. Install new batteries and ensure the detectors are working well.

Contact us to get your insurance started today or call for advice.

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