4 home insurance tips to get you safely through winter
Winter-related claims can result in expensive damage to your home and increase your insurance premiums. Every year, the start of winter brings out advice on how to prepare your home for winter.
Posted on January 27, 2019 | Updated on November 28, 2023
8 Common Home Insurance Tips to Get You Safely Through the Winter
- Turn off your outside faucets
- Have your furnace professionally serviced
- Prevent ice dams by cleaning your gutters
- Inspect and clean your fireplace or chimney
- Pad exposed pipes that are in unheated areas
- Inspect your roof
- Inspect all doors and windows for leaks
- Keep your driveway and walkways clear of snow and ice
Here are an additional 4 home insurance tips to get you safely through winter
Keep all of your exits free of snow
Make sure that exits are cleared of snow and ice and not just those areas where there is pedestrian traffic. This can include side doors, sliding doors, garage doors, and balconies.
Water can build up in the channels of your sliding doors preventing them from opening. Garage doors can freeze to the garage floor.
If there is an emergency, it may be necessary for fire or ambulance crews to use an exit other than your front door.
Insurance tip: Check your exits regularly to make sure all doors including garage and sliding doors will open.
Make sure that all vents are free of snow
Your furnace and dryer use vents to clear exhaust and heat from your home. In a best-case scenario, a blocked vent will cause your furnace or dryer to stop working. If there is no automatic shut-off feature, there could be damage to your systems resulting in costly repairs that could have been avoided with simple maintenance. No one wants their furnace to stop working in the winter as it could take days for a technician to come to your house. In a worst-case scenario, carbon monoxide or other toxic chemicals can leak into your home and become a danger to your family.
Insurance tip: Make a habit of checking your vents and clearing any accumulation of snow while you are outside shoveling your driveway and walkways.
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Keep the fire hydrant closest to your house free of snow
In an emergency, every second counts. A concealed or blocked fire hydrant can prevent emergency fire responders from acting quickly. Many municipalities will attach tall flags to fire hydrants so they can easily find the hydrant after large snowfalls. This works great for locating the hydrant but doesn’t give the fire department easy access to a hydrant if it is buried in snow. Be proactive and make sure that the hydrant closest to your house is clear of snow. There is no rule of thumb but you should clear an area of at least 1 metre around the hydrant.
Stock up on the essentials
Ice storms can knock out power for several days or longer. You don’t have to prepare for the apocalypse but having enough supplies on hand will help you and your family deal with the outage while you wait for the power to return.
The essentials are whatever you need in your household to get you through the power outage. This could be anything from food and beverage products such as milk and bread to personal items such as toothpaste and shampoo. Don’t forget the kids. You don’t want to run out of their favourite cereal!
When the power is out, cash is king because stores will be unable to process debit or credit card payments. You should always keep a small amount of cash in the house year-round for emergencies.
Try to keep the gas tank on your car topped up during the winter. If you have to leave the house and there is no gas in your tank, your emergency cash won’t do you any good because gas pumps won’t work without power.