Just like we put winter tires on our cars and take advantage of pleasant fall days to set up car shelters, bring in cords of wood and rake up the leaves carpeting our lawns, we should also prepare our homes before winter arrives!

Why? It’s beneficial to regularly maintain a house for aesthetic reasons, but not only that—by taking some precautions before winter comes, you can avoid big problems: fires, water damage, break-ins, etc.

This week, Assurances Multi-Risques wants to give you 10 good tips to get your home ready for winter, just like bears prepare their dens!

  1. Check and maintain your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Fireplace season is starting! Be careful and, above all, be prepared!
  2. Make sure your heating device, wood stove and other heat sources are in a state of good repair. Have them inspected, maintained and cleaned.
  3. If you are leaving on vacation (although you won’t be heading south this year), even if it’s just for a few days, leave the heat on and ask someone you trust to check your house while you’re away and collect the mail.
  4. Run the water regularly through all taps and check that the water shutoff valves on the water pipes are working properly. Water damage in the middle of winter is no fun at all!
  5. Inspect your attic for any ice buildup and ensure that the eavestroughs and roofing are not blocked by ice or icicles.
  6. Once winter arrives, clear away the snow and de-ice your sidewalk and the front steps of your house.
  7. Clear the snow off your electric and gas meters, vents from gas appliances, heat pumps, air outlets and basement windows.
  8. Cut down tree branches that are near the house or electrical wires. Don’t hesitate to hire a specialized company for this job. A tree that falls on the roof will cause serious damage. Don’t take any chances—work with professionals!
  9. Keep your pipes from freezing by installing an insulating sleeve on exposed pipes.
  10. Caulk drafty windows and doors and install weather stripping to prevent hot air from escaping and cold air from coming in.

Preventing damage also means avoiding claims and increasing your insurance premiums.

Insurance is there to protect you, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure—not just because of finances, but also because of the stress and anxiety that can be generated by such proceedings in some cases.

You should also know that a claim will raise your insurance premium because you will lose your no-claim discount.

For an insurance company, renewing after an accident is still a rather simple task. It becomes more complicated when a policyholder makes several claims within a short period of time. In that situation, the insurer can make a few different decisions:

  • Increase your deductible and insurance premium;
  • Require you to perform corrective action (e.g. if you have been the victim of repeat break-ins, they may ask you to install a monitored alarm system);
  • Reduce or remove some of your insurance coverage;
  • And in the worst-case scenario, cancel or decline to renew your car, home or business insurance contract.

And what if an accident happens despite your best maintenance efforts?

Our best advice? Before making a claim, contact your insurance agent or broker. They will assess the situation and be able to tell you whether making an insurance claim is to your advantage. A good broker will be able to explain the impact that your claim could have on your insurance record!