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Heading South For the Winter? Protect Your Home

It’s approaching that time of the year again that everyone enjoys – winter. Most of you will be toughing it out in the frigid temperatures, shoveling your long driveways, or cruising down the road in total blindness at 30km/h. While some of the more fortunate  will be booking tropical vacations for weeks at a time, or maybe even the entire winter (snowbirds). If you are one of those lucky few to get away from the cold during the winter months, there are a few things you should consider before leaving.

Water coverage warranty

Most habitational insurance policies have specific wordings, which state the requirements that you have to uphold when you leave your home for more than 4 consecutive days during the heating season. It’s important to note that unlike automobile policies, there is no uniformity among property insurance policies. That being said, it is fairly common for policy wordings to include a warranty along the lines of the following:

“We cover damage caused by water, but we do not insure loss or damage caused by freezing during the usual heating season, of any part of a plumbing, heating, or air conditioning system or “domestic water container” within a heated portion of your “dwelling” if you have been away for more than four (4) consecutive days…”

That warranty might be a little frightening at first glance, but there preventative measures that you can take that will keep your policy in force for water damage while you’re away, as well as prevent any water claims.

  1. Have a competent person enter your dwelling every day while you’re away to make sure your heat is still functioning correctly.
  2. Shut off the water supply and have all the pipes and domestic water containers drained to prevent freezing.
  3. Install a (24) hour monitoring system attached to your heating system, alerting you of any change in temperature. Please check with your HMS broker to be sure your insurance company allows for a central monitoring device.
Other Winter Maintenance tips

Whether or not you plan on leaving your home for the winter, it is always a good idea to prepare for the cold months to come by winterizing your home. This may include tasks such as:

  1. Clean your air conditioners, turn off its water shutoff, and cover the unit.
  2. Drain your sprinkler systems.
  3. Turn off all outdoor water supplies and disconnect hoses.
  4. Insulate exposed water pipes.
  5. Caulk air leaks.
  6. Add more insulation if needed.
  7. Test your thermostat.
  8. Inspect and clean your roof and gutters.