Thousands of people from Calgary lock up their houses and head on extended vacations without knowing their home insurance may offer only limited protection while away. According to a recent survey conducted by TD Insurance, only 12 per cent of Canadians who spend their winters in warmer climes double-check to make sure that their home insurance coverage fully protects them during their absence. Many home insurance policies have specific requirements that must be fulfilled in order to maintain complete coverage.
Calgary Home Insurance: Limitations of Home Insurance Policies for Vacationers and Snowbirds
The vast majority of home insurance policies contain clauses identifying steps homeowners must take to maintain their coverage while their home is unoccupied. You may also have to turn off certain utilities, particularly your water, to eliminate the risk of accidental damage. Water pipes commonly freeze during the winter, and could burst while you are away.
Specific requirements vary from policy to policy, so if you’re in doubt about what you need to do to maintain your home insurance coverage while you’re out of town, check your policy or call your insurance company. Don’t risk being left to shoulder repair or recovery costs on your own in the event that your home is damaged or otherwise compromised during your trip.
Calgary Home Insurance: Tips for Reducing Risk during Your Absence
In addition to shutting off your water service, insurance companies advise homeowners to take further steps to reduce your risk. Here are some proven strategies for keeping your home safe during your time away from Alberta:
- Drain plumbing fixtures and supply pipes. After you shut your water off, be sure to drain both your cold and hot water pipes, and flush your toilet to empty its tank.
- Use temperature monitors. With a temperature monitor, you can receive instant alerts if your home heating system stops working during your absence. Experts also stress the importance of temperature monitors for water heaters, as an unaddressed water heater malfunction can cause major damage.
- Install water sensors. Like temperature monitors, water sensors offer an essential line of defense against accidents. These sensors generate alerts if your home becomes flooded due to a burst pipe, broken water heater or natural disaster.
- Guard against frozen pipes. Use non-toxic antifreeze in your plumbing fixtures and pipes to prevent any possibility of built-up ice causing a burst. Add the non-toxic antifreeze to your dishwasher drain, washing machine water supply, sinks, showers and tubs, and your toilet tank.
- Enlist some help. You will need to have someone physically check your property at least one to two times per week for the duration of your absence. Make sure that person knows how to contact you as well as your insurance company in the event of an emergency.
It’s also a good idea to use lighting timers to give passersby the impression that someone is home. Keep your lawn nicely trimmed and don’t allow mail to build up in your box. Most importantly, don’t announce on social media that you are leaving!
If you have tenants staying in your home during your absence, make sure that you change the locks after you return so there is no possibility of someone using an old key to gain entry next time you go away.
Finally, be sure you have travel insurance before you leave. Your provincial health insurance plan offers only limited coverage in other countries, and you don’t want to risk being stuck with a massive hospital bill if you are ill or injured during your trip.
Calgary Home Insurance: Why Choose Lane’s?
Lane’s Insurance is a leading Alberta-based independent insurance brokerage. Because our professionals work for you and not for the insurance companies, Lane’s is able to offer you highly competitive rates for all your coverage needs. Lane’s also provides extensive customer resources, and delivers prompt, understanding and comprehensive support if you ever need to file a claim.