It look like we are going to ease our way into spring this year without any major issues such as the ice dams that were causing major problems last year. This is great news, but it doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. Spring is the ideal time to undertake a thorough home maintenance program to ensure no problems have developed over the winter and to stave off any issues for the summer.
Your Spring Home Maintenance Planner
Here are our top maintenance tips to keep your home property in tip-top shape. Taking care of your property greatly lessens your chances of ever having to file a homeowners insurance claim, which will help keep your premiums affordable for life.
- Take a good look at your roof. One of the most important aspects of your home for protecting the interior, it’s vitally important for your roof to always be in excellent repair. Check for cracked, broken or missing shingles and have them fixed by an expert as soon as possible.
- Check seals around windows and doors. Not only do gaps let in hot air, they also let cooled indoor air out.
- Clean out your gutters. Not only will this remove clogs that will prevent your gutters from draining properly, it will also extend their lifespan.
- Hire a chimney sweep to clean out your fireplace, especially if you have been using it a lot over the winter.
- Inspect your concrete and patios to make sure moisture drains well away from your foundation.
- If you have an air conditioning unit, have an HVAC professional come to clean and examine it before beginning its use.
- Change out the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Also check your fire extinguishers.
- Replace your furnace filter.
- Check your attic for leaks and mould.
- Re-caulk anywhere that is necessary.
- Vacuum out refrigerator coils to help improve efficiency.
- Install window screens.
- Take a close look at your foundation for cracks and leaks.
- Test all exhaust fans, including the bathroom and kitchen.
- Touch up exterior paint as needed.
What is Included in Homeowners Insurance?
Comprehensive homeowners insurance covers you for named perils such as damage and/or loss caused by fire, wind, lightning, hail, theft and vandalism. Excluded perils generally include floods, earthquakes, sewer backups and the normal wear and tear of your roof.
Incidences of sewers backing up are among the most common homeowners insurance claims made in Canada. We highly recommend purchasing additional sewer backup coverage, as Calgary is prone to hard and fast rainstorms that easily overwhelm the sewer system. When a sewer line is flooded, it will backup into homes through the drainage system. Purchasing a backflow prevention valve is one very good method of prevention against this, as they will automatically close when they detect water rising from below. But sewer backup coverage is also a smart purchase, as backflow valves are not infallible.
In addition, remember that flood insurance is now available to Albertans. If you reside in a zone where overland flooding is common, we highly recommend purchasing coverage. As an example, Intact Insurance’s flood protection plan includes four different types of protection: sewer backup protection, overland water coverage, groundwater coverage and water and sewer line protection.
Homeowners insurance also includes liability coverage, which will assist with paying for legal responsibilities due to bodily injury or property damage caused to others without intention, up to a specified limit. Liability coverage does not apply to injuries sustained by you or your family members
Why Not Perform a Home Evaluation, Too?
Spring is also a great time to take an inventory of the valuable items you keep inside your home. It’s more than likely that you have made purchases or upgrades that should be reported to your insurance provider. While your homeowners insurance policy does provide some degree of automatic protection for the contents of your home, items of significant value should always be declared on a home inventory list so that you have a really good idea of the overall value of the contents of your home. Be sure to update this list anytime you acquire something worth a considerable amount of money. Don’t forget that special limits apply to items such as jewelry, sports equipment and art collections, and normally they are quite low. Considering the average value of wedding and engagement rings, most will at least need to consider increasing the special limits of their jewelry coverage.
When it comes to your homeowners insurance policy, it’s important to know the difference between actual cash value (ACV) and replacement value (RV). In simple terms, ACV looks at the current value of the item, considering both appreciation and depreciation relative to its original cost. RV considers how much you would have to spend to replace the item, effectively accounting for appreciation but not depreciation. For this reason, RV policies generally come with higher premiums, but also provide better protection.
Renewal time is when you’ll want to make any necessary changes to your home insurance coverage, and it’s essential that you have a good understanding of your different coverage options to make sure you choose the right type of policy.
Get Great Advice and Low Rates at Lane’s Insurance
If you need insurance advice, or if you’re thinking about changing insurance providers, the caring and knowledgeable brokers at Lane’s Insurance are a great resource. Lane’s Insurance is a full-service Alberta-based brokerage, offering competitive rates, excellent claims support and outstanding customer service.