Are you heading south for the winter?  Once that first snow fall hits, warm weather is automatically on your mind. Your home needs extra protection to prevent against theft and water damage. While you’re away leaving your home, condominium, or apartment for more than three consecutive days during the normal heating season (this period of time may vary depending on the insurance company), your insurance will not pay for water damage caused by the freezing.

Here are some tips to follow:

  1. Shut off your main water valve and drain your pipes
    When the temperature drops, water can freeze and split your pipes – leading to floods and mold. Shut off the water supply to your house at the source and emptying out the excess liquid. Flush your toilets to drain the tanks and add a little antifreeze to the leftover water to keep it from freezing and cracking the porcelain.
  2. Ask a family member or someone you trust to watch over your home
    Get your neighbour, family member or friend to pick up your mail, and shovel the walkway. They should also check the heating and furnace, as temperature changes.
  3. Contact your security company
    Update your contact information incase they need to contact you.
  4. Put your lights on a timer
    Plug one or more of your lamps into manual/electronic timers and program them to turn on and off in the evenings. You can also install an automatic security light in your yard to scare off intruders.
  5. Unplug your electronics and appliances
    Avoid dangerous power surges and big electricity bills by unplugging your TV, fridge, computer and other appliances. When plugged in, these things will keep drawing power, even if they are shut off.
  6. Contact your insurance broker
    Let them know what your plans are. They will explain the vacancy rules of your insurance policy, and tell you what to do to keep your policy active while you’re gone. (Some insurance policies will require that someone enters your home every 24 hours.) Other than that,  have a great time, enjoy the sun, wear sunblock and don’t forget your travel insurance!

Ask your broker about optional coverages you can add to your insurance policy. Added coverage will give you peace of mind, whether you are at home or on vacation.