Summertime should be a time for having fun and making memories with your family, not dealing with unexpected claims. Unfortunately, the reality is that when the weather gets warmer, we might be inviting more people over, going away on more trips, taking a splash in the pool, or experiencing inclement weather. Adjusters can expect to experience a higher volume of home insurance claims during the summer months, but that doesn’t mean you need to merely sit back and accept the risk! Fortunately, there are many things you can do to prevent the misfortune of having to make a home insurance claim. Read on for some of the most common seasonal-related home insurance claims, as well as some risk management and prevention tips.
Looking forward to roasting marshmallows over a bonfire and cuddling up with your family? Maybe you’re planning to have the neighbours over for a barbeque. Whatever activities you have planned, keep in mind that backyard fires can be a significant risk to your home. They can quickly go from troublesome to dangerous, especially when they expand and become larger fires.
Flames from as small as a campfire can easily get out of control and cause further damage to other aspects of your house. This is why it is critical to know fire safety and always have an extinguisher within reach. Never leave your fire (or grill) unattended. Try to avoid placing your campfire or your grill too close to your home. Generally, fire damage will be covered by your home insurance policy – and it tends to be one of the more popular claims in the summer.
Many of us like to escape in the summertime with our families for a tropical getaway. During this time, burglaries are much higher in frequency since so many homes will be left vacant. Most thieves are more inclined to commit crime when there is the least possible risk, which makes summer high time for these sorts of activities. Homeowners may reduce their risk of home break-ins and burglary events by installing home security systems (some systems may even qualify you for a home insurance discount!). Motion sensor lights are also helpful and can ward off potential criminals.
If you are planning to go away for vacation, set a timer for your lights to make it look as though someone is home. If you’re planning to be away for four or more days, you may wish to enlist a trusted neighbour, friend, or family member to check in on your home occasionally or even stay in your home during the time that you are gone to ensure that there are no issues that arise and that your chance of a break-in can be significantly reduced.
Flooding is prevalent and not unusual during summertime, especially with Ontario’s large volume of summer storms. To reduce your risk of flooding, installing a backwater valve to keep your home protected is essential. Always ensure that your downspouts are pointed away from your home and that your eavestroughs are regularly cleared out. If there is a period where rainfall is heavy, avoid using too much water within your household.
Note that not all instances of flooding are covered. If your water damage resulted from a sewer backup or sump-pump rupture, your home insurance would not cover your claim unless you had previously purchased an endorsement.
You may have presumed winter to be the end of the unexpected weather events, but unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Summertime, especially in Canada, can bring on heavy rainfall and even unexpected hailstorms. Hail can cause considerable damage to our vehicles and even our homes.
While storms can’t exactly be prevented, you can always protect your home’s most fragile components, like windows and skylights. Consider securing all your furniture if a storm is in the forecast, ensure that all doors are shut and locked, and move your cars indoors if possible. You may also wish to install storm shutters if you live in an area that frequently experiences high winds. This can even qualify you for an insurance discount!
Personal injury liability
Personal injury liability is a big one this time of year when we have our neighbours, friends, and even family coming over to visit for activities and parties. Barbecuing, alcohol, dancing, etc. are all riskier activities that may result in somebody’s injury if you aren’t careful. Pets can also be a liability risk. If your family’s dog or cat isn’t fond of guests, you may wish to keep them in another room or board them temporarily if you plan on having visitors for an extended period of time.
This is especially true of homeowners who own swimming pools. Exciting as they may be to own (albeit the fact that they require so much maintenance and care!) swimming pools pose a significant risk when it comes to personal injury liability. Many policies and bylaw regulations will require homeowners to implement fences and locked gates, rules, and more to reduce the risk of injury, but not all accidents are preventable. An accident could happen in as simple a situation as having guests over and a child falls into the pool when no one is around to watch.
While summertime can bring on a host of hazards and possibilities, making sure that you are on the top of your game can increase your odds of never having to make a claim. Hiring a house sitter for vacations, implementing motion sensor lights or home security systems, and adhering to bylaw regulations for pool usage are all great ways to reduce your risk. Last of all, ask your insurance broker for tips! Excalibur Insurance’s brokers are your best resource when it comes to risk management and are well versed in the kind of hazards that summertime homeowners may face. Give us a call today at 1-888-298-7343.