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How to avoid common summer insurance risks

By HUB SmartCoverage Team on June 24th, 2024

When summer arrives, we welcome it. The days are longer, vacation plans are just around the corner and barbecuing becomes a ritual.

But the season also comes with risks: extreme weather, swimming pool use, outdoor living and, if you’re lucky, a boat or ATV.

It’s also the perfect time to do preventative maintenance that helps minimize and even avoid damage that can result in home insurance claims. Keep in mind your insurer requires you to maintain your home regardless of the season.

It makes sense to check in with your insurance broker to make sure your insurance policies are relevant to your summer plans. Here a few common summer insurance claims and ways to avoid them:

  1. Roof damage: Summer storms, now increasing in severity due to climate change, can bring torrential downpours, hail or extreme winds. That’s why it’s recommended you inspect your roof annually and check it after each major storm.
    Pro tips: From outside, look for missing shingles, cracks or gaps in the flashing around chimneys or skylights. Remove debris from gutters. From inside the attic, you will often be able to spot leaks in the roof. Signs include water damage or water stains on the ceiling, mold, dark spots or condensation on the chimney stack, moisture on the floor or condensation around pipes. Any of these may be a signal the roof needs repair or replacement. Look for signs of wildlife.
  2. Water damage: Inspect your home’s siding, windows and basement for signs of water damage or flooding. These, and other summer home maintenance tips help you stay ahead of future problems.
    Pro tips: Look for soft spots and mildew on siding. Make sure the caulk around the windows is secure. It’s time to replace it if you see gaps or peeling. If you have large trees on your property consult an arborist about trimming to eliminate risk. Strong winds can blow down weakened tree limbs or trees, causing damage to your home.
  3. Pools: As a pool owner, you must do everything you can to ensure people use the pool safely whether it’s in-ground or above-ground. Homeowners can be held liable for deaths and injuries that take place in their pools, even if the victim was trespassing. The risk of drowning or injury increases in summer.
    Pro tips: Not following safety precautions can invalidate your insurance. If you’re installing a pool this year, you must advise your insurer. The Canadian Red Cross is a good source for backyard pool safety tips. Follow all municipal bylaws.
  4. Burglary: Summer is the perfect time for thieves to strike. Open windows and doors provides opportunity and so does when residents are away for an extended period on vacation. Do you know if your home is safe while you're away? You could lose valuable possessions and suffer damage to your property during the burglary. There is also a risk of harm to people who are present during a home break-in.
    Pro tips: Install a home security system. This could even qualify you for an insurance discount! Using motion-sensor lights and having a friend or neighbour collect your mail while you’re away can also help deter thieves. And, if you plan to go somewhere, hold off on posting pictures on social media until you get home.
  5. Outdoor fires: Depending on where you live in Canada, the legality of fires varies based on province, municipality and any fire restrictions that are in place should be followed. One thing is certain: it only takes one spark to cause a devastating fire. Grills and fireworks can be dangerous and wildfires – often caused by humans -can wipe out whole communities. Fires can also cause injuries to people on your property, or damage to your neighbours’ property.
    Pro tips: Clean the barbecue regularly so there’s a lower chance of a grease fire. Place away from your home to prevent any potential fire from spreading. Never leave a fire unattended and have a fire extinguisher nearby. Burn dry wood in your firepit and don’t add paper or cardboard, which can become floating ash and ignite roofs. Learn how to make your property fire smart. 
  6. Boating/ATV accidents: All boat owners are at risk of being involved in a boating accident but are not required legally to insure their boat in Canada. But any accident could result in damage to your boat or injuries to you, your passengers or other people on the water. Unlike a boat, ATV owners are required to have insurance.
    Pro tips: There are benefits to insuring your boat for third party liability, replacement and accidental damage coverage. If you have coverage, it’s important to know your boat policy. ATV insurance typically covers damage to your ATV and liability for injuries or damages caused by it. Your homeowners or umbrella policies may offer additional protection.

Generally, a home insurance policy will cover the above claims, but it’s always important to read your policy’s fine print. You may need to meet certain conditions to have your claim approved.

RELATED READING:

8 tips on how to be ready for storm season 

 

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