Spring is in the air and it is therefore time to think about spring maintenance for your home. Spring cleaning should include taking a good look at your home, both inside and out, to see if the winter has brought any damage that needs to be tended to. Particularly in spring, sewer backup is a serious concern. A good way to avoid insurance claims and keep your home safe is to do proper seasonal maintenance of your home.
- Thoroughly clean from top to bottom and throw open the windows to help clear the air after the long winter with everything closed up tight.
- Check for any possible water leaks from pipes, faucets and the water heater. Also check the condition of your water backup valves. Sewer backup valves prevent water from getting into your home when the city water system is over-burdened by spring rains and snow melt.
- Check for any water leaks, or any new cracks, in the foundation and attic space.
- Consider having your heating and cooling systems, including fireplaces, checked and cleaned professionally to be sure all is in working order.
- Clean the dryer vent (important for preventing a fire).
- Test, clean and put new batteries in the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Take a good look at your roof to check for any damage or loose shingles. Check and clean the gutters and drains to make sure that water can drain away properly. If you have a flat roof, be sure to check that the drainage is not blocked with debris from the winter or left over autumn leaves. Much like the water backup valves, having a blocked drain pipe from the roof can cause water pooling or accumulation that could end up in your home.
- Check for any cracks in the foundation or walls.
- Repair any window and door caulking that needs it.
- Inspect the driveway to see if it needs any repairs.
- When putting your lawn furniture and decorations out for the summer, make sure that any items at risk of blowing away, or being carried by the wind, are well secured. This will protect your liability risks if we have heavy winds during storms.
- Make sure that any patio warmers, BBQ, propane tanks, or decorative torches are placed a safe distance from the home to avoid any possibility of fire, and make sure the fuel is stored safely as well.
- Clear away any damaged or fallen trees, especially if they could fall onto your neighbours’ property.
- Check that steps and patio stones have stayed level so as to avoid anyone tripping on them.
- If you plan to upgrade or work on your landscaping, be sure to check the policy limits on your home insurance policy for how much is covered. Landscaping is covered by home insurance but is usually limited. So If you have an extensive garden or special features you’ll be working on this year, it is worth calling your home insurance company to find out what the limits are so you can be prepared. Another landscaping issue that comes up with home insurance claims is when the water entry pipe from the city requires maintenance or, worse, breaks. Repair of a water service pipe most often requires excavation of the area which could include your lawn, garden, walkway or other landscaping. This damage is not covered unless you have specifically purchased an endorsement to your policy for water entry pipes. This endorsement is usually inexpensive but will pay to replace those damaged upgrades.
Springtime is Flood Time
While many people use the term Flood, the insurance terminology used most commonly in referring to this is Overland Water.
Overland Water: fresh water from rivers and lakes or water suddenly accumulating from heavy rainfall or spring thaw.
As we have seen over the past few years, damage from overland water has become more frequent and severe. As a result, many insurance companies have started to offer the coverage.
Water Damage Covered By Insurance
Many of the coverages for water damage are not automatically covered by a home insurance policy, but instead have to be added by endorsement. Wondering what is covered in your policy? You can check out our article on water damage and home insurance, what’s covered and what’s not.
Spring is a great time to get outside and enjoy the weather and the perfect opportunity to review your insurance policy to make sure that your property is well covered for the season ahead. By taking care of the maintenance of your home, you can then relax and enjoy the summer!