16 Resolutions to Protect Your Home in 2016

Posted by on Jan 18, 2016 in General Category, Insurance Advice, and Personal Safety Tips

Your home is your sanctuary. Keep it a safe and protected space in the new year by keeping the following pieces of advice in mind – 16 resolutions for 2016.   home-resolutions-2016

Preventing an Emergency Situation:

Emergencies at the home can be very scary situations. Give yourself a little peace of mind with these preventative tips.
  1. Have an emergency preparedness and escape plan ready to go. It doesn’t take long and can be a vital part of minimizing damage during an emergency situation.
  2. Check on your smoke alarms. Experts say that you should test them at least once a month – simply press the ‘Test’ button on the alarm to ensure that it’s functioning correctly. If not, you may need to replace the battery, or check the wiring if it’s a hardwired model.
  3. Make sure you have a fire extinguisher or two in your home – especially in or near your kitchen. Here’s a good guide of what type of extinguisher you should look for.
  4. If you don’t have one already, install a carbon monoxide detector. Did you know that for homes with a fuel-burning appliance (like a gas furnace, for example) carbon monoxide detectors are now mandatory in the province of Ontario? The law also specifies that detectors are mandatory in homes with attached garages.
  5. Make it a rule within the home that no heat generating items – candles, the stove, the oven, etc. – are left running or burning while unattended.

Protecting Your Investment:

There are a few easy and basic principles you can put into practice in your day-to-day-life that can help make sure your valuable items are kept safe and sound.
  1. Don’t make use of the common places that everyone would expect you to hide things – for example, spare keys under the doormat, or money between the mattresses. For valuables like jewelry, consider the use of a safety deposit box. For more ideas, see our post on keeping your possessions secure.
  2. In case of flood, make an effort not to keep highly valuable items in the basement of your home.
  3. Try not to leave valuables in a clear line of site, visible from outside of the home through the windows.
  4. If taking on a renovation project, do your due diligence and set aside a contingency fund before hiring a contractor and starting the work. Review our steps on how to choose a contractor. Don’t rush into things – some prudent decisions at the start of the process can make the rest of it go much more smoothly.

If You’re Traveling…

Lucky enough to be planning a trip in 2016? Here are a few things you can do to reduce the chance of trouble at home while you’re blissfully elsewhere.
  1. Enlist a neighbour to collect any mail and clear snow off your driveway or sidewalks if you’re traveling during winter. A pile of newspapers out front is a sure sign that the homeowners are on vacation. And if someone slips on your property, you may be held liable. Offer to financially compensate your neighbour for their trouble.
  2. There may be a clause in your home insurance policy that your property must be checked on regularly. Be clear what’s specified in your policy and if needed, arrange for a relative or trusted friend to check on the home while you’re gone.
  3. Don’t turn the thermostat down too much if you’re traveling in the winter, as you don’t want to run the risk of frozen pipes.
  4. Get a timer for a few prominent lights either inside the house, on the exterior of the home or both, to ensure that the house maintains the illusion of being occupied.

General Insurance Resolutions:

Finally, the new year is a good time to take a look at your overall insurance picture. Here are a few points to keep in mind regarding your insurance in 2016.
  1. Don’t consider renting out your home, or vacation property, before having a good talk with your insurance specialist. Carefully consider the insurance implications of renting your home or any added coverage you might require.
  2. Ensure your home insurance policy is up to date and reflect any changes over the past year.
  3. Address any claims with insurance immediately as they come to your attention, rather than putting it off.
Remember, if you require any assistance with your Ottawa insurance needs, feel free to reach out to one of the licensed insurance brokers at ONA today and we’ll be happy to help out. Thanks for reading, The ONA Team.

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