After a long, cold winter, there’s nothing more refreshing than feeling the first warm breeze of spring. But before you get caught up enjoying the new season, there’s a lot that needs your attention first. While the seasons may change on their own, it’s up to you to make the right changes to your home and property to stay protected all year. Your brokers at Nicol Insurance are here to help make sure you’re covered, so we’ve come up with a handy list of tips to make sure that spring risks don’t get sprung on you.
Spring Around the House
The winter months can leave quite an impact on your home, but oftentimes you won’t notice problem areas until the spring thaw. The first thing you should do once the snow melts is to inspect your home exterior for damages.
Your roof, foundation and siding could have easily sustained damages from water and ice, and you’ll want to fix them as quickly as possible. Don’t forget, wear and tear to your home exterior isn’t covered by insurance, because it is considered the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain the home. Sudden damage to your roof from a storm may be covered, but water damage from a roof leak you could have fixed months ago will not be. Giving your home a thorough inspection every season is the only way to stay on top of these risks and avoid costly repairs down the line. It’s also a great opportunity to inspect your eavestroughs, weather stripping, windows, doors and walkways for any potential issues, and schedule your spring HVAC maintenance.
Between winter snow melting and spring showers raining down, your home gets hit with a lot of water this time of year, which means the risk of a flood is much greater. Don’t forget, damage from flooding is usually not covered by insurance, so it’s up to you to make sure your property is protected. Each insurance company has a different way of determining your eligibility and limits, and the coverages they offer aren’t always the same, so it’s important to speak with your broker at Nicol to understand exactly what protection you have against specific water perils.
Regardless of your coverage, you should make sure all water is being diverted away from buildings to defend against seepage. This includes cleaning any clogged gutters or downspouts while making sure the water is flowing away from your home. If possible, you should also clear any debris from the catch basin on your street to make sure water is running into the sewers properly. You should also make sure that any remaining piles of melting snow are nowhere near your building structure, and that you carve a path to the street to direct the water away from buildings.
It’s also worth protecting the possessions you store in your basement since that is the most likely place for water damage to occur. It’s wise to store any expensive furniture, electronics or personal items out of the basement, or put them on elevated wooden planks to give them a fighting chance against rising water levels.
Thinking About Renovations or Landscaping?
Spring is the season where most homeowners start considering making big home improvements, like renovations or landscaping projects. It’s important to keep your broker aware of these plans, because there may be repercussions to your insurance coverage depending on what you’re doing. For example, if you have your old roof replaced, you may see a decrease in your home insurance costs, because your home is better protected. Renovations won’t affect your policy in every case, but it’s always a good idea to keep your broker in the loop so they can advise you. This is especially true if you’re going to have a lot of contractors around, as you may need to increase your liability insurance in case someone is injured on your property while they work. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to liability claims. Keep in mind, you should always check to be sure contractors or landscapers have proper liability insurance of their own before you let them start working on your property.
Take Care of Your Vehicles
Your vehicle goes through a lot every winter, so be sure to give it a little extra TLC in the Spring. Take it to your favourite auto mechanic for a seasonal tune-up, and make sure they swap out your wiper blades for fresh ones. You certainly don’t want your wipers to break or malfunction while driving in the rain! Be sure to make the change over to summer or all-season tires too, as driving on warm roads will wear down the tread on winter tires more quickly. Speaking of which, be sure to check the treads on both sets of tires to make sure they’re in good shape for next season, so you can plan ahead for any expenses. Finally, be sure to let your broker know of any changes to your vehicle. If you buy new tires or make major component replacements, you may see a lower rate as a result!
While there’s plenty you can do to prepare for the season ahead, the most important thing to remember is a call to your insurance broker at Nicol. We’re here to make sure your policy fits perfectly, so we want to know about any changes to your life, big or small. After all, if a short, friendly conversation can save you from a major claim, later on, it’s worth setting seasonal reminders on your phone.