Water Damage is the #1 cause of home insurance loss in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Get tips on how to protect your home and family.
We have assembled some useful information regarding you, your home and protecting yourself from a loss. As always, our staff will be happy to provide you with all of the information you need about the coverage we provide.
- Preventing Water Damage
- Crime Prevention Tips
- Tips for Inside your Home
- Tips for Outside Your Home
- What NOT to Do
- Going on Vacation
- What to Do if Your House is Broken Into
Clear eaves troughs of leaves and debris at least once a year (late fall). Make sure that the water run-off is far enough away from the foundation. Make sure there is at least 200 mm (8 in.) clearance between finished ground level and the bottom of the downspout; otherwise consider installing window wells. Inspect the foundation of your house and have any cracks repaired. Make sure your asphalt roof shingles are not worn or curling. Drain the pipe when you pack your garden hose away for the winter.
On appliances or plumbing fixtures, replace plastic or rubber water supply lines with flexible steel braided hoses. If you're away for more than four consecutive days during the heating season, have someone check the heating system daily, or shut off the water and drain the pipes before you leave. Properly insulate and ventilate your attic. Consider connecting your plumbing and heating system to a 24-hour monitored alarm service.
In the basement
Do not cover floor drains. Store items in plastic storage containers on raised shelving. Check your basement for leaks after heavy rainfall or a rapid thaw. Get professional help Install a sewer backup prevention valve on your home's main line. Create a sump pit and install a sump pump with reliable back-up power. Ensure tree roots do not block waste water pipes. Disconnect downspouts draining directly into the sewer system and redirect them at least 6 feet away from your home's foundation. Make sure your lot is graded to aid drainage away from your home. If you have a septic system, have it serviced regularly.
Crime Prevention Tips
Burglary is always a crime of opportunity. Here are some interesting facts you should know about burglary: Studies show that most burglars attack during the daytime when dense bushes and trees protect them from view, and the building appears unoccupied One-third of burglars enter from the basement One-third of burglars force entry through a window or door One-third of burglars gain access from an unlocked/open door or window To best protect your home, look at it from a burglar's perspective. What are the vulnerable parts? If you take a few simple and inexpensive steps to make sure your home is not an attractive target, you'll greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim.
The following are some tips to help you prevent a burglar from entering your home:
Secure your premises.
- Close blinds and curtains at night so that a burglar can't scope your belongings.
- Lock all doors and windows before leaving.
- Lock windows so that they can't be opened from the outside. If they can't be locked, you can pin them by drilling a hole through both window frames and inserting a bolt or metal pin. The pin must be easily removable for emergency situations.
- Home burglar alarm systems are a great deterrent. Even if you have an alarm system, don't neglect the other security measures available to you. An alarm provides an extra layer of security, but is no replacement for good common sense. Alarm owners should still do what they can to make sure their home is not an attractive target for thieves.
Make your home look occupied at all times.
- Use timers to maintain normal lighting patterns.
- Leave a radio on when you are away from your home for short periods of time.
Protect your valuables.
- Consider marking your valuables indelibly (engraved) with your drivers license or social insurance number.
- Take an inventory of your home with videotape and/or photographs.
- Keep jewelry and negotiables in a safety deposit box or an unlikely place (i.e. Not your bedroom).
- Keep your shrubbery cut back so that it doesn't block windows and doors.
- Secure window air conditioners from the inside. Illuminate as much of your property as possible.
- Exterior doors should be solid, not hollow. Metal doors provide the best protection against forced entry.
- Use a fencing style that would not conceal a burglar's activities. Remember if you can't see out, others can't see in. Secure any glass that is less than 40' from a door lock. Either coat exterior glass with an acrylic or polycarbonate to strengthen, or replace with laminated or tempered glass.
- Door hinges that are on the outside should have a non-removable center pin that can't be tampered with. Install deadbolt locks.
- Dogs are great deterrents to burglars. Even a strategically placed "Beware of Dog" sticker can make a burglar think twice. Of course, vicious dogs are never a good idea. If your dog bites someone, you might find yourself in court. A dog that barks is better than one that bites.
- Place hinged security bars over basement windows. Remember to keep the key nearby for emergency exits.
- Pin sliding patio doors together when closed. Another easy security step is to drill a hole in the upper track and insert a screw that extends out into the runner to prevent the door from being lifted up and out of its track.
- Ensure that a burglar cannot access the roof from high trees or a ladder left outside.
- Don't put up a nameplate outside of your house with your full name. A burglar can use this information to look up your number in the phone book and call to see if you are home.
- Don't leave a note on the door or in the mailbox telling a friend/family member that you aren't home.
- Don't leave spare keys in an obvious place such as the mailbox or under the front door mat. This makes it very easy for a burglar to rob your house quickly without forcing entry.
- Don't leave cash and handbags in view in your home.
- Don't leave any doors unlocked when you are at the other end of the house or in the yard.
Going on Vacation
If you are going on vacation it is especially important to make your home appear inhabited. To fully protect your home you will need to enlist the help of trusted neighbours, family and friends. Here are some things that you can do:
- Stop all mail delivery.
- Arrange for a neighbour to cut the grass or shovel snow.
- Cancel all deliveries during the time you will be away.
- Maintain normal lighting patterns by using electronic timers.
- Ask a neighbour to put one of their garbage bags in front of your house on collection day.
- Leave a radio on, with a timer if necessary to simulate normal use.
- Ask a neighbour to park in your driveway.
- Arrange for neighbours to pick up flyers.
- Don't talk about your vacation plans with strangers or service people.
- Use your work address on your luggage tags so a potential burglar won't know where your empty house is.
- If practical, remove valuables from your home. Small valuables should be stored in a safety deposit box.
- Lock garage door.
Note: Before you leave, you should tell someone you trust:
- That you will be away
- How long you will be absent
- Whether or not you will have a house sitter
- The number where you can be reached
- Don't stay - Always think of your safety first
- Never confront a burglar or block the exit route
- Go immediately to a neighbour's home or nearby location and phone the police