As the warm weather sets in and we continue to spend more time at home, there’s an increased likelihood that property damage, leaks and potential hazards may arise. While some types of claims are beyond our control, others can be prevented.
Here are the most common causes of home insurance claims and tips to prevent them from CDSPI Home & Auto Insurance* partner, The Personal.
- Bathroom leaks
An overflowing tub, a leaky toilet, a shower that doesn’t drain properly, or even a slow leak all add up to water damage. This is the most costly type of damage to your home.
- Never let the bath run unattended.
- Repair small leaks immediately.
- If your bathroom is in the basement, make sure your appliances are protected by anti-backflow valves.
- Leaking dishwasher or washing machine hoses
Hoses and pipes leak due to corrosion, a damaged fitting, or just wear and tear.
- Check the condition of the pipes regularly. Consider replacing them with metal-reinforced hoses.
- Avoid running the dishwasher and washing machine when you’re not at home.
- Kitchen fires
Cooking fires are the number one cause of home fires and the leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. Heating oil is a significant fire hazard and in just seconds, it can ignite into a fire that becomes impossible to control.
- Never leave the stove unattended when you cook.
- For oil frying, a deep fryer is a safer option than an open pan. Use a CSA or ULC certified fryer with a thermostat. Read the instructions for use and storage and turn it off immediately after use.
Barbequing is a great way to cook food. However, if not done properly, it can pose a safety and fire hazard.
Lighting and using your barbecue:
- Never use a gas or charcoal grill indoors.
- Use your barbecue in a well-ventilated area. Position it away from any flammable material and make sure it does not block any exits.
Safety tips for gas grills:
- Always lift up the lid before opening the valve of the tank; then turn on the burners and press the igniter switch.
- Make sure that all pipes and hoses are empty by first closing the tank’s valve and then shutting off the burners.
Gas grill maintenance:
- Clean the pipes of the burners every year using a brush designed for this purpose.
- Check for leaks after opening the tank’s valve by moving a brush full of soapy water over all moving parts. Bubbles will appear if there is a leak; tighten the joints and replace the damaged parts.
- Always store the tank outside.
- Cigarette butts
Despite the number of smokers steadily decreasing, fire caused by cigarettes still seems to be a major cause of property damage.
- If you’re a smoker, stay alert and be aware of your surroundings. Never smoke lying on a bed or sofa—it’s all too easy to fall asleep
- Always wet cigarette butts before throwing them in the trash.
- Never extinguish cigarette butts in flowerpots or planters outside. The earth is inert and can pose a fire hazard. Black earth or mulch contains peat, moss or wood chips, which are combustible materials. They may also contain chemical fertilizers which could ignite. It can take four to five hours from the time the butt is extinguished to the time a flame starts.
- Electrical fires
Temporary electrical installations or overloaded connections are a significant fire hazard.
- Never operate more than one high energy appliance at the same time on the same circuit.
- Connect electronic devices to a surge-protected power strip.
- Avoid using plug dividers, as they can overload the electrical outlet.
- If you need to use an extension cord, make sure it has enough capacity for the appliance and never slide the cord under a carpet. For long-term use, hire an electrician to add more electrical outlets instead.
A candlelit dinner can turn into a catastrophe if you leave burning candles unattended. Despite the recent rise in homes damaged by water, accidental fires are still among the most common insurance claims.
- Never let candles burn unattended.
- Use good quality candlesticks that are not made of wood or plastic.
- Arrange the candlesticks in a closed, non-passing area at least 30 cm from draperies or woodwork.
Having your home broken into can be very traumatic. Being robbed of valuables or sentimental treasures can be both a financial and psychological hardship.
- Invest in an alarm system.
- Do not leave a key outside.
- Lock all doors and windows every time you leave the house.
- Inform a trusted neighbour if you are leaving for more than a few days.
- Natural disasters
Hailstorms, violent winds and other natural disasters can severely damage your property.
- If a storm is coming, minimize the potential damage by storing your patio furniture and BBQ (without the tank) inside.
- Make sure you have enough supplies for the first 72 hours of an emergency.
The good news is that you will get exclusive prevention tools from The Personal with programs like AlertTM 1, which sends you real-time notifications if it detects water or a frozen pipe risk in your home, and RadarTM 2, which warns you when severe weather is headed your way.
It’s important to be safe while spending more time at home this summer. CDSPI Home Insurance offers you exclusive rates, customizable coverage, and an unbeatable client experience. Call The Personal toll-free at 1.877.277.7230 or visit online to get a quote.
*CDSPI Home & Auto Insurance is underwritten by The Personal Insurance Company and is distributed by CDSPI Advisory Services Inc. Home Insurance is not currently available to residents of Quebec.
1 Alert™ is a trademark of Desjardins General Insurance Group Inc., used under licence. Alert is available with The Personal mobile app. To find out more about The Personal App visit thepersonal.com/mobileapp-cdspi
2 Radar™ is a trademark of Desjardins General Insurance group Inc., used under licence.