pre-winter insurance check-up tips

Winter Insurance Check-Up: Ensuring Your Coverage is Ready for the Chill

Bundle up your peace of mind with these winter insurance check-up tips.

The Creston Valley enjoys some of the most dramatic and lovely changes of the season. Now, as the golden hues of autumn fade to the stark monochrome of winter, we look forward to cozy evenings by the fire, exhilarating winter sports, and holiday cheer. We encourage you to also consider your home and commercial coverage; a pre-winter insurance check-in is essential.

Yes, the arrival of winter brings a delicious coziness and a new outdoor recreation season. But, it also brings a host of potential hazards, from icy roads and sidewalks to heavy snowfalls and sudden melts that can lead to property damage.

Given the time of year, we want to remind you that now is the perfect time to review your insurance policies – personal and commercial. Ensure that you’re fully protected against the unexpected that the cold can bring.

Pre-winter insurance review

Our winters are beautiful! But, along with the breathtaking beauty, winter weather is often responsible for some of the most common and costly insurance claims.

Ice damage, snowmelt flooding, and other winter-related incidents can impact your home, business, automobile, and, most importantly, your peace of mind. Before the snow really flies and icicles hang from the roof, we want you to know what your current insurance policy covers and where you might need additional protection. The essentials:

Homeowners insurance: What to check

Winter-related damages: Ensure that your policy covers common winter issues like frozen pipes, ice dams on the roof, and damage due to the weight of snow or ice.

Flood insurance: In only one season, temperatures here can range from sub-zero to well above freezing – in only a few days! Standard homeowners policies typically do not cover flooding, which can occur from snowmelt. Consider adding flood insurance to your policy for comprehensive coverage.

Personal property coverage: Winter storms can cause power outages that lead to personal property damage, such as spoiled food in freezers or refrigerators. Check if your policy covers these losses.

Liability protection: Slippery sidewalks and driveways can lead to injuries. Liability coverage is a must-have to protect you if someone has an accident on your property.

Review your commercial insurance

Winter can be harsh on businesses, too. Ensure your commercial insurance policies cover winter-related damages, such as roof collapse from heavy snowfall, burst pipes, and business interruption due to severe weather events. Keep your business operations warm and toasty by updating your coverage before the winter freeze sets in.

Not surprisingly, winter increases slip-and-fall risks on your property. It’s essential to confirm that your business liability insurance is robust enough to cover accidents that icy conditions might cause. Not only does this protect patrons and employees, but it also safeguards your business from potential claims that could freeze your finances. Ensure your liability coverage is as solid as ice before winter’s chill arrives!

Auto insurance

Comprehensive coverage: This covers damage to your car that’s not caused by a collision, such as falling ice or hitting a deer, common during winter months.

Collision coverage: Slick roads lead to more accidents. Ensure your collision coverage is sufficient to cover accidents due to winter conditions.

Roadside assistance: Do you have adequate roadside assistance? Winter increases the chances of car trouble. Roadside assistance coverage can be a lifesaver if you find yourself stranded.

Tips for your insurance check-up

  • List any concerns: Note any changes in your life that might affect your insurance needs, such as property improvements, wood heat, or a new car.
  • Document your belongings: Update your home inventory to reflect any new purchases.
  • Consult with Professionals: Reach out to your Creston Valley Insurance agent to discuss your current coverage and any recommended changes.
  • Understand your policy: Don’t hesitate to ask questions about terms and conditions you’re unsure about.

We understand that insurance can sometimes seem complex, especially when preparing for something as unpredictable as winter weather. Our team is dedicated to providing you with personalized service to ensure that your coverage meets your unique needs – no matter the time of year.

Do you think you need a pre-winter insurance check-in? TALK TO US!

Navigating Commercial Insurance for Your Online Business

Navigating Commercial Insurance for Your Online Business

Protect your online business with tailored commercial insurance. Safeguard against cyber threats, liabilities, and disruptions.

In the vibrant digital landscape, throughout the province and locally as well, online business is flourishing. No matter where they are, entrepreneurs can harness the power of the internet to bring their products and services to a huge, global audience.

When you choose to embark on this exciting entrepreneurial journey, you have to consider an important question: Do you need commercial insurance for your online business? To help answer, we’ll try to unravel the importance of commercial insurance and provide information about the vital protection it can offer.

The evolution of business: from brick-and-mortar to digital storefronts

The rise of online businesses has revolutionized the way we shop, interact, and conduct commerce. It’s a realm where creativity knows no bounds, and possibilities are as vast as the digital universe itself. Whether you’re running an e-commerce store, offering digital services, or operating a subscription-based model, the opportunities are ripe for the taking.

Why commercial insurance? Debunking the myths

Some online business owners might mistakenly believe they’re immune to the risks of traditional brick-and-mortar establishments. However, the digital realm presents its own set of challenges, making commercial insurance a necessity rather than a luxury. Consider these scenarios:

  1. Cyber threats: As cybercriminals become increasingly sophisticated, your online business could fall victim to data breaches, hacking, or identity theft. Commercial insurance can provide coverage for the financial repercussions of such attacks.
  2. Product liability: Even if your business operates solely online, you could still face product liability claims if a customer gets harmed by a product you sell. Comprehensive insurance can safeguard you from legal battles and associated costs.
  3. Business interruptions: Technical glitches, server crashes, or even unexpected external factors could disrupt your online operations. Business interruption insurance ensures that you have financial support during such challenging times.
  4. Customer dissatisfaction: In the digital world, customer feedback spreads quickly. If a customer is dissatisfied with your products or services, it could lead to reputation damage and potential legal action. Insurance coverage can offer protection against these situations.

Tailored coverage for online businesses

  1. General liability insurance: Safeguards your business from bodily injury, property damage claims, and advertising-related liabilities. It’s particularly crucial if your online business interacts with customers in any way.
  2. Cyber liability insurance: In an age where data is prized, protecting customer information is paramount. Cyber liability insurance covers data breaches, cyberattacks, and legal expenses resulting from these incidents.
  3. Professional liability insurance: If your online business provides services or advice, this insurance shields you from claims of negligence, errors, or omissions. It’s indispensable for maintaining your reputation.
  4. Business Owner’s Policy (BOP): A BOP combines general liability and property insurance, catering to the unique needs of small businesses, including online ventures.

Investing in long-term success

  1. Risk mitigation: By securing commercial insurance, you’re proactively managing risks that could potentially cripple your business. This approach demonstrates your commitment to safeguarding both your enterprise and your customers.
  2. Legal compliance: Depending on the nature of your internet business, you might need certain types of insurance to comply with regulations or partner agreements.
  3. Reputation enhancement: The trust and credibility gained from having insurance coverage can set your online business apart in a competitive marketplace. Customers feel more secure when they know you’re prepared for unexpected challenges.

Protecting your digital venture

As you embark on the exciting journey of running an online business in British Columbia, remember that commercial insurance is not a mere formality – it’s a strategic move. The digital world might bring unique opportunities, but it also presents its own set of risks.

By investing in tailored insurance coverage, you’re protecting your business and nurturing its growth and longevity. In a province known for its entrepreneurial spirit, ensuring your online business is well-insured is essential to realizing your dreams amidst the dynamic digital landscape.

Do you have an online business? CONTACT US about whether or not you need commercial insurance.

How to Make Changes to Your Homeowner's Insurance Policy

How to Make Changes to Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

Learn how to seamlessly initiate changes to a homeowner’s insurance polic. Protect your home with updated adjustments.

For most of us, there is no bigger investment than owning a home. Insuring it properly is vital to securing your safety and peace of mind. Keeping your homeowner’s insurance policy current and up-to-date is the security net that protects you in the event of the unexpected – and potentially catastrophic.

Things inevitably change over time, so it’s not unusual to make adjustments to your home insurance coverage. Working closely with your broker, you can make changes to your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure that you have the coverage you need – when you need it!

Changing needs

If there’s one thing we can all count on is that nothing stays the same. We experience transitions big and small all the time. So, whether you are renovating your home, making a big asset purchase, or even expanding your family, there are changes that may impact the homeowner’s coverage you need.

Every so often, take the time to evaluate your needs and how they have evolved (or will evolve) and pinpoint the areas where your policy might fall short. Being proactive helps your broker tailor coverage to ensure that you always have optimal protection.

Once you’ve identified changes, reach out to your insurance agent. When you can, we recommend that you initiate contact in advance of changes, upgrades, and transitions so that you have time to discuss your options and make informed decisions. We want you to avoid gaps in coverage as much as possible.

Changes to your home that may require adjustments

Renovation and upgrades

When you’re planning home renovations or upgrades, you should inform your broker. If you change the structure or value of your property, it can impact your coverage requirements.

How much are you doing to your home; What kind of upgrades are you including? Depending on the scope of the renovations, chances are that you should adjust your policy to reflect your home’s increased value.

Additions to valuable assets

If you have purchased or expect to purchase high-end electronics, jewellery, or precious artwork, this is a good time to review your policy. Your existing insurance may not cover these newly acquired items adequately. 

If you have new valuables, ask about adding a floater or endorsement to your policy. This will provide additional coverage specifically for these assets, ensuring they’re appropriately protected.

Change in occupancy or usage

Do you want to use your home for business purposes? Perhaps you are thinking about renting out a portion of your house? 

We suggest you review your policy as it’s likely that adjustments to your homeowner’s coverage will  be necessary. Different usage scenarios and occupancies can require changes in liability and property protection requirements. 

New or upcoming changes? It might be time to discuss your home insurance coverage – TALK TO US!

Review liability coverage

If you haven’t done a recent review of your liability coverage, there’s no time like the present. Now, with the change of season, is a good time – Thanksgiving, Christmas and winter are just around the corner!

Liability coverage is a crucial component of your homeowner’s insurance policy. It protects you financially if someone is injured on your property. Liability also covers you if you accidentally cause damage to someone else’s property.

If you’ve experienced changes in lifestyle, such as having more frequent guests or starting a home-based business, you may need to increase your liability coverage to better safeguard your interests.

Evaluate deductibles

Your policy’s deductible is the amount you’re responsible for paying before your insurance coverage kicks in. Higher deductibles typically offer lower premium payments, while lower deductibles result in paying more in premiums.

If your financial situation has changed and you’re comfortable taking on a higher deductible, it could be a strategic move to reduce your insurance costs.

Bundling and discounts

It might be possible to bundle your homeowner’s insurance policy with other insurance products, such as auto or umbrella insurance. There can be discounts, too, that you aren’t aware of. Discounts can include safety features in your home, alarm systems, or even loyalty discounts for long-term customers.

ASK US about bundling and potential discounts and take advantage of them to optimize your coverage at a reduced cost.

Regular policy reviews

Life can move very fast, and your homeowner’s insurance needs to keep up! Schedule regular policy reviews on your own and with your broker to assess whether your coverage still aligns with your needs. Being proactive about these reviews ensures that your coverage remains up-to-date and effective.

Remember, we’re here to guide you through these changes and help you navigate the intricacies of homeowner’s insurance.

Are you thinking about, or have you made, changes to your home? You may need to also make changes to your existing homeowner’s policy – TALK TO US!

​​Travel Insurance Essential Protection for Canadian Travels

Travel Insurance: Essential Protection for Canadian Travels

Enjoy your Canadian travels this summer. Remember to protect yourself with travel insurance in the event of any unforeseen circumstances.

Travelling is a wonderful opportunity for joy and discovery, even if you don’t leave our Canadian borders. But, as with travelling anywhere, as you explore the wonders of Canada, there’s always the chance for the unexpected – and not in a good way! Unforeseen things can occur that can wreak havoc with your plans and even pose financial risks.

To ensure you have a worry-free experience while exploring the scenic landscapes of our beautiful and fascinating nation, travel insurance becomes an indispensable companion. Let’s delve deeper into why travel coverage is crucial, even when only journeying inside Canada.

Comprehensive medical coverage

Canadians are proud of our robust healthcare system. But it’s important to understand that your provincial health plan might have limitations when you travel beyond British Columbia. Travel coverage provides vital medical coverage. It ensures that you have access to necessary medical treatments, hospital stays, and doctor visits while minimizing out-of-pocket expenses. It also offers coverage for emergency medical evacuations, which can be extremely costly. By having travel insurance, you safeguard your health and finances, granting you peace of mind during your Canadian adventures.

Protection against trip interruptions and cancellations

Life is unpredictable, even day-to-day. Travelling, however, increases the chances of unforeseen circumstances arising, potentially forcing you to cancel or interrupt your trip. Without travel insurance, you could end up losing a significant amount of money on non-refundable expenses. These can include flights, accommodations, and tour bookings. Travel insurance covers trip interruptions and cancellations due to various reasons, such as illness, accidents, or family emergencies. When you invest in travel insurance, you ensure that you are financially protected and can recoup the costs incurred due to unexpected disruptions.

Baggage loss and delay coverage

Losing your luggage or experiencing delays can put a serious damper on your travel experience. Moreso if you find essential items missing. Travel coverage provides coverage for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage, allowing you to replace essential items and continue your journey without unnecessary stress. Additionally, if your baggage is delayed for a certain period, travel insurance often offers reimbursement for the purchase of essential items during the delay. With travel insurance, you can explore British Columbia or any other Canadian destination with the assurance that your belongings are protected.

Emergency assistance anywhere, anytime

When you’re away from home, dealing with emergencies can be challenging, particularly in unfamiliar surroundings. Travel insurance offers round-the-clock emergency assistance services, ensuring you have access to support and guidance whenever you need it. Whether it’s medical referrals, travel advice, or emergency cash advances, travel insurance companies are equipped to assist you in navigating unforeseen circumstances. Having this support system in place helps you feel secure, even when faced with unexpected challenges during your travels.

Coverage for adventurers

No matter where you go in Canada, you’ll find a paradise for adventure enthusiasts, with its diverse range of thrilling activities, such as hiking, skiing, kayaking, and even more dangerous fun. These exhilarating pursuits, however, do come with inherent risks. Travel insurance provides coverage for adventure activities, safeguarding you against any mishaps that may occur during your adventure. Whether it’s a skiing accident or a hiking injury, travel insurance ensures you receive the necessary medical attention and financial protection, enabling you to enjoy your adrenaline-fueled experiences without worry.

Travel coverage is a vital investment, even when exploring the captivating and breathtaking landscapes throughout Canada. It serves as your safety net, providing comprehensive medical coverage, protection against trip interruptions and cancellations, coverage for lost or delayed baggage, and 24/7 emergency assistance services. By securing travel insurance, you ensure that unforeseen events don’t hinder your journey or burden you with extra costs.

In need of travel coverage? Purchase online!

What to Do After An Auto Accident A Guide For BC Drivers

What to Do After An Auto Accident – A Guide For BC Drivers

Prompt reporting and documentation – what BC drivers need to do after an auto accident.

Getting involved in an accident can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. As a responsible driver in British Columbia, it’s crucial to know the steps to take immediately after an accident occurs. When you follow the correct procedures, you can protect yourself and your passengers and ensure a smoother claims process. In this blog post, we will provide a comprehensive guide on what to do after an accident, helping BC drivers navigate through this challenging situation.

  1. Ensure safety first:

    The safety of everyone involved should be your top priority after an accident. Move your vehicle to a safe location, preferably away from traffic if possible. Activate your hazard lights and use warning triangles or flares to alert oncoming traffic. Check for injuries and call emergency services if necessary. By prioritizing safety, you can minimize the risk of further accidents and injuries.

  2. Exchange information:

    After ensuring everyone’s safety, exchange information with the other driver(s) involved. Obtain their full name, contact number, address, driver’s license number, and insurance details. Similarly, provide your own information to the other party. Additionally, collect details of any witnesses present, as their statements might be valuable during the claims process.

  3. Document the accident:

    To support your insurance claim, document the accident scene thoroughly. Take clear pictures of the vehicles involved, including the damage caused. Capture images of the surrounding area, road conditions, and any relevant traffic signs. Note the date, time, and location of the accident. If possible, sketch a diagram illustrating the positions of the vehicles before and after the collision. All these details will serve as crucial evidence when filing your claim.

  4. Report the accident:

    Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident. They will guide you through the claims process, providing the necessary information and documentation requirements. Remember to provide accurate and detailed information while explaining the incident. Cooperate fully with your insurance company to ensure a smooth claims process.

  5. Seek legal advice:

    In some cases, consulting with a legal professional specializing in motor vehicle accidents can be beneficial. They can help protect your rights and navigate the legal complexities of your case. If you sustained injuries or significant property damage, an attorney can assist in filing a personal injury claim or negotiating with insurance companies.

An automobile accident is always an unfortunate event. However, when you’re prepared and know the correct steps to take, you can minimize stress and ensure a smoother process for both your safety and insurance claims.

Remember, always prioritize safety, document the accident, report it to your insurance company promptly, and consider seeking legal advice when necessary. By following this guide, BC drivers can navigate post-accident procedures with confidence.

Why Have Canadian Home Insurance Rates Increased in 2022

Why Have Canadian Home Insurance Rates Increased in 2022?

Between increased inflation and several other factors, 2022 saw increasing Canadian home insurance rates.

According to reporting by RatesDotCa, we Canadian homeowners have seen our home insurance rates increase by an average of 5% through 2022. Last year, for homeowners in Ontario, their home insurance cost about $1,342. This year? The 5% increase meant an increase of almost $70 more – $1,409 for the same coverage in 2022.

There are a variety of reasons for the increases in homeowners’ insurance coverage this year. They include renovations and rebuilds, of course. But there are also the impacts of climate change and, not surprisingly, inflation.

How inflation impacts your home insurance rates

Simply put, you can’t talk about any household expenses, from food to gas to insurance, without addressing the impacts of inflation. Let’s review how we calculate the inflation rate. Our government uses what is referred to as a monthly consumer price index (CPI). This index is a record of any changes in prices from a fixed collection of goods and services. Everything in the collection is categorized – food, clothing, transportation, shelter, furniture, and recreation. Each group gets weighed accordingly, and that determines the overall rate of inflation for our country.

Of course, Canadians aren’t alone in feeling the pinch of inflation. Many of the world’s economies have experienced the same rapid climb right alongside us. Inflation hit a high of 8.1% in June of 2022. Fortunately, it came down gradually over the months that followed. Despite the slight drop since earlier this past summer, Statistics Canada (StatsCan) reported that Canadians experienced the fastest increase in the annual cost in almost four decades. And, by and large, it’s consumers that shoulder that burden. We feel it every day, paying more for the things we need to live – groceries, gasoline, housing, and more. That includes the increased cost of building materials.

Home improvements – higher home insurance rates

With so many of us staying at home for the years of the pandemic, we demanded that our houses accommodate the activities in our lives – work, school, recreation, and more. As a result, we all booked contractors to modify and recreate our homes to better meet our increased demands. Consequently, the costs of home construction and renovation had a big impact on the cost of our home insurance.

And as the cost of building materials went up, so did the costs to make changes to our homes and, ultimately, the cost of insuring them. Early in the summer of 2022, the CPI recorded an increase in home and mortgage insurance by an average of 4.9%. Expenses that directly impact insurance premiums increased dramatically. For instance, the cost of home replacement increased by 10%. Property maintenance and repairs increased by 7.2%. Rental properties, protected by policies when a home is suddenly uninhabitable due to an insured peril, also went up by 4.3%.

Home renovations

When you renovate your home, it increases the cost required to rebuild in the event of a claim, which drives up your premiums. In 2021, according to StatsCan, we Canadians applied for almost 213,000 residential alteration and improvements permits. Maybe you finished a basement. Someone else built a beautiful addition. Any upgrade increases the replacement cost of your house. As a result, your premiums increase along with your potential replacement costs.

Rebuilding your home

Over the past few years, we’ve experienced changes in Canadian consumer purchasing behaviour and various unexpected pandemic-induced supply chain issues. This combination of factors created a surge in material costs, primarily lumber, which ultimately increased the cost of home insurance coverage.

Rebuilds with insurance money are typically more expensive than those incurred through private contractors. Insurers require more rapid timelines for rebuilding to get homeowners safely back home. Keep in mind that the insurer will likely also cover associated costs for a homeowner forced from their home for the duration of the rebuild.

In addition to factors like where you live and the age of your home, the inflationary costs of materials will also impact what you pay for your insurance premiums.

Impacts of climate change

Many Canadians, including British Columbians, have seen or experienced first-hand the effects of climate change in the form of extreme weather. These catastrophic experiences have resulted in millions of dollars in losses and insured damages.  It also means an increase in insurance premiums. There have been several devastating weather events in Canada. One frightening example included the extreme flooding in BC last fall, with costs estimated at more than $450 million in insured losses.

Whether it’s flooding, wildfires, hail, tornadoes, or the hurricane that battered Newfoundland this past fall, we can expect extreme weather events to only continue. As they result in more and more insured losses, leading to the inevitability that home insurance rates will only increase.

Can you do anything about the increases?

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to predict increases in home insurance premiums and how much they might be. Given the different factors that influence how much insurance costs, increases can vary depending on where you live.

So, you can’t control increasing home insurance rates. But there are ways you can try to minimize some of the costs:

  • Higher deductibles: If you choose a higher deductible – what you’re responsible for paying if you make a claim for an insurable incident – you can often reduce the premiums you pay.
  • Discounts: Insurers may offer discounts. These savings can help reduce what you pay in premiums. Some examples of possible discounts –fire alarms correctly installed, security systems, and reductions if you are free of any claims.
  • Soft credit checks: If you have good credit, a soft credit check by the insurance company can possibly lower your premium. The check is simply an inquiry and doesn’t influence your credit score.
  • Bundling: To save money, consider grouping insurance purchases – home and auto, for example – with the same provider, if possible.
  • Membership or employment discounts: Sometimes, businesses or professional organizations can offer group insurance rates for employees and members (i.e. alumni of a university, union members).

TIP: Ask your broker about any possible discounts or ways you might lower your premium. Always review your homeowner’s policy every year and check for any changes and inform your broker if you upgrade your home.

Do you have other questions about your home insurance? Talk to us!


Updates For Your Home Insurance Broker

Changes in Your Life? 5 Updates For Your Home Insurance Broker

Changes occur in everyone’s life. Be sure to update your home insurance broker to ensure that you have the appropriate coverage.

There’s a great deal that can happen and change in a year – the length of a typical home insurance policy. Yes, your coverage will return seamlessly every year. But, when you make any changes to your home or your life, you want to have the proper coverage.

Update your home insurance broker of any changes you’ve made, or that have occurred in the past year. When you signed your policy initially your coverage reflected your needs at the time. At the time the policy renews, you should take the time to reflect on how those needs may have changed. Changes that might impact your home insurance coverage.

You may not know what the changes are that can affect your coverage. Here’s a little help. Update your home insurance broker when:

1. You make changes to your home

Insuring your home initially, your home insurance broker based the value of your coverage on a thorough assessment of your home. The assessment explored every detail of your home – the size, the number of bathrooms, the kind of heating, the style of plumbing and electrical, the type of roofing material, etc. These components influence how much it will cost to rebuild in the event of a complete loss.

Your coverage is based on components and systems at the time your insurance policy was created. Renovations and upgrades add value to your home so it’s critical that you update your home insurance broker and your policy to be fully covered.  Another reason to update your broker is that some upgrades to the core systems (heat, electrical, plumbing) can save you money in lower premiums.

2. You operate a business at home

More common than ever, thanks to the pandemic, people are operating businesses big and small from their homes. This is something you should definitely discuss with your home insurance broker. Depending on the business, your existing policy may cover some, or even all, aspects of your home-based operations. In other cases, it may not. And, it can happen that unreported business activity could leave certain parts of your home insurance invalid.

Don’t risk operating a home-based business without the right coverage. In doubt? Talk to your broker.

3. Update your home insurance broker about a marriage or divorce

It isn’t only about changes you make to the structure of your home that can impact your insurance coverage. Changes within it make a difference, too. Changing your relationship status can also require an update to your policy. If you’ve moved from tenant insurance to a homeowner’s policy (or vice versa) your home insurance broker needs to know. Similarly, if you are adding another homeowner. Talk to your broker if your relationship changes and they can ensure that you avoid inadequate coverage.

4. Acquisition of valuables

Insurance for your belongings helps replace all you own if they’re lost or damaged by an insured event. If you purchase something of particular value after you signed your policy, contact your broker to see if you ought to reassess your insurance coverage. Curious about the value of your belongings? Here’s a good tool to help you calculate.

5. People moving in – and out of your home

When your broker designs your homeowner’s policy, the number of people who live in your home will be a factor. Particularly, when you have tenants or operate a short-term rental. To be certain, when someone moves in or out of your home, you should inform your home insurance broker to ensure that you continue with the right coverage.

Life changes happen to everyone and they can be very exciting. And certainly, we understand that your home insurance may not be front of mind as they’re happening. But, your home insurance broker is here for you to answer any questions and help to ensure you always have proper coverage. Talk to us!


Prepare Your Home For Safe Gathering

Summertime is Party-Time! Prepare Your Home For Safe Gathering 

It’s summertime! That means summer parties indoors and out. Prepare your home for a safe gathering this summer with a few easy tips.

This is the first summer since 2019 that we feel a greater sense of ease and freedom to get together with a lot of friends and family. And there’s nothing like blissful, lazy, long summer days enjoyed with the people we love. It’s the time of year, apart from the Holiday Season, when we are inspired to enjoy casual happy hours with the neighbours, host backyard BBQs, and get the family together from near and far.

But, don’t leave safety to chance. An unexpected accident could easily put a damper on the easy-breezy summer celebrations… or worse. Prepare your home for safe gathering with your favourite people this summer with the peace of mind that everyone will have a wonderful time – and be eager to return!

Host a safe gathering – the basics!

We have very few months in a year to host parties outdoors. That means last-minute get-togethers and hurried preparations before we host our friends and family. Consequently, we overlook those things that might pose safety hazards to our guests. A few simple tips can help you be the hostest with the mostest knowing your loved ones can enjoy themselves in and around your home without risk.

Before you welcome your guests, here are a few things to do to make your home summer party ready:

  • Make sure the party area is tidy – free of clutter – and well-lit.
  • Trips and slips happen easily. Be sure that where people walk is free of debris, level, and safe
  • Stock up the First Aid kit and ensure you can access it easily
  • Avoid skirmishes or dangers from or to your pets. If you have pets that aren’t people- or crowd-friendly, ensure they are either kept in a safe and comfortable room out of the fray or that you provide Fido with a sitter
  • Consider moving any valuables (art, electronics, etc.) to a more secure spot to prevent damage (or theft!)

Fire up the BBQ – safely!

Snacks, appetizers, and even meals are typically on the menu for any summer gathering. It also means that the barbeque – or stove and oven – is often left unattended as you move from your kitchen to your patio or deck preparing food.

Did you know? Cooking is the number 1 cause of house fires in Canada. Even a little mistake can be potentially disastrous. As you cook, keep these recommendations in mind:

  • Someone should monitor the BBQ at all times
  • Keep small children away from the BBQ
  • To keep your BBQ
  • Ensure the BBQ is on level ground and clear of branches, trees, and shrubs
  • Never add fire starter after the BBQ is on and lit
  • Keep your areas for food preparation clean and grease-free. Also, sharp objects are safely placed on counters so they don’t drop on toes – and keep them away from the little kids!
  • Keep bags, papers, gifts, etc. well away from BBQ or stovetop
  • Once you’re ready to serve and leave the kitchen or BBQ, turn off all heat sources – burners and grills
  • Always keep a fire extinguisher close by

Bring on the bevvies – with care!

Of course, most summer get-togethers will include a range of cocktails, beer, and wine. There’s nothing like a warm summer evening to wind down with your favourite refreshments. And you want your guests to relax and enjoy themselves! But, as a responsible host, it’s up to you to:

  • Make non-alcoholic beverages equally available
  • Be sure that you serve ample food along with the bevvies – encourage everyone to bring their fave appies!
  • Be aware of how much everyone is drinking.
  • Know if there are underage guests and if they are drinking, too.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption and remain sober to ensure the care and safety of your guests.
  • Ensure there is a designated driver available to drive guests home. Alternatively, have cash on hand if you need to send someone home in a taxi.

Safety should be the priority when you host any event, big or small. After all, as the host, you could be responsible for the actions of the guests at your party. Consider familiarizing yourself with the social host liability guidelines.

CONTACT US to review your current home insurance policy to determine your coverage in the event of damage to property or physical harm to (or by) a guest.

Prevent Hazards and Potential Losses Caused By Hot Work

Prevent Hazards and Potential Losses Caused By Hot Work

Losses caused by hot work are among the leading reasons mid-size commercial or industrial properties make insurance claims.

One of the leading causes of fire in Canada, and one of the top three reasons for mid-size commercial or industrial property losses is from hot work operations. Hot work is any occupation that involves working with ignition sources near flammable materials – soldering, welding, grinding, and cutting, for example. If these activities are conducted near combustible dust or flammable gases, liquids, or materials, there’s an increased risk of fire or even explosion.

Hot work accounts for considerable property losses each year. However, safety procedures implemented effectively and a permit system for hot work can help to significantly reduce these fire hazards.

Significant damage and losses… from only one small spark

It’s not unusual for commercial and light manufacturing operations to have a designated area specifically used for frequent hot work.

It only takes a very small spark to have a devastating impact. The destruction of property and equipment, the interruption of business and even the loss of jobs for employees. Worse yet, it has the potential to put lives at risk. And, in the aftermath, as a business recovers, they can lose valued customers to the competition. The losses caused by hot work can seem endlessly ongoing.

One little welding spark amidst the wrong conditions can cause overwhelming damage and destruction.

Losses caused by hot work – mitigate the risks

You may not consider this, but it’s possible for a loose spark to sit in a pile of dust and smoulder, only to come to life in the middle of the night. With no one around to stop it, the potential damage could be devastating.

To mitigate the risks associated with hot work, best practices for hot work are as follows:

  • Ensure all equipment functions properly before any work begins.
  • Ensure that fire extinguishers are in working order, are readily available and easy to access.
  • Utilize all appropriate personal protective devices. They should always be available onsite. Train each worker on their use. They should also be cleaned and stored appropriately.
  • Thoroughly inspect the work area before work begins. Check for combustible and flammable surfaces nearby (walls, ceilings, partitions, etc.). Cover them with a fire resistant and heat insulating material to prevent accumulation of heat and possible ignition.

Look for combustibles in and around the hot work zone

  • As much as possible, move all combustibles away from the hot work area.
  • If combustibles can’t be cleared away, you can cover them with fire resistant shields or blankets. Be sure to protect any exposed or nearby equipment and gas lines from flying or stray sparks or hot items.
  • Tidy any combustible and flammable materials on the floors of the work zone and surrounding area. If the floors are at risk of combusting, keep them wet or cover them with damp sand or fire resistant blankets. NOTE: Only use water if you know electrical circuits have been de-energized to prevent electrical shock.
  • Remove and clean up spilled oil, grease, or other combustible liquid.
  • To prevent ignition, vacuum any debris that is flammable or combustible from duct openings, inside the ventilation or other ductwork. If there are cracks in ducts, seal them. Ensure sparks cannot enter the ducting. Use fire resistant barrier to cover any duct openings.
  • Keep first-aid kits well stocked and easy to find and access.
  • Find out more best practices  CLICK HERE.

Conduct a regular fire watch

Once you have a properly prepared hot work area, it’s also important to conduct a fire watch following any welding, soldering, grinding, or any other work that produces sparks and heat.

Someone should ensure that there is no hidden spark or fire that will smoulder or ignite in the hours after the hot work is complete. Skip or miss the inspection afterwards and risk potentially catastrophic consequences. It may mean paying a employee trained in the proper use of fire suppression equipment to stay longer to keep an eye on the area. It’s an expense that is well worth it, as many victims of hot work disasters will confirm.

There is an alternative, if you don’t have the budget or trained staff to keep fire watch. As best you can, limit hot work to early in the day. There will be time for any stray sparks or smoulders can be caught during the workday. The recommendation is from approximately one to four hours after the completion of hot work to monitor the area.

Permits for hot work

Reducing the hazards is possible through a specific hot work permit system. A two-part tag system, the hot work permit requires that a welder complete a safety checklist before they perform hot work beyond designated hot work areas. Affix one portion of the two-part tag near the work area until completion of the fire watch. The other portion will be on file, audited by management.

The permit system ensures the individual performing the hot work follows the appropriate safety protocols. It requires they sign off on a checklist before working and after the fire watch is complete. A hot work permit is available for purchase from most retailers of safety supplies.

Fire safety program specific to hot work

In any overall industrial or commercial safety program, the hot work safety policy should include hot work permits. It should be a policy that incorporates all hot work activities, on-site, whether performed by staff or third-party contractors.

The hot work component of a safety policy shouldn’t be complicated. It does not. It’s simply a page or two that outlines the specific safety procedures required to conduct hot work.

Questions about your hot work environment and your commercial insurance? Talk to us!

How to Protect Your Home From Spring Basement Flood

Seasonal Thaw – How to Protect Your Home From Spring Basement Flood

There’s nothing like a spring basement flood to take the joy out of the new season – protect yourself before a crisis!

We welcome all the many signs of spring – crocuses and other spring buds, longer days, and the return of all of our favourite feathered friends. We even welcome the rain as it helps turn our surroundings from dreary brown to vibrant green.

But, rain combined with the springtime melt and winter runoff can wreak havoc on our homes with incidences such as basement floods if we’re not prepared. The fact is, melting in springtime combined with rain can damage the grading of our yards and the foundations of our homes, both of which invite the increased likelihood of basement flood.

Prepare BEFORE a costly basement flood crisis!

Consider the condition and contents of your basement. If it’s been finished, you risk damage or complete ruin to your flooring, drywall, furnishings, and valuable personal items and documents should your basement flood. Prevention will save you a lot of time, labour, money and possibly even heartache, so do as much as you can to keep your property safe.

Repair cracks in your foundation

As the snow retreats and as soon as you’re able, take the time to examine the exterior foundation of your home – this includes both basement walls and floors.  Fill them with crack filler for masonry concrete squeezed from a caulking gun if you find cracks. Except for tiny shrinkage cracks that occur on homes of all ages, an experienced contractor should inspect any serious foundation cracks.

Clear gutters and downspouts

Keep your gutters clear of debris. Be sure to position the downspouts to direct water away from your foundation. The recommendation is to drain the water no less than three feet away, so it might mean running extensions to ensure enough distance from your home.

Check your window wells

Below-grade basement windows can be problematic during this time of year. But, for protection from water, you can install window well covers that fasten securely to your home’s foundation. They’re made from clear acrylic, allowing light to enter while protecting them from rain, pests, and leaves.

Check your septic or sewer system

This is a great time to have your septic field checked if you’re due for a pump. Sadly, during periods of rain, an overtaxed septic system or a clogged sewer is a disaster waiting to happen.

Check your sump pump

When using a below-grade sump pump, it’s important to keep it free of debris. If you use a portable pump, position it in the lowest part of the basement and ensure you’ve connected it to a power source. It’s no use if it’s not running!

Review your home insurance coverage

To confirm that you have protected your home in the event of a flood, be sure to review your homeowner’s policy. Depending on your location and circumstances, you might consider additional coverage, particularly if yours is a finished basement.

Questions about your home insurance and flood protection? Talk to us!

What to do in the event of flooding

When it comes to our homes, excess water is definitely not your friend. But, if, as the snow retreats and the rains come, you experience flooding in your basement, here’s what to do:

First, you have to remove all the water. When the water goes unnoticed and isn’t handled promptly after flooding, the results can be quite extensive and costly. Read: mould!

You might need to rent a sump pump for a couple of inches of water. Anything more, you might have to call a professional. When you call in a pro, they have all the equipment necessary to do the job quickly and thoroughly.

Once the water is removed, everything must be dried thoroughly. To dry out as quickly as possible, ensure plenty of ventilation to decrease the potential for mould taking hold. Open as many windows and doors as you can and turn on fans to increase air circulation.

Unfortunately, anything porous that got soaked will need to be thrown out – paper documents, newspapers, cardboard boxes. If you keep them, they can provide a breeding ground for mould.

If you can dry out your carpets quickly, chances are you can keep them. Otherwise, they may have to be torn up and tossed. If a significant amount of the drywall is wet, you have to cut out the saturated areas and replace them.

Cleaning up a basement flood is a ton of hard work. It can also be expensive. Do yourself a favour – follow the steps above to protect your home as best you can.

Be sure that your home is properly protected – talk to us!