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Mackay Insurance Blog


April 2023

Spring Maintenance Tips To Help You Prevent Home Insurance Claims

Child playing in spring puddles.

Spring Maintenance Tips To Help You Prevent Home Insurance Claims

Have you begun your spring cleaning checklist yet? We have a few more valuable tips you can check off!

Spring cleaning helps spruce up your home’s appearance and cleanliness. But, at Mackay Insurance, we think it should do more than that.

Your spring cleaning checklist should also,

  • Prevent damage,
  • Fortify your living space,
  • Protect your home’s value, and
  • Prevent unnecessary home insurance claims.

It’s common to find seasonal wear and tear in and on your home after a long winter. This could be a disconnected downspout, loose siding or even wind damage on your roof.

But did you know minor repairs like these can help prevent common home insurance claims?

It usually doesn’t cost much to ensure your home is well-fortified for the next season.

Plus, all the minor repairs you make now can help lower the risk of more serious and costly repairs in the future.

That’s what our brokers are all about - lowering your risk.

Check off each item on the list below to ensure max safety and cost-saving benefits!


Replace Batteries In Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

According to the Ontario Building Code, CO alarms are mandatory in Ontario homes that have,

a) Fuel-burning appliances,

b) Fireplaces or

c) Attached garages.

Homeowners must also install them next to each sleeping area.

These alarms warn you of rising CO levels in your home. This gas is odourless and colourless but can lead to long-term health damage or even death.

We recommend changing your CO alarm batteries annually and replacing the device every 7-10 years.

Note: If you have an existing detector in your home, check the expiry date. If it’s a 2010 model, immediately replace it.

Smoke Alarms:

According to the Ontario Fire Code, Smoke alarms are also mandatory in Ontario homes. Homeowners are to install them on every storey and outside all sleeping areas.

Smoke alarms detect smoke and alert you immediately - saving countless lives. But only if they’re properly installed and maintained.

The Canada Safety Council states, “a dead unit is worse than none at all - it can give you a false sense of security”.

For this reason, we recommend,

  • Changing the batteries twice a year
  • Testing monthly, and
  • Replacing the unit every 10 years.


Schedule HVAC Preventative Maintenance

When did you last schedule a tuneup for your heating, cooling and air quality systems?

We recommend booking a tuneup with your local HVAC company once a year.

Besides the benefits of peak performance and efficiency, a yearly tuneup can also,

  • Save money on hefty repair bills,
  • Prevent gas leaks.
  • Prevent fire hazards.
  • Ensure proper air circulation in your home.

As you may have guessed, gas leaks and fire hazards in your home are our top safety concerns for your HVAC. Ensuring your systems get necessary maintenance can help prevent both from happening!


Clean Out Your Dryer Lint

According to the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office, appliances like dryers cause at least one fire a day in Ontario.

Regular maintenance on your dryer lowers the risk of it becoming a fire hazard.

As your dryer runs, it accumulates lint - one of the leading causes of dryer fires. It’s a highly flammable material that can enter your exhaust system and heating element.

While cleaning the lint screen between each load can help prevent some accumulation, it doesn’t stop it.

Here's what else you can do!

Remove lint from the,

  • Metal ducts
  • Exhaust vent/hood
  • Dryer vent hose

We recommend cleaning out your dryer lint in these areas at least once a year. This can help decrease the risk of a dryer fire occurring!


Inspect Your Lawn

It’s crazy how much you can find lying around your yard once the snow melts.

After a long season of snow storms, you’re bound to find:

  • Fallen/Falling trees
  • Branches,
  • Dirt and Debris,
  • Rotten trees.

Removing debris from your yard ensures it doesn’t become a slip, trip and fall hazard. 

Removing fallen or rotten trees near your home or power lines can help prevent a fire.


Clean The Gutters

Gutter maintenance and repairs are crucial.

Over time, gutters fill with leaves, dirt, sticks and other debris - clogging the water flow.

Clogged gutters can cause,

  • Foundation problems
  • Broken gutters
  • Wall/Ceiling damage
  • Wet basements
  • Insect Infestation

Your insurance company is not responsible for gutter-related home damages.

This means you’re responsible for all costs associated with the damages caused by a clogged or faulty gutter system. And the results can get pricy!

Prevent these costly water damages by clearing out your gutters as often as needed.


Check Your Foundation

Did you know that water damage is the most common cause of home damage? It accounts for about 50% of home insurance claims costs!

Most home insurance policies cover accidental or sudden water damage. They also offer add-ons for more serious coverage - like sewer backup and overland water insurance.

This coverage helps protect your home from heavy rainfall or rapid snow melt.

For example:

You could potentially make a home insurance claim if your basement flooded because the drainage system couldn't keep up.

But your insurance company won’t cover you if you haven’t taken the right precautions.

Foundation Maintenance Tips:

  • Check your foundation for cracks.
  • Keep melting snow away from the foundation walls and basement windows.
  • Ensure proper grading for water to drain away from your home.

Contact your Mackay broker to learn more about our overland water insurance coverages.


Check Your Roof

Inspect your roof for cracked, lifted or missing shingles. If you don’t replace these shingles, they can 100% lead to leaks - causing more water damage to your roof.

In certain unpreventable scenarios, home insurance companies cover roofing repairs/replacements. But you’ll have to speak with your Mackay insurance broker for the full details.

Want to avoid making a home insurance claim for roofing repairs? We recommend replacing missing shingles and fixing small leaks as needed.

Note: We don’t recommend doing this yourself unless you take all the necessary safety precautions. Hire a professional if you are able.


Repair Driveways and Walkways

Was your driveway or walkway damaged over the winter? Maybe from weather-related incidents or even a snowplough?

We recommend making the necessary repairs right away!

These damages can easily lead to a slip, trip and fall claim due to personal injury on your property.


Clean/Re-Stain Woodwork

Freshen up your outdoor woodwork (i.e. decking) to ensure its structural integrity.

We recommend,

  • Cleaning the woodwork
  • Checking for rotting wood or loose materials
  • Checking for loose nails or wobbly railings.
  • Making any necessary repairs.
  • Re-staining if necessary.

These steps help fortify your home and keep your home insurance valid.


Clean Up Your Insurance Policies

While you’re checking off your list, don’t forget to note any changes, questions and concerns along the way.

Spring is the perfect time to re-evaluate your insurance policies and ensure everything is up to date.

For example:

Have you made any repairs, replacements or renovations to your home?

Do you have the right home coverage (i.e. overland water coverage)?

Do you need to revisit the terms of your policy?

These questions may affect your policy validation, future home insurance claims and liability.


Contact Your Mackay Insurance Broker Today!

Contact our Mackay Insurance brokers in Belleville and Napanee to learn more about our home insurance packages.

Our Belleville Office: 613-966-5740

Our Napanee Office: 613-354-2555

You can also visit our website to get a free quote on home insurance!

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