Winter is here in Southern Ontario and many homeowners are faced with some questions about their winter home insurance policy and what coverage they have.
1. Going away: If you leave for a warm location during the winter, make sure somebody regularly checks your home. Some insurers explicitly exclude cases if the home was not monitored regularly. Here is an example of a policy which is very specific about this topic: “…but we do not insure loss or damage caused by freezing during the usual heating season within a heated portion of your dwelling if you have been away from your premises for more than 4 consecutive days but you will still be insured if you had taken one of the following precaution: arranged for a competent person to enter your dwelling each day you were away to ensure that heating was being maintained…”
Different companies can have various time horizons e.g. 4 or 7 days. Another option to keep a house safe is to turn off the water at the main source and drain the pipes.
2. Melted snow: Once snow melts and converts into water, it can result in flooding. The challenge in Canada is that, generally speaking, overland flooding is not covered. The only support path in this case can be government disaster recovery programs (e.g. similar to the ones supporting home owners during southern Alberta’s recent flooding). Also, when buying a new home, you want to check if the location has a history of flooding due to melted snow.
3. Snow damages: Typically, your home insurance will cover damages caused by heavy snow, such as damages to your roof. Nevertheless, it is best to ensure your home is free of snow as much as possible in order to avoid potential claims. Often a claim can lead (depending on provider) to increased rates.