The weather outside is frightful… but insurance shouldn’t be

-TD Insurance challenges Canadians to test their insurance savvy when it comes to the winter elements-

TORONTO, Feb. 10 /CNW/ - Is a homeowner responsible if someone slips on ice and is injured on their property? Are you covered if your water pipes burst and cause damage to your home? When it comes to protecting your home and your family, there's a big difference between thinking you're covered by your home insurance and knowing that you are. 

"Canadians need to be aware of how winter weather can affect their homes and what they should do to protect themselves," says Henry Blumenthal, Vice President and Chief Underwriter, TD Insurance. "Without proper maintenance, winter weather can wreak havoc on homes and if you're not sure about what your home insurance covers, it can also create headaches for homeowners. Jack Frost nipping at your nose may be the least of your problems. "

Homes are particularly vulnerable to damage in the winter due to freezing water. It can be responsible for everything from burst water pipes to cracked masonry and as winter temperatures go up and down, the roof can also be susceptible to damage from shifting ice and snow. "No one likes dealing with issues that accompany owning a home - especially ones that could have been avoided," says Blumenthal. "Taking some time to fix trouble spots protects the value of your home and can save you money in the long run. Not to mention that maintaining your house properly reduces the likelihood that you'll ever have to make an insurance claim."

"The good news for homeowners is that some of the most common home insurance claims during the winter months are one hundred per cent preventable with proper home maintenance," adds Blumenthal.

To help ensure you're covered this winter, TD Insurance offers the following tips:

  1. When in doubt, ask. Whether you 're confident or are completely unsure about what your home insurance policy covers, speaking with an expert gives you the peace of mind of knowing what you're protected for.
  2. Check winter incident hot spots. Vulnerable exterior spots include your roof, walls and obstructions that could prevent melting snow from draining away from the house.  Inside your house, your heating system and pipes should be your biggest concerns.
  3. Make sure your home is well insulated. In addition to saving you money on your heating bills, ensuring your attic is well-insulated and well-ventilated will prevent ice dams from forming on your roof. Without the right insulation, ice can accumulate on your roof, forcing water into your home because it has nowhere else to go.
  4. Deal with issues before they become problems. It's always better to deal with potential problems sooner rather than later. Not addressing issues right away can cause further damage to your home or property, and additional problems caused by not properly maintaining your home may not be covered by your insurance policy.

TD Insurance developed the following quiz to help Canadians dispel some of the home insurance myths related to the winter elements.

TD INSURANCE WINTER INSURANCE MYTHS QUIZ

True or false? I have home insurance, so any damage to my home caused by winter elements will be covered.

A: False.

If the damage could have been prevented by proper maintenance, your policy won't cover you. For example if your detached garage isn't heated and your pipes freeze.

True or false? If I leave my home for more than 3 - 4 days, and my pipes freeze I am liable if no one has been checking my house.

A: True.

If you plan to be away for more than four days, turn off your water or arrange for someone to come by regularly to make sure the heat is on. Pipes freeze easily during cold weather especially when vacationers turn their heat off and you could be on the hook for any resulting damages.

True or false? Furnaces, boilers and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year to prevent fire and smoke damage.

A: True.

Because heating systems are typically not used for months at a time, it's important to make sure they're working properly before turning them on. Malfunctioning heating systems within your house during the winter months can result in smoke damage or cause a fire.

True or false? If someone slips and hurts themselves on my property as a result of a slippery walkway or stairway, they can make a claim against me.

A: True.

Under most circumstances, this will be covered by your home insurance policy, but it is always best to prevent accidents if you can. Make sure you clear your walk and salt - not only is it neighbourly, but it can help avoid injuries.

True or false? If an icicle hits my car and damages my windshield, I can file a claim against the property owner.

A: Neither.

This type of damage would actually be covered by your auto insurance policy however it's still important for the property owner to maintain their building properly. While it wouldn't be you filing the claim, your auto insurer could seek recoveries for the damage if they felt the building owner was negligent.

True or false? The number of home insurance claims increases in the winter.

A: False.

Most home insurance claims occur in the summer because of damage caused by rain and wind however winter weather still causes a significant number of losses due to major water damage and fires.

Give yourself one point for every right answer.

If you scored 5 or 6: Congratulations! You have a good understanding of how you can help prevent unnecessary chills and spills during the winter months. You're clear about your responsibilities when it comes to the winter elements and your home. Remember it's important to take the proper precautions, including reviewing your home insurance policy when the winter months hit to ensure you stay in the know and out of the snow.

If you scored 3 or 4: You know the basics, but there are a few learnings that will help you ensure it's not just the ground that's covered this winter. Your insurance provider can bring you up to speed on your liabilities, so you can take the proper steps to avoid making unnecessary claims.

If you scored less than 2: Dispelling myths about home insurance related to the winter elements can often be complicated. To help you understand what you're liable for and that you have the right coverage for your needs, you should contact your insurance provider. They will be able to review your policy and ensure you have the right coverage. You'll then be in good shape to take the proper steps to prepare.

About TD Insurance
TD Bank Group's insurance companies and operations carry on business under the TD Insurance brand. TD Insurance offers a wide range of products to help protect clients from the 'accidents of life' including credit protection, life, health, travel, home and auto insurance. With more than three million clients, TD Insurance authorized products and services are available through a network of more than 1,000 TD Canada Trust branches, the Internet and telephone. The TD Insurance brands include TD Insurance Credit Protection and TD Insurance Life and Health, which are the number one provider of critical illness insurance and direct life and health premium origination in Canada. And through its TD Insurance Meloche Monnex and TD Insurance Home and Auto brands, TD Insurance is the largest direct-response insurance group in the country. For more information, visit www.tdinsurance.com.

SOURCE TD Bank Group - Insurance

For further information:

Meghan Thomas
TD
416-944-4151
Meghan.thomas@td.com

Karen Williams / Laura Ballantyne
Paradigm Public Relations
416-203-2223
kwilliams@paradigmpr.ca / lballantyne@paradigmpr.ca


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