Home Maintenance-Spring Edition


With the situation around the world right now, it is understandable that we’re all more than a little stir-crazy. The improving weather makes that urge to be out and about a lot more tangible. Since many of us have a lot more free time on our hands now, this is an excellent opportunity to undertake a walk around, both inside and outside our home, with a view to loss prevention.

We encourage you to involve the entire family in this project, as many eyes are better than two. Treat it as a field trip of sorts, a disguised educational opportunity. This is your chance to explain to young minds why loss prevention is so important and how a stitch in time, saves nine.

Part 1: Outside your home 

Begin with a full 360 walk-around. Have a look for and make a written note of:

  • Cracks in/damage to the foundation
  • Grading that falls towards the house or is level with basement windows
  • Downpipe extensions that are not far enough away from the house
  • Any damage to or missing, siding/exterior cladding
  • Missing or damaged soffit/fascia
  • Condition of door and window screens
  • Any damage to the chimney’s, including missing mortar between the joints
  • The state of the shingles/roofing material and for objects fallen on the roof
  • Whether discharge outlets and/or fresh air intakes for the dryer, furnace, and HRV are blocked
  • The condition of stoops, decks, and other landings including railings
  • If the gutters/eavestroughing appear to be clear and free of obstructions
  • Overhanging tree limbs or branches which could damage your home if they break off
  • Damage to fencing and gates, especially if you have a pool
  • If taps for outdoor hoses have split or cracked over winter
  • Bird’s nests around exterior lighting fixtures which could be a fire hazard
  • Walkways, patios and the driveway surface that are heaved or uneven
  • The condition of the air conditioning unit

From these written notes, you can then prioritize the list of things that need to be repaired/replaced and, if necessary, find a qualified contractor to complete the needed work. Issues that could cause water damage to your home, or are a liability concern should be addressed first.

In the insurance industry, there is a term that “water is the new fire”. Water damage claims are quickly gaining on fire losses and so you should pay close attention to the way that water migrates around your home. Grading should fall away from the home; downpipes should be extended to move water well away from the foundation; and gutters need to be clear and obstruction free.

Consider installing frost-free hose connections for outdoor taps, as these are intended to prevent pipes from splitting if water freezes in the line. Deteriorated shingles can cause water damage also; as is the case with damaged/missing siding or missing mortar in brick cladding. 

“Issues that could cause water damage to your home, or are a liability concern should be addressed first.”

Liability concerns include masonry chimney’s, which could collapse and either damage property or injure someone; heaved or uneven walking surfaces; missing or damaged railings/barriers or landings that are in poor condition; and damage to fences which could allow increased access to the pool area.

It goes without saying that any structural damage, left unattended, can become irreparable and result in larger losses. If damage to any of the building components is identified, these require attention. As always, if you have questions about loss prevention, our team is available to help. You can reach out to us virtually by emailing lossprevention@htminsurance.ca

Stay tuned for Part 2: Inside Your Home, coming soon!