With the rise of services like Airbnb, you may be considering renting out your home for extra income while you’re away for an extended period of time. Though this seems like an ideal solution for families with extra room to spare, it can create issues for those who don’t properly prepare.
To get the most out of renting out your home, keep in mind the following:
- Review the terms of your insurance policy closely and talk with your insurance broker about renting out your home.
- Draw up a rental agreement that defines the terms of the rental, including restrictions, liabilities, and occupancy guidelines.
- Request a security deposit. Explain that this deposit will be refunded if there is no damage to your home.
- Set aside a secure place in your home to store personal items, such as clothing and valuables.
- Take pictures of all areas of your home before the rental takes place in case damage occurs while you are away.
If you uncover any red flags while checking references, do not agree to rent your home. Your first priority should be to protect yourself and your property.
Accidents and natural disasters can strike without warning!
When this happens, you will have to file an insurance claim in order for your policy to kick in and recoup your losses.
To get the most out of the claims process, consider the following tips:
Call your insurance broker as soon as an incident occurs.
- The sooner you get the process moving, the better.
- After you’ve contacted your insurance broker, you can ask the adjuster to come and inspect the damage.
Document your losses before the adjuster comes.
- Make a thorough list of property that has been impacted by a disaster.
- Provide purchase receipts, or estimate how much the belongings cost and when you bought them.
Take photographs of the scene.
- Don’t throw out damaged items before notifying your insurance broker and adjuster.
Above all, it’s important to document the claims process, noting when you speak with your insurance broker and what the conversation entailed.
At Scrivens, we keep detailed notes on every customer interaction.
This helps track the amount of reimbursement you should receive and allows you to keep a record of insurance claims for future use.
Scrivens highly recommends everyone keep a thorough home inventory to help make the claims process run smoothly and quickly. You can download our Home Inventory Checklist in Excel format here.
Remodels and other home improvements are an important part of being a property owner. When done correctly, these projects can add value to a home and make it more attractive to future buyers.
Unfortunately, hiring a contractor to complete home improvement projects is not always simple. The average homeowner is often unaware of the average cost of materials and labour. What’s more, construction projects can be stressful, and it’s common for individuals to rush when choosing a construction firm just to get a job done faster.
As a result, homeowners are an easy target for contractor fraud, which is when a firm performs substandard repairs or offers services that deliberately cheat another party. To avoid contractor fraud and ensure that your home improvements are done to a high standard, look out for the following:
- Contractors that contact you looking for work
- Unsolicited, free home inspections that turn up problems you were previously unaware of
- Contractors that want you to commit to repairs immediately
- Contractors that request money in advance
- Contractors that do not get the right permits or want to sell extra materials to you for a cheap price
When choosing a contractor, obtain as many references as you can and be diligent about researching reputable firms. If you are the victim of contractor fraud, you can report it to your local police department or notify services like the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Heavy rainfall, high winds, hail and lightning from storms can cause severe damage to your home and endanger you and your family. In fact, flooding alone can cost Canadians an average of $42,000.
Make sure to protect your home from storm damage by taking the following steps:
- Be aware of the types of storms that are likely to affect your area, and always listen to the weather forecast so you can stay informed of potentially dangerous weather patterns.
- Update your home inventory at least once a year in case a storm causes damage to your home or possessions.
- Inspect the outside of your home for any damage that could cause a leak. Even a small leak in your home’s roof, siding or foundation can cause severe damage and weaken the structural integrity of your home.
- Prepare a home disaster kit that includes a first-aid kit, flashlight, battery-powered radio and clean water. You should also create emergency shelter and evacuation plans with your family in the event that any of you are separated during a severe storm.
- Check your home’s windows, doors and gutters to ensure they can withstand heavy rainfall and high wind speeds.
- Contact Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions to make sure that your home insurance policy offers enough protection to cover storm damage, or to learn more about home storm protection.
Though you may think that your family is protected against household chemical dangers, accidents can still occur. In fact, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, an average of three children (ages 14 and younger) die each year due to unintentional poisoning and another 900 are hospitalized with serious injuries.
To ensure the safety of your loved ones, take extra precautions when storing and handling poisonous chemicals in your home or cottage. Use the following tips to protect your family:
- Place the local poison centre contact information next to your phone in case of an emergency. For added protection, program the number into your mobile device as well. The Ontario Poison Control Centre phone number is 1-800-268-9017.
- Store harmful products out of the kitchen and away from food and drinks.
- Read product labels when purchasing new items. If they contain the words caution, warning or danger, be extra cautious when storing and using them.
- Keep chemicals and products in their original packaging so usage and handling instructions remain available.
- Refrain from storing products that may release harmful fumes or catch fir inside your home. These items include paints, solvents, gasoline, fuels, and varnishes.
- Check the City of Ottawa’ guidelines for instructions on how to dispose of chemicals and other hazardous waste. Never pour chemicals down the drain unless instructed.
Keeping in mind the above tips, you’ll ensure that you and your loved ones are safe from potentially deadly household chemicals.
Homeowners throughout Canada face a variety of natural hazards, including earthquakes, floods and wildfires.
If you are unprepared for one of these disasters, you and your family could be left without food, electricity or even shelter.
To prepare your household for a disaster, consider the following tips:
- Know the risks. Depending on where you live, your home could be impacted by any number of unique hazards like landslides or hazardous material spills. Familiarize yourself with the risks that are most likely to occur near your home to guide your preparation.
- Create a phone list. Create a master list of family and emergency contacts. Ensure that every member of your family has a copy of this list and stores it in a safe and easy-to-access area.
- Pick a meeting place. If you get separated from your loved ones during a disaster, it’s important to have a meeting place set up. This could be a neighbour’s house, library or community centre.
- Stay informed. Once impacted by a disaster, you will want to know how to receive updates on the situation. You and your family should know how to get this information ahead of time. Contact your local government to learn the best ways to receive alerts.
- Know how to turn off utilities. If you suspect a leak, knowing how to turn off your home’s gas and electricity can protect your family from fires or explosions. Locate and label your electrical panel as well as your water and gas valves.
- Store emergency supplies. Above all, in the event of a disaster, you will need access to clean water. You will need at least 4 litres (1 gallon) of water per person, per day. In addition, emergency supplies like first-aid kits, whistles, flashlights and cellphones will be critical to have on hand. Keep all of these items in a safe area or create an easy grab-and-go bag for quick access.
Keeping up with seasonal repairs upkeep not only shows pride of ownership, but can reduce the risk of costly and preventable home expenses. Prepare your home for the summer with the following considerations.
- Check all window and door locks to make sure they are secure. Open and close them, and apply lubricant when they are hard to open.
- Inspect your roof and gutters, clean out gutter debris and check shingle integrity.
- Inspect your home’s foundation, sealing cracks, and leveling yard depressions with compacted soil.
- Check wooden structures, such as decks and steps, for rotting, loose wood, or exposed nails.
- Hire a qualified heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) contractor to tune up your air conditioning unit.
- Examine electrical outlets and cords for potential fire hazards, such as frayed wires.
- Examine your garage door to ensure that it is in proper working order.
- Declutter by reviewing the contents of your garage. Donate or dispose of items you no longer use or need.
Driveways and Walkways
- Inspect your pavement for cracks and holes, and remedy them. This can go a long way in preventing accident slips, trips, and falls.
These tips are brought to you by Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions.