Are you prepared for a home break-in?

While it may be difficult to imagine it happening to you, home break-ins are a common occurrence. In the past 6 months there were approximately 959 incidents of breaking and entering in Ottawa.

breaking and entering

If an intruder enters your home, your property and the well-being of your loved ones are at risk. In order to protect your home and family from intruders, consider doing the following:

  • Put an emergency plan in place and discuss it with everyone in your household
  • Never post on social media that you will be away and wait until you return home to post photos from vacations. When on vacation, arrange to have your home appear lived-in by having someone shoveling the driveway, collect the mail, setting lights on timers, etc.
  • Take any measure possible to let the intruder know someone is home and aware of his or her presence
  • Do not assume the intrude is unarmed. He or she may be concealing a knife or gun and could produce ti at a moment’s notice
  • If you have something immediately available you can use for defence, grab it, even if it is just a scare tactic.
  • Remain vigilant. Take note of the intruder’s physical characteristics and provide the most accurate description possible to the police if he or she gets away

In addition to the above, consider arming your home with a security system. A security system may seem expensive, but knowing your family and possessions are safe at all times may make it worth the cost.

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Your Home Away From Home

If you’re investing in a second home, Scrivens Insurance and Investment Solutions has gathered some insurance basics that will help you make the best buying decision when it comes to determining insurability and estimating your ongoing cost of ownership.

Coverage Options

At a minimum, your lender will require that you carry hazard insurance to protect your property against damage from theft, fire, flooding or windstorms. It is also a good idea to add liability insurance, which covers you and members of your household for accidental injuries to your visitors. Opting for property plus liability insurance adds up to a standard homeowners insurance package. For an extra layer of protection, a personal umbrella liability policy extends your liability coverage for properties named in the policy.

Dwelling Fire Insurance

Since most homeowner policies require occupancy as a condition of insurance, the fact that you visit infrequently may preclude you from obtaining full homeowners coverage. Dwelling fire insurance is an alternate coverage option used for insuring residential rental or non-owner occupancy property, including vacant property.

A dwelling fire policy continues to offer coverage for a home and other structures (detached sheds or garages, for example) for perils named in the policy. Named perils listed in a typical fire dwelling policy protect against damage caused by fire, collapse, lightning strike, wind, hail, explosion and smoke. For more coverage, consider adding personal property protection and liability insurance to a dwelling fire policy.

Renting Out Your Home to Others?

Whether your second property is an apartment unit or a family home, if you are renting the property, you will have little control over the physical damage that can occur in or on it. To mitigate your risks, tenant-occupied dwelling insurance will cover the costs incurred by damage, including fire, storms, burglary and vandalism. It does not cover your tenant’s personal property.

Renting your property furnished or unfurnished also has insurance coverage implications. If you are renting your property furnished, make sure to let us know. We can advise you on the best coverage options and whether you need to consider requiring longer-term tenants to carry additional renter’s insurance.

As with all homeowners insurance, it is important to be sure that there is enough coverage to protect all of your property values and assets when purchasing coverage.

property insurance

Protecting Your Home From Storms

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.

Earthquake Preparedness Tips

Earthquakes, one of Mother Nature’s most unsettling phenomena, are unpredictable and can strike without warning. That’s why it’s important for you and your family to learn how to prepare for an earthquake, and develop a plan to react quickly and safely if a disaster strikes.

Preparing for an Earthquake

  • Locate and learn how to use the shutoff valves for water, gas, and electricity in your home.
  • Prepare an emergency earthquake kit with warm clothing, non-perishable food items and bottled water to last you and your family for at least 72 hours.
  • Bold down and secure your water heater, refrigerator, furnace, and gas appliances to the wall studs.
  • Hold earthquake drills with your family members: Drop, cover, and hold on!

During an Earthquake

  • Remain inside of your home and seek shelter under a heavy table or desk; brace yourself inside a door-frame or inside wall.
  • Stay at least 2 metres away from windows and out of kitchens and garages, if possible.
  • Stay under the structure that is protecting you. If the shaking causes the table or desk to move, then you should move with it so you remain protected.
  • Do not panic, and anticipate what you should do next to remain safe.

Follow these guidelines to remain safe after the ground stops shaking:

  • Remain in your safe location for several minutes in case there are any aftershocks
  • Do not leave your home unless it is absolutely necessary to do so
  • Check your family members for injuries and administer first aid
  • Establish a temporary shelter area in your home away from areas that have severe damage