A Rogers Guide to Festive Risk Management

December 16th, 2014

Freezing rain, ice pellets and wet snow: welcome to another Canadian winter! Festive or not, our climate presents unique challenges…not just for us, but for our homes and vehicles as well.

Reduce stress and help to avoid winter disasters with a few proactive ideas:

Homes

  • Avoid freezing damage! This is a big one, so check out Samantha’s thorough advice over here: http://goo.gl/6dL6y4
  • Keep water where it belongs: outside! Ensure snow does not accumulate on your roof or near your foundation, where it could form ice dams and cause melting water to seep inside.
  • Extra light and heat may get you through the winter, but keep your circuits cold! Protect your electrical system from overloading and fires by avoiding the use of extension cords and multi-plugs. Disconnect decorative fixtures if they’re going to sit unattended, and consider adding timers to items which might be forgotten.
  • Be smart with your watts – it’s easier than you think. If an appliance is capable of warming up the room, it’s using a great deal of power and should probably be the only thing running on that circuit. Heavy-draw items like space heaters and electric fireplaces should never “buddy up” with other electrical appliances.
  • Lower power equals lower risk: old-school Xmas lights consume up to 8 times more energy than new LED lights, generate far more heat and are significantly less durable. Dropping your incandescent Xmas lights in favour of LEDs can reduce your power consumption, not to mention the risk of accidental damage and fires.
  • Always use the correct lights: “indoor” sets are not designed to resist the elements and can be damaged by outdoor use, leading to failures and fires. Always use “outdoor” light sets for applications outside of your home.
  • Many jurisdictions hold you responsible for ice and snow removal on any sidewalk adjacent to your property, including Calgary . Keep your family, friends (and possibly Santa) on their feet and out of the hospital: clear snow and ice from driveways and walkways and use salt or gravel to maintain traction.
  • Properly maintain and clean fireplaces – wood burning and gas – prior to seasonal use . Use fireplaces and candles with caution and always ensure flames are extinguished before leaving the room.

Vehicles

  • Winter tires work: braking improves up to 25%, collision avoidance improves up to 38%, serious accidents reduce by 15% and fatalities reduce by 5% or more . Stay in control and out of danger by choosing appropriate winter tires for your vehicle.
  • Keep your tank at least half full: the risk of condensation and gas line freezing is reduced if less airborne moisture can enter the tank. This also provides a reserve of fuel in the event of heavy traffic delays or stranding.
  • Remove snow and ice from your vehicle before hitting the road: this improves your visibility, enabling you to better see and respond to hazards, while extending the life of your wiper blades by keeping them from running over rough ice.
  • Keep cold-weather supplies in your vehicle in case of an accident, breakdown or stranding: warm clothing, blankets, nonperishable foods and an emergency kit can help to minimize your danger and discomfort while waiting for rescue.
  • Mechanical breakdown, including stranding, is not typically covered under an auto insurance policy. Consider protection for this risk by purchasing roadside assistance. Your current auto insurer may even have a solution available – call your broker first.

Nobody knows how to handle winter quite like Canadians, but with these tips and a dose of common sense, we can take on the season in safety and good spirits. For advice on your insurance protection, contact your broker or one of our experts at Rogers Insurance.

Blog Author: Stefan Tirschler | Account Executive | Rogers Signature Service

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