It’s Snowbird Season: Tips Before You Fly South
Birds aren’t the only ones heading south for the winter – it’s officially snowbird season for many Canadians. While the siren song of year-round golf and warm sunny days might be calling, there are a lot of things that need to be done before you hit the road.
The most important thing you can do is plan for someone to regularly check on your home. Most insurance companies require someone to check on your home every 48 hours when you’re away – otherwise you may not be covered if something happens.
Our team has compiled a snowbird checklist to review so that you can have peace of mind and enjoy your time away.
- Investing in an alarm system can help reduce your insurance premiums. Before you leave double check that it is working and activated.
- Discourage prowlers by installing motion-sensitive interior and exterior lights and set them up to turn on at regular intervals to make it seem like someone is home.
- Store valuables that you aren’t taking with you in a safety deposit box.
- Have your mail forwarded, cancel newspaper deliveries and have a friend check for any deliveries or flyers that are left at your front door.
- Arrange for your driveway and sidewalks to be cleared after snowstorms.
- Notify the police department that your home will be vacant and provide your contact information in case of an emergency.
- To avoid any potential water damage issues, drain your pipes and shut off your water.
- You can drain the pipes by opening the faucets and flushing your toilets to clear water from the tank and bowl.
- Remember to shut off and drain all outdoor faucets as well.
- If you choose to not shut off your water while you’re away make sure that your furnace is in good working order and set to at least 13 C to help prevent the pipes from freezing.
- Shut off the water to the washing machine and dishwasher to avoid potential leaks or broken hoses.
- Open the doors to all rooms throughout the house so that warm air can circulate and keep an even temperature.
- Depending on your homes heating system, turn off the heat source and water supply to your hot water heater.
- Double check the insulation around your home to ensure that freezing air and pests can’t get in.
- Inspect the roof and gutters for leaks, damage or draining issues.
- Shut off and unplug all your household appliances such as the oven, microwave and television.
- Suspend any unnecessary services such as cable and internet.
- Give your fridge, freezer and pantry a good clean out of all perishables. If possible, empty your fridge and freezer out completely and unplug them – remember to leave the doors open to prevent mildew.
- Check your fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and replace the batteries to confirm they’re working properly.
- Give your house a thorough cleaning and remove any food or plants that may attract pests.
- Clean and replace the furnace filters.
- Safely store and secure patio furniture and other outdoor items.
- If possible, set up a smart home system so that you can be alerted to any changes while away.
- Double check that all your documents, such as your passport, driver’s license, vehicle registration and credit cards, are up to date and not going to expire while you’re away.
- Make photocopies of anything important like your itinerary or passport and store them somewhere secure.
- Notify your bank that you’ll be away and let them know where you will be traveling.
- Order enough prescription medications that you will need for the duration of your trip.
- If you’re bringing a pet, make sure that you will have the documentation that they will need to travel.
Remember to notify your broker about your travel plans ensure that your home insurance is up to date so you will be covered in case anything happens. If you aren’t sure what your travel or home insurance policies cover, give us a call to discuss your insurance. We can review your existing coverage and advise of any gaps and how to keep your assets safe while you travel.