Greg discusses how to prepare your home before heading south for the winter in this episode of Ask The Expert. 800 CHAB radio presents Ask the Expert with Greg Marcyniuk of Heritage Insurance located in Moose Jaw.
Here's a full transcript of the episode.
Rob Carnie: At Heritage Insurance, today talking with Greg Marcyniuk, our insurance expert. And Greg it's that time of year. We're talking about snowbirds today — and not the Canadian Forces aerobatic team, but people who love to get away for the winter. And there are some T's to cross and some I's to dot before you head South for five or six months.
Greg Marcyniuk: That's correct Rob and these are tips that we recommend that you do to your house when you do head down South for any period of time, even if it's only for a month or two.
So first of all, you want to shut off your main water valve, drain your pipes. And that way, if the temperature does ever drop and if your furnace quits, your pipes could freeze — you're going to be okay with that. So, doing that and then, as well as flushing your toilets to make sure that the tanks are drained. And even if you've got a little bit of left over anti-freeze, throw them into your P-traps throughout. It just would make things that much easier.
The other thing is, make sure you ask someone to watch your home while you're away. Again, just so they can make sure either you hire someone to shovel the walk or you get it taken care of. And just to make sure that they're checking the house and that, and again, make sure that you've got the contact information exchanged. If you do have a security company, make sure that you update that as far as a security monitoring system. Make sure you let them know that you're going to be gone and who is the contact for them.
And again, I can't say enough about posting updates on your social media while you're away. Just don't do that. That is just an open book for burglars to go in and take the place for pickings. So again, please don't do that.
Rob: I saw that just the other day and it was somebody on vacation and it was about every four or five hours they were posting a photo.
Greg: Well, some people just can't resist. But again, wait until you get back and then put it on Facebook.
Again, I really think one of the best investments is a timer. So put your lights on a timer, so that it looks like somebody is there and occupying your home. Another thing that you should do is unplug your electronics and appliances, in case there is a power surge. And the other thing is, then they aren't drawing power — so it's going to save you money on your power. Clean out your fridge and your cabinets so that you avoid any science experiments for when you get back. And toss or donate any food that you're not thinking you're going to be using.
Another big thing is, again I just can't stop talking about this enough,is taking pictures or making a list of your valuables and with technology today doesn't take you long to do. Probably, it would take an hour to go through your whole house with your iPhone. Take a video of it, and then you've got it. And then you have no hassles.
Again, forward your mail. Go to Canada Post, get that forwarded. So it's going down South to where you are, and so it's not piling out. Cancel or defer your newspapers and magazine subscriptions so that they're heading down South, or just all-in-all cancel them outright.
And the other thing that you definitely want to do is contact your insurance broker to see how often your home has to be checked after it's been vacant for so many days. Different insurance policies, different insurance companies will provide — some will say you only have to check it every 48 hours, a lot every 24 hours. So you want to make sure that you have that totally taken care of.
The other biggest thing is, if there is a monitoring system in place for heat water and motion then you won't have to worry as much with most policies. So that's another big advantage of having a home secure system in there.
Rob: Even if you've been going South for years and you think you've got it all figured out, it's a good checklist to go through. You might forget one or two things. And you've got that checklist available for us online.
Greg: That's correct, nohassleinsurance.ca or come on down and see any of us here at the corner of First and Fairford.
(Video transcription by Speechpad)