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Winters in Alberta can be unpredictable, so it’s important that your home and cottage is ready for any weather. Extreme cold, heavy snow, and high winds can lead to physical property damage. Low temperatures can freeze water filled pipes, including process and sprinkler systems. Heavy snow or ice accumulation on roofs, outdoor equipment, or power lines have the potential to collapse under pressure. Blocked roof drainage systems and gutters can back up water, which can subsequently seep inside. On a frigid day, a heating system failure will become a huge inconvenience and temporary heaters can also become fire hazards.

In addition to regular winter conditions, winter storms can also damage your property. Storms can sometimes cause power outages, flooding, and blocked roads and highways. Geographic areas that normally do not experience extreme weather conditions now face weather-related hazards more often. As winter approaches, it is important to evaluate the soundness of your home and take any necessary measures to ensure it is winterized and protected.

Winterizing Your Home

In order to winterize your home or cottage, there are a number of steps you should take. These steps will help you to protect your investment from damage and reduce the likelihood of needing to file an insurance claim.

  • Inspect the roof for obvious structural issues or maintenance, including damaged shingles.
  • Ensure all roof drains, pipes and gutters are free of debris and check for proper water drainage. If water can flow freely through your gutters, it will help to prevent the formation of icicles and ice dams.
  • Evaluate the roof’s snow load capacity. Be prepared to remove snow from the roof at least once 40 cm or 16 of snow in has accumulated. Consider hiring a snow removal service.
  • Be prepared to remove snow from the doorway, driveway, gates, outdoor valves, fire hydrant, road in, etc. Hire a reputable snow removal service if needed.
  • Inspect the windows and doors for cracks, leaks, gaps and drafts. Ensure that the house is “weather tight” by closing all the windows, doors, vents, etc. and seal any openings in exterior walls, ceilings, roofs, etc. Make sure the caulking and weather stripping around the windows and doors are in good condition.
  • Inspect all lines subject to freezing for proper insulation (such as water, fuel, steam, tanks, etc.). Insulate water pipes, especially in areas where the basement is not heated. Check the said systems for cracking, warping, leakage, and ensure that all plumbing fixtures are still working.
  • Shut off and drain out any outdoor plumbing by turning off the inside control valve and disconnect anything attached to the faucet before draining it.
  • Inspect all heating systems to ensure they are working properly. Install a programmable thermostat for energy efficiency. Change the filters in the central air and heating system and have the furnace serviced.
  • Protect your home by removing tree limbs or large trees that could fall due to a heavy snow or ice load.
  • Remove any fire hazards, such as oil rags and stacked newspapers and ensure you have working smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher.
  • Consider investing in homeowners insurance for your Edmonton property to protect yourself should any unexpected damage occur over the cold winter months.

Additional Steps for Winterizing a Home or Seasonal Cottage:

  • If the home/cottage is insulated and heated, lower the thermostat to maintain an indoor temperature above freezing of at least 4°C.
  • If you have a wood stove, clean it out completely and close the damper vent. Inspect the chimney for rust, tar build-up and loose strapping where it attaches outside.
  • Shut off the plumbing at the main valve and drain all the plumbing, water laden equipment and piping. Drain all sources of standing water, including the toilets and all inside and outdoor faucets. Water in drain traps can be eliminated or diluted by pouring plumbing approved antifreeze into them, in accordance with the directions.
  • Prepare the kitchen by removing all food from the fridge and freezer, and propping the doors open to prevent mold and mildew. If you store any dry foods (e.g., seeds and grains), keep them in tin or aluminum containers with tight lids, to guard against insects and rodents. Remove all items that could freeze, such as bottled liquids, like mineral water, soda, and beer, as their containers may burst when their contents freeze.
  • Shut off all breakers at the electrical panel. If you leave the electricity on, disconnect all appliances, including fridge, stove, washer, dryer, and TVs.

Prepare with Homeowners Insurance in Edmonton

It is important to prepare your home for the harsh winter to prevent damages and costs that may otherwise result. It’s also important to consider whether your insurance coverage is adequate for the winter. If you are underinsured, you could find yourself having to pay for costly repairs out of pocket.

Invest in the right type of homeowners insurance in Edmonton for your specific circumstances. At MBS Insurance Brokers Ltd, we have access to a wide range of companies that offer special packages and pricing options for different types of homes, including seasonal homes and cottages.

Contact us today online or at 780-436-7880.

How an Insurance Broker Saves You Time and Money

Do you know the benefits of an insurance broker?

Suppose you’re looking for the best insurance coverage at the best rates in Edmonton. In that case, you’ll first want to understand the benefits of an insurance broker and how they can help protect you in all sorts of different situations – whether it be saving you money, time or giving you simple peace of mind.

What Are the Benefits of an Insurance Broker?

Here are some of the many benefits of an insurance broker.


1. Saves Time

An insurance broker does all the work for you, so you don’t have to spend your valuable time shopping around for insurance. Instead, you simply provide your broker with information about your needs, and they shop the markets on your behalf.


2. Saves Money

Insurance brokers work with many different partners to find the best deals on the insurance that works for you. They take all your needs into account and make recommendations that are in your best interest. They have relationships with many insurance partners and can negotiate competitive rates and discounts, saving you money in the long run.

3. Expert Knowledge and Advice

An insurance broker provides you with the support and expertise you need to find coverage that suits your needs. They work with various products and services to find the coverage that best suits you. In addition, they can draw from an extensive knowledge base and experience to advise you on the best options. 

Insurance Brokers provide expert and unbiased advice. A wealth of knowledge about coverage and market rates combined with expert risk assessment ensures your possessions and business are adequately protected. Whether you are looking into auto insurance rates, tenant insurance, or home insurance rates, your insurance broker can help you every step of the way.

You can utilize their expertise to quickly identify your options and rely on their unbiased advice to help you make the best-informed decision for your situation.


4. Working For Your Best Interests

Since insurance brokers do not work with one particular company, they have nothing to gain from recommending a specific product. The insurance company also pays them a standard commission. Thus, there is no financial incentive to choose one insurer over another.

Insurance brokers have your best interests in mind. You can count on them to find you the best rate possible, which can give you the peace of mind you need. You can rest assured knowing that if you ever need to file a claim, one of our brokers will be there by your side to guide you every step of the way. They act as an advisor on insurance-related matters. They will shop the market for the best coverage and rates for you. Since fulfilling your needs is their only priority, they will provide independent, unbiased advice on the right coverage for your situation.

5. Privileged access and rates

Insurance Brokers have access to a wide selection of the best insurance companies in the country. These insurance companies are only accessible by Insurance Brokers. They do not deal with the public directly or with Direct Writers. Brokers enjoy long-standing relationships with these insurance companies. Still, they do not have an affiliation with any specific insurer, enabling brokers to provide you with a broader range of options at competitive rates.


6. Transparency

Insurance brokers must give full disclosure about their compensation and its effect on your insurance premium.  They are also required to declare any financial links with specific companies that may be a conflict of interest, enabling you to make the best-informed decision.


7. Risk and Advocacy Experience

Extensive experience dealing with different clients and claim situations equips insurance brokers with a broader perspective on how to reduce your risk. Also, in the event of a claim, you can count on your broker to act as your advocate with the insurance company and handle your claim fairly and promptly.

Speak to MBS Insurance in Edmonton about your Coverage

Reach out to MBS Insurance today to determine your home, auto, and commercial coverage options. Over the past 45 years, our experienced team of insurance brokers in Edmonton has earned the trust and loyalty of our clients by delivering superior products and services. We understand your needs and provide you with the best protection and rates.

There are many benefits of an insurance broker. We can help you understand the intricacies of your insurance plan while saving you money at the same time. We are a trusted insurance provider in Edmonton and provide personal and commercial insurance policies to people living in Alberta. We offer the best rates on recreational, auto, property, commercial, and group insurance policies. 

Contact us online for a free quote or by phone at 780-436-7880.

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This article was originally published on October 7, 2016, and updated for 2021.