Five easy money-saving tips for homeowners from Allstate Canada

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Homeowners can help prevent expensive damage to their property

TORONTO, August 21, 2012 — Damage from water, wind and fire make up more than two-thirds (70.5 per cent) of claims made by homeowners, reports Allstate Insurance Company of Canada. And while most homeowners don’t pretend to be an expert home renovator like TV star Mike Holmes, there are many small but effective repairs they can make to help reduce or even prevent claims caused by these three factors.

Percentage of homeowners claims from Allstate Canada customers

  • Water — 37.9%
  • Wind — 27.4%
  • Fire — 5.2%

“A well-maintained home is one of the best ways to save yourself from unnecessary stress, inconvenience and increased costs in the long term, and there are lots of small ways homeowners can be proactive in fixing up their property,” says Karen Benner of Allstate Canada. “For example, if a toilet is running non-stop, it may just need an adjustment to the water-intake assembly. It’s a quick and easy fix that will not only cut back on water bills, but it could help prevent the tank from overflowing and causing real damage.”

Allstate Canada’s top five easy fixes to keep homes in shape

1. Disconnect the house’s downspout from the sewer system. To do this, homeowners should cut the downspout about 23 cm from the sewer connection, cap the sewer standpipe and connect a spout extension that will run water away from the house and foundation. This fix will help reduce the amount of storm water sent through to the sewers. Less storm water in the system will help prevent wastewater from backing up through sewer pipes where it can escape through floor drains or any other low lying plumbing fixtures in the basement.

2. Insulate pipes likely to be exposed to cold. Pipes in the attic or crawlspaces could freeze and burst if left without insulation. Foil or fibreglass insulation can be used to wrap the pipe, or homeowners can insulate it using a tubular-sleeve. Remember to wrap the entire pipe when going around corners and bends and then seal with duct tape.

3. Store firewood properly. To minimize the risk of fire, all firewood and other sources of fuel should be kept at least 10 metres away from the walls of your home and not piled directly on the ground. Simple wood storage racks can be made or bought and covered with a tarp to keep the wood dry when stored outdoors. As well, if homeowners live near a woodlot, they should make sure their lawn is healthy. Green grass will act as a natural firebreak between the home and possible forest fires.

4. Trim trees close to the roof and windows. Branches that touch the roof or window of a house can cause damage during heavy winds. Even if homeowners are wary of using a motor-powered trimmer, a manual tree trimmer can cut back branches that are too close to the home and save costly roof repairs.

5. Buy a kitchen fire extinguisher. While this may not be a home repair, it is an inexpensive way to possibly prevent thousands of dollars worth of damage. Allstate Canada data points to grease fires as the number one cause of fires in the home. Homeowners can get a fire extinguisher and keep a metal lid and potholder nearby when cooking to smother a fire if flames get out of hand. Do not ever try to douse a grease fire with water. Buying a fire extinguisher and teaching everyone in the house about fire safety is money and time very well spent.

“Your insurance agent can often provide you with other ideas for small home repairs that will help you protect your home against significant damage. Some providers will even offer discounts on your insurance premium if you make certain changes,” says Benner.

Newer home monitoring systems can help prevent damage to your home from fire, smoke or water escape. Early detection sensors placed throughout the home, are capable of alerting homeowners to any trouble remotely via a computer or smartphone. These devices can prevent significant damage to your home by allowing homeowners to act quickly when problems arise.

Allstate Canada and Rogers Smart Home Monitoring recently announced a partnership where Allstate customers in some areas who sign up for the monitoring service will receive a discount on their home insurance.

More tips on how to prevent expensive property damage can be found at goodhandsadvice.ca.

About Allstate Insurance Company of Canada

Allstate Insurance Company of Canada is one of Canada’s leading producers and distributors of home and auto insurance products. “The Good Hands Network�” enables consumers to contact Allstate Canada through one of 91 community-based Agencies, directly online at www.allstate.ca and through the Customer Contact Centre at 1-800-Allstate. Allstate Canada is committed to making a positive difference in the communities in which it operates. This year, Allstate Canada celebrates 25 years of partnership with MADD Canada in the effort to protect us all from impaired driving. In 2010, Allstate Canada, in partnership with the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA), created the Allstate All-Canadians program, a mentorship program designed to create future community leaders through the sport of hockey. Learn more about this program at www.allcanadians.com. To learn more about Allstate Canada, visit www.allstate.ca.