Tag: Home Insurance

Tips to Prepare Your Home for Extreme Weather

From high winds and bone-chilling temperatures to freezing rain and heavy snowfalls, Canadian winters can be unforgiving. As we descend further into the cold season, homeowners face the challenge of protecting their homes from the realities of extreme weather to prevent costly damages and ensure their personal safety.

Let’s go over essential tips to help you prepare your home for extreme weather and discuss the vital role of having a good home insurance policy so you can weather any storm.

Insulate Your Home

One of the key elements in preparing your home for winter is ensuring proper insulation. In Canada, where temperatures can plummet well below freezing, a well-insulated home is crucial for retaining heat and reducing energy bills.

Check your doors, windows, and walls for any gaps or drafts, and invest in quality insulation materials like weather stripping or caulking to keep the cold out. It’s also wise to insulate your attic and basement to prevent the heat from escaping there as well.

Prepare Your Plumbing

Frozen pipes are a common winter woe that can lead to expensive repairs. You should insulate exposed pipes, especially in unheated areas like basements and crawl spaces. Consider using pipe insulation or heating tape to prevent freezing.

In extremely cold weather, let faucets drip to keep water flowing and reduce the risk of freezing. Additionally, if you plan on being away for an extended period during the winter, keep your thermostat set to a minimum temperature to prevent freezing.

Winter-Proof Your Roof

The weight of heavy snow accumulation can strain your roof’s structure. Ensure your roof is in good condition, with no missing shingles or leaks. Clear gutters of debris to prevent ice dams, and trim overhanging branches that could break under the weight of snow and cause damage.

Invest in a Reliable Heating System

Your heating system will be working overtime during the winter months. The Insurance Bureau of Canada emphasizes the importance of having your furnace, wood stove, and any other heating sources inspected, maintained, and serviced to ensure they are in good working condition. During the heating season, clean or replace furnace air filters each month. Consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient system to save on heating costs in the long run.

Stock Up on Emergency Supplies

Canadian winters can bring unexpected power outages, so it’s wise to be prepared. Stock up on essential supplies such as bottled water, non-perishable food items, candles, blankets, and a first aid kit. Keep a backup power source like a generator for emergencies.

Trim Trees and Branches

Heavy snow and ice can weigh down tree branches, leading to breakage and potential damage to your property. Trim back overhanging branches to reduce the risk of falling onto your roof or power lines during a winter storm.

The Importance of Winter-Ready Home Insurance

Unfortunately, accidents and unforeseen events can still occur, no matter how well-prepared you are. This is where home insurance becomes a crucial shield for homeowners. Review your policy to ensure it covers potential winter-related damages such as burst pipes, roof collapses, and other weather-related incidents. If necessary, consider upgrading your coverage to provide comprehensive protection.

  1. Protection Against Weather-Related Damages:

    A comprehensive home insurance policy protects against some weather-related damages, ensuring that the financial burden of repairs doesn’t fall solely on the homeowner. Home insurance doesn’t just cover the structure of your home but also extends protection to your personal belongings. If certain winter-related disasters damage your possessions, home insurance can help replace or repair items, offering peace of mind during the winter season.

  1. Liability Protection:

    Winter conditions can increase the risk of accidents on your property. If a visitor slips on an icy sidewalk or if falling snow damages a neighbour’s property, liability coverage in your home insurance policy can provide protection. This coverage is crucial for covering medical expenses or legal fees that may arise from such incidents.

  1. Temporary Living Expenses:

    In the unfortunate event that your home becomes uninhabitable due to winter-related damage, home insurance can cover temporary living expenses. This ensures that you and your family have a place to stay while repairs are being made.

  1. Customized Coverage:

    Not all insurance policies are created equal. Work with an insurance broker to customize your coverage based on the specific risks associated with your location and your home’s unique features. This may include additional coverage for winter-specific risks, giving you a tailored and robust insurance plan.

Winterizing your home is a proactive and necessary step to prepare for the season’s challenges. However, even with the best preparations, unforeseen events can occur, so the importance of a winter-ready home insurance policy becomes evident. By combining a well-prepared home with comprehensive insurance coverage, you can face the winter months with confidence, knowing that your home and your investment are protected against the unpredictable nature of the season.

Visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Winter Seasonal Safety page to learn more about winterizing your home and protecting your property.

Have additional questions or need a home insurance quote? Contact us today at 1-800-268-3311 or ebrokers@dbibrokers.ca. You can also visit our Home Insurance page for details.

House damaged by winter blizzard

Smoke Alarm Safety Tips: Fire Prevention Week

smoke alarm on ceiling

National Fire Prevention Week (October 8th – 14th) is an annual event to remind us of the importance of fire safety in our homes. To commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Fire Prevention Week was established in 1922. The goal was to raise awareness about fire safety and to educate people on preventing fires and protecting their homes and families.

Today, roughly 3 out of 5 fire deaths happen in homes without a smoke alarm or a working one (National Fire Protection Association). Let’s use this week as an opportunity to reevaluate your fire safety measures and ensure that your smoke alarms are in proper working order. Here are some tips and tricks to keep you covered.


Smoke Alarms: Your First Line of Defense

A working smoke alarm is one of the most critical components of fire safety. Smoke alarms are designed to detect smoke and alert you and your family to the presence of a fire, providing precious seconds to escape to safety. However, simply installing one is not enough, as regular maintenance is required and testing to ensure they function correctly.


Testing Your Smoke Alarms

Testing your smoke alarms is a straightforward yet often overlooked task. This should be done at least once a month. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the test button on your smoke alarm.
  2. Press and hold the test button until you hear a loud, piercing sound. This sound is the alarm sound.
  3. If the alarm sounds, it is working correctly. If it doesn’t, replace the batteries and test it again. If it still doesn’t work, replace the entire smoke alarm.


Changing the Batteries

Smoke alarms are typically powered by batteries or hardwired into your home’s electrical system with a battery backup. Changing the batteries at least once a year is essential, or when you hear the low battery warning beep. An easy way to remember is to change the batteries when you set your clocks forward or backward for daylight saving time.


Maintaining Smoke Alarms

In addition to testing and changing the batteries, you should also perform regular maintenance on your smoke alarms, including:

  1. Cleaning: Dust and debris can accumulate inside the alarm, affecting the performance. Vacuum the outside of it and use a soft brush attachment to remove any particles inside.
  2. Replacement: Smoke alarms have a limited lifespan, typically around 10 years. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations and replace your alarms when they expire.
  3. Location: Ensure that you have smoke alarms installed in key areas of your home, such as bedrooms, hallways, and near the kitchen. They should be placed on the ceiling or high on the wall, away from vents and windows.


Creating a Fire Escape Plan

While these alarms are essential, they are only part of the equation. A comprehensive fire safety plan should also include a well-thought-out escape plan. Here’s how to create one:

  1. Draw a floor plan: Create a simple home floor plan, marking all possible exits from each room.
  2. Designate meeting points: Choose a safe meeting place outside your home, such as a tree or a neighbour’s house, where your family can gather in case of a fire.
  3. Practice your plan: Regularly conduct fire drills with your family to ensure everyone knows what to do in an emergency.


National Fire Prevention Week is a chance to review your smoke alarm safety and overall fire prevention in your home. Regular testing, maintenance, and a well-practiced fire escape plan can make all the difference in keeping your family safe in the event of a fire. Remember, fire safety is not a one-time effort but an ongoing commitment to protecting what matters most – your loved ones and your home. Your vigilance could save lives.

For more fire safety tips and toolkits, please visit the National Fire Protection Association’s official Fire Prevention Week website.

Safeguard your home even further with comprehensive home insurance coverage by visiting our Home Insurance page for details. Our team is here to answer all your questions at 1-800-268-3311 or ebrokers@dbibrokers.ca.


smoke alarm on ceiling

A Guide to Water Damage: Overland vs. Sewer Backup Coverage

water flooding a kitchen showing overland water damage

Your home is your place of comfort and security. However, unforeseen events like water damage can disrupt this tranquility and result in significant financial setbacks. In fact, according to the Canadian Underwriter, “48% of all interior property damage is caused by water (more than fire and burglary)” in Canada.

So, what water coverage can you add to your home insurance? Two coverages are available for water damage insurance. “Overland water” and “sewer backup”, and these are designed to protect homeowners from water-related incidents. Understanding their differences is essential to ensure comprehensive protection for your home and peace of mind.


Overland Water Coverage:

Overland water coverage, often referred to as “surface water” coverage, relates to damage caused by water that enters one’s property from natural sources. This coverage is particularly important in areas prone to flooding or where water can accumulate rapidly due to natural events.

  • Source of Water: Overland water coverage applies to damage caused by water that enters your property from outside. I.e. rainfall, melting snow, or overflowing bodies of water like rivers and lakes can cause flooding or pooling around your home.
  • Coverage Scope: This typically includes damage to your property’s structure, personal belongings, and additional living expenses. If your home becomes uninhabitable due to overland water damage, living expenses are provided.
  • Examples: If heavy rains lead to water entering your basement or flooding your ground floor, overland water coverage is available. This would help cover the costs of repairs, restoration, and replacing damaged items.
  • Preventive Measures: Preventive measures to reduce the risk of overland damage is to direct water away from your home. This can include proper landscaping and grading.


Sewer Backup Coverage:

Sewer backup coverage is to protect against damage caused by backup or overflow of your property’s sewer or drainage system. A sewer backup can lead to unsanitary conditions and extensive property damage.

  • Source of Water: Sewer backup coverage addresses damage often caused by blockages, clogs, or system failures. Additionally, this damage can occur when sewage or water flows back into your home through drains, toilets, or other plumbing fixtures.
  • Coverage Scope: This coverage typically includes damage to your property’s structure, personal belongings, and cleanup costs associated with the removal of sewage and contaminated water.
  • Examples: If a blocked sewer line causes sewage to back up into your basement, sewer backup coverage would help cover the costs of cleaning, sanitizing, and repairing the damage.
  • Preventive Measures: Preventive measures for sewer backup may involve regular maintenance of your plumbing system. You should also avoid flushing inappropriate items down the toilet.


Why Water Damage Coverage Matters

  • Financial Security: Water-related incidents can lead to substantial expenses, from repairing damaged structures to replacing valuable belongings. Water damage insurance ensures you’re financially protected. Don’t shoulder the full financial burden.
  • Swift Recovery: With the right insurance coverage, you can act promptly to address the damage, minimizing its impact on your daily life. You can quickly restore your home to its original condition, preventing prolonged disruptions.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing you have insurance coverage in place gives you peace of mind. You can rest assured that if  damage occurs, you have a safety net to help you navigate the aftermath.
  • Customizable Options: Coverage can often be tailored to suit your specific needs and concerns. To ensure comprehensive protection, homeowners in areas prone to water-related risks may consider having both overland water and sewer backup coverage as part of their insurance policy.


As a beginner, grasping the fundamentals of water damage insurance and the various coverage options empowers you to make informed decisions to safeguard your home and assets. For more information on how you can prevent water issues, visit the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), Water Damage and Flood Protection, and visit our home insurance page to see how you can save on your home insurance coverage

Remember, water-related incidences can occur anywhere. Being prepared is the best way to secure your home and maintain peace of mind. Contact us today at 1-800-268-3311 or ebrokers@dbibrokers.ca to ensure you have the necessary coverage to weather any storm!


water flooding a kitchen showing overland water damage

Are You Doing a Home Renovation? Talk to Your Broker

Home renovation project

Did you do a home reno during the pandemic or are thinking of doing one now? It seems Canadians have been re-evaluating their homes as renovations are up across Canada. Whether you’re doing a renovation to increase your home value or to your Pinterest fantasy, did you inform your insurance broker?

When do I need to talk to my insurance broker?

Last year, Canadian homeowners spent on average $13,000 on home renovations, an increase of $4,700 from the previous year. But did you know that your typical home insurance policy states any renovation exceeding $5,000, needs to be notified to your broker to maintain coverage provisions? Don’t skip this step as it can be a costly mistake in the future. Your broker can guide you to ensure you’re protected during and after your renovation.

What do I need to tell my broker?

From upgrading to a finished basement, home office, or outdoor space, your broker will inform you if additional coverage is needed. Coverage may be needed in case of bodily injury or accident, and if the renovations will leave you underinsured. You also need to inform your broker because if a claim is made during the renovation, it may not be covered if you failed to notify. Protect your investment and make sure to tell your broker:

  • What you plan to do, are doing or did to your property
  • An inventory of new items and areas (such as appliances, furniture, art, custom kitchen, bathroom updates, new plumbing, heating, and cooling, etc.) to help assist in the settlement of a loss or claim
  • Who your licensed contractor is and if they’re insured. You should also find out who their insurer is, their coverage limits, and policy terms (including any trades and sub-trades that are being used)
  • Inform your broker if any building permits were required

Can a home renovation lower my insurance costs?

Yes! Not all renovations are made equal, and your reno may actually decrease your insurance costs. Below is a list of home renovations that can lower your home insurance premium:

  • Installing a new roof, or new heating and cooling systems
  • Updating old and outdated plumbing and wiring
  • Installing an alarm/ security system or other loss mitigation items

A lot can happen, and it only benefits you to talk to your broker before and after your home renovation. Talk to a dbi broker today to have all your home renovation questions answered.


4 Tips to Prevent Water Damage

It doesn’t matter if it’s a mild winter day, a spring thaw, or a sewer back up issue, water can find ways to places we don’t want it to be. Much of the time we don’t even think about the ways water damage can affect our homes until it’s too late. And that usually leads to frustrating fixes, and costly cleanups.

Following these simple water damage prevention tips could save you from the headache, and some expensive scenarios!

  1. We all know that water flows down into the ground. So, if your foundation has cracks, these could be possible inlets for water. Seal cracks in the foundation walls and floor.

  1. Part of your seasonal house maintenance should be making sure all water ways are clear. Clean eavestroughs, connecting downspouts, and sewer grates to ensure water can flow without obstruction.

  1. If water issues occur regularly in your house, consider installing a sump pump with a battery backup. A sump pump will move water out of flooded low points, and the battery backup will kick in during power outages.  You may even qualify for a discount if a sump pump and battery back up is installed.

  1. Have you ever poured grease down the kitchen sink? Or put paper towel or kitty litter into a toilet? These are habits to stop immediately if you’re wanting to avoid a sewer back up situation. Make sure your household disposes of waste properly!

Even taking these steps doesn’t ensure that you won’t be the victim of water damage, but it is a good start.

Your property insurance policy should also be set up to protect you against water damage. If you’re unsure if you’re covered, look for words like sewer back up, and overland water. If you can’t find those words, or if you’re still not sure what you’re covered for, get in touch with us and we’ll lend our expertise.

Stay Dry Friends!

Meet dbi Broker Maria Ford

We want to give you a look at some of the people working for you on your insurance. The difference of working with dbi is the experience and customer service of our brokers. Maria is one of our fine brokers who even after one conversation you feel she will take care of you and do her absolute best.

Maria Ford, Insurance Broker

With over 40 years of insurance experience, Maria is an exceptional insurance broker and member of the dbi Brokers Ltd. team. She is honest and hardworking, “I sincerely care about people and work very hard to make things right for my clients”

dbi Broker: Maria Ford 

Her promise to her insurance clients is clear “I will always provide them with the best service and price possible”.  To say the least, if Maria is your broker you are in good hands. She takes the time to get to know and understand her clients. When she isn’t working hard for her clients you can find her reading, swimming and listening to music.


“Maria has always responded immediately to any and all of our questions and concerns regarding all insurance matters. She has been honest and has offered us many options with our coverage for home and auto, with a full explanation of the benefits vs.cost. We have dealt with her for many years and will continue to do so. The strength of a good company comes down to the quality of the people who work there. She represents the best of the best.”


At dbi we provide Auto, Home, Business, Farm and Life Insurance for clients across Southwestern Ontario. We strive to provide insurance that works for YOU. Call us today to talk with Maria who works to save your time, money and provide peace of mind.