Personal Lines Perspectives: Winter Weather Damage, Winter Blues, and Insuring Older Vehicles

Weather Damage and Your Home Insurance Policy

Depending on the terms of your home insurance policy, some weather-related damages may not be covered. To ensure you have sufficient coverage, you must first understand what weather claims are typically covered under a standard home insurance policy.

Perils typically covered under your insurance policy include:

  • Lightning strikes—Lightning may result in severe smoke or fire damage, or cause power surges that can damage appliances or electronics in your home.
  • Hail, wind and fallen trees—All three can lead to a variety of damages to your home that are typically covered under a homeowners policy.
  • Frozen pipes—Frozen pipes and a small variety of other water-related damages may be covered under your insurance policy. The source of the water can determine your insurance coverage.

Perils often excluded from your insurance policy include:

  • Sewer backups and flooding—Certain water damage that may be due to negligence will typically not be covered under your policy.
  • Hurricanes, floods and earthquakes—Most natural disasters are not covered under a standard home insurance policy. However, you may be able to purchase separate policies if certain disasters are common in your area.

Insuring Older Vehicles

When insuring an older vehicle, you may be able to adjust your policy in ways that could save you money on your car insurance premium. Some options include:

  • Lowering your insurance limits—If your vehicle has a low value, you may be able to lower your insurance limits, which in turn reduces your insurance premium costs.
  • Increasing insurance deductibles—You may choose to increase your insurance deductibles to lower your premium costs. Although, older vehicles tend to undergo more repairs, so having a higher deductible may cause you to pay more out of pocket.

Other factors such as higher repair costs and outdated safety features may result in an increase to the cost of your insurance policy—talk to your broker to decide on the best options for you and your vehicle. Dropping certain coverages—You may decide to drop comprehensive and collision coverage from your policy if the value of your car is substantially less than the cost of coverage. However, doing so will leave you almost entirely unprotected if your car becomes damaged.

How to Beat the Winter Blues

As the cold weather continues, a lot of us will begin to experience some winter blues—otherwise known as seasonal depression. Symptoms of seasonal depression include sadness, lethargy and lacking motivation. Follow these six wellness tips to help you overcome the blues this winter:

  1. Get moving. Working out releases endorphins in your body that relieve stress and make you feel happy. Establishing a solid exercise regimen during the winter months is a tremendous way to combat depression.
  2. Practise meditation. Meditation can help relax your mind and body, which can increase happiness by decreasing feelings of stress. Meditation can also declutter your mind and increase concentration.
  3. Make changes to your diet. Avoid eating greasy, heavy foods that weigh you down and make you feel sluggish. Eat meals full of lean protein, fruits and vegetables to keep you feeling happy and energized.
  4. Stick to a sleep schedule. Sticking to a strict sleep schedule can ensure your brain and body are getting enough rest—getting at least seven hours of sleep can greatly enhance your mood and overall wellness.
  5. Have a good laugh. Laughter is believed to stimulate certain brain processes that can combat depressive symptoms. Watch a funny movie. Go see your favourite comedian. Get laughing!
  6. Take a vacation. Taking a break from your busy schedule during the winter months can greatly alleviate stress. Even a short weekend trip can leave you feeling recharged and ready to take on the weeks ahead.

Winterize Your Home

The winter weather can be harsh on your home. Freezing temperatures, harsh winds, snow and ice can all lead to excessive wear and tear on your property. Fortunately, there are several tips you can follow to better prepare your home for the season.

  • Inspect and test all heat sources to ensure they are in good working condition.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • When leaving for vacation, keep your home heated and have someone check on your house while you’re away.
  • Regularly run water through all plumbing fixtures.
  • Clear your sidewalk, stairs and any other walkways of snow and ice.
  • Remove accumulating snow from gas meters, vents and basement windows.
  • Trim any branches that are close to your house or electrical wires.
  • Insulate exposed pipes with sleeves or wrapping.