kelowna valley insurance - protect your home against burglary outdoor protection

Protect Your Home From Burglary Part 1: Prepare Your Outdoors

The first priority, when it comes to home crime prevention and burglary, is to eliminate any vulnerabilities thereby removing the potential for harm.

Not surprisingly, most people are most concerned about their home security at night. But, the evidence reveals that, in fact, most burglaries occur during daytime hours when we’re all at school, work, or simply out running errands.

You can’t be too careful, and regardless the time of day, there are a variety of ways to ensure your home remains secure, beginning with the outside of your home. Make it as difficult and inhospitable as possible around the perimeter of your home for any potential thieves to gain access.

First things first: explore the exterior of your home and evaluate for potential weaknesses. As you survey the property around your home, try to review it as best you can through the eyes of a possible intruder. If windows appear vulnerable (easily pried open), for instance, that’s an opportunity for access.

As you review for weak spots, do make sure to note any valuables visible through windows – computers, artwork, antiques – that could be of interest to a burglar. Don’t undo your entire decor, but make changes and adjustments where you’re able.

If you aren’t confident in your ability to assess, you can contact your local police department for a courtesy home analysis to help you recognize weaknesses.

Keep expensive items (cars, bikes) out of plain sight. Most crimes are those of opportunity, so the fewer you offer, the better. If it has wheels, it can be easy to take. Keep your bicycle indoors or chained in a secure, out-of-the-way location. If you only have street or outdoor parking at your home, keep your car doors locked and try to park in an area that is well-lit.

Keep your car secure. If you are limited to street or other outdoor parking, try to keep your car in a well-lit area and be sure to keep any valuables with you when you leave it, including satellite radio and GPS devices. Don’t leave anything in plain sight, keep the windows up and the doors locked when parked. Beware where you keep a spare key – nowhere obvious such as in the visor or glove compartment. An unlocked car is one of the easiest targets and break-ins occur in even the safest of neighbourhoods. Never leave a spare key in the visor or anywhere else inside, even if the car is locked.

Keep shrubs trimmed and trees pruned. Try not to offer hiding spots to anyone attempting to break in. Keep your shrubbery trimmed particularly along walkways and at entrances. Shrouded areas can allow for just enough protective cover for the few minutes it takes to get into your home. Thorny bushes or shrubs are the exceptions as they might help add challenges to the job! If your house has a second floor, keep branches trimmed to prevent a more determined crook from scaling the tree to gain access.

Know your neighbors. “It takes a village” can apply to more than raising children. It applies to neighbourhood security, as well. In fact, incidences of crime tend to be less in tight-knit communities. Neighbours are far more likely to look out for one another and keep an eye on each others’ property in their absence. They’re also more sensitive to strangers. Get to know your neighbours and take advantage of the extra eyes they provide – probably one of your best assets in home security and crime prevention!

Initiate a neighborhood watch program. Starting a neighbourhood watch program in your community offers more opportunities to get to know your neighbours, providing each of you with the peace of mind of enhanced home and neighbourhood security.

Fence your yard. If your yard isn’t already fenced, installing one can be an effective way to keep unwanted visitors off your property.  Ornamental metal or chain-link as they tend to be anchored by concrete and difficult to remove or lift. Wood fences can be easy to climb, but offer some degree of protective barrier.

Incorporate motion sensor lighting around your home and garage. Let the light catch your intruder before you have to!  Add extra security through motion detection lighting at entrances and particularly in those dark areas around your home. If you’re a renter or live in an apartment, don’t be afraid to ask your landlord to install better lighting, including motion sensing, at entrances, in the hallways, or any other dark areas or corners.

Clean up around your home. It’s important to keep your yard tidy and free of tools, ladders, toys or anything else that may pique a thief’s interest. A yard cluttered with assorted items could signal that there are equally interesting things indoors such as entertainment – laptops, tablets, and game consoles. A toolbox or ladder left outdoors can offer an intruder an easy means to gain access to your home.

Keep doors, garage doors, and gates locked. Consider the various points of entry on to your property and into your home. It may be worth investing in a high-quality padlock for outside entrances, even if you only use them at night or while your away. Your garage door should never be left open if you aren’t inside it or if you don’t have it in sight.

Install highly visible – large, well-lit, and reflective – numbers on your house, gate, or mailbox. In the event of an emergency, you want to make it as easy as possible for emergency personnel to find your home. Thieves prefer a dark home with an address that is difficult to identify – provides them with a buffer of time if they’re caught in the act.

 

kelowna valley insurance - mitigate residential disaster

Home Disaster – Tips to Help Mitigate Damage

None of us are immune to accidents – even catastrophic ones. There are ways, however, to help you minimize the damage when it comes to home disaster.

You only have to watch the evening news or peruse your social media feed, to see what seems a never-ending stream of disasters, tragedies, and environmental apocalyptic predictions involving environmental collapse and climate change.

Disasters such as earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or other natural catastrophe is what most often comes to mind. But, chances are, when it comes to your life and your home, you’re far more likely to be the victim of a more localized occurrence such as water, fire, or damages due to burglary or vandalism.

One familiar line should prevail (thank you, Boy Scouts Handbook):  Be Prepared. A simple concept, yes, but for many of us, not the easiest advice to heed.

We’re here to tell you — listen to the Boyscouts! And take our advice as well: begin planning for an emergency well before it happens. It’s those common residential disasters  – even when small – that can cause such significant damage, often requiring expensive restoration. For most of us, the most likely disasters resulting in damage are:

  • Water damage:  broken pipes, sewage backups, flooding – overland, rain, and snow – can cause considerable stress, expense, and destruction.
  • Damage due to Fire & Smoke: fires, even smaller ones, can cause all manner of damage. Don’t forget damage from smoke – it can often leave homes or buildings completely uninhabitable.
  • Burglary and/or Vandalism:  let’s face it, most thieves aren’t going to care if they damage your property as they steal your belongings. along with stolen property, you’ll likely have to deal with the havoc they’ve wreaked on your home.
  • Mould, Lead, Asbestos: these environmental hazards are often largely undetectable to an untrained eye and make for a very unhealthy living environment. They’re also quite dangerous to remove. Enlist the pros to rid your home of asbestos and other toxic and hazardous materials.
  • Grow-op Abatement: a bain of landlords, dealing with the considerable impact of tenants who have contaminated rental properties with chemicals and mould, related to their troublesome and illegal drug operations.
  • Wind & Storm: fallen trees and other flying debris are a common byproduct of high winds and storms. They can cause structural damage to a home requiring significant and costly repairs.
  • Trauma Incidents:  gross but sometimes necessary – the safe cleanup and removal of blood and other bodily fluids.

Recommendation: call a restoration company right after you’ve been in contact with your insurance provider. Your broker will work to get the restoration underway with the best claims coverage based on the insurance policy. A quick response is very important to prevent any further damage.

To learn more about damage prevention, CONTACT US; we have the knowledge and expertise to advise you on all aspects of protecting your home BEFORE a disaster occurs.

As they say, “An ounce of prevention…”

Preventative maintenance can provide a much more rapid restoration result. Mitigate the extent of the damage and the time it takes to get your restoration completed… before a disaster even happens!

Tips for preventing damage from water

Prevent water damage:

  • By being aware of where all your shut-off valves are throughout your home.
  • Do not run your dishwasher or washing machine when you’re away from home.
  • Regularly check all of your toilets for leaks. You want to check supply lines for wear, age, wear, and possible leaks. If there is any sign of water leakage around the base, turn off the valve.
  • Be sure to do a regular inspection of any other water-related appliances – includes refrigerators (particularly if there’s an ice-maker) and dishwashers. Inspect the hoses occasionally.
  • Check your drains indoors and out to make sure they’re operating properly.
  • Inspect your gutters. Clear them of debris if it’s collected. Check your downpipes to make sure they’re properly connected and directed.
  • During colder months, check eavestroughs and downspouts for ice and other debris to avoid any chance of ice damming and damage.
  • Winter maintenance should include shutting off all water to outdoor hose bibs.

Don’t forget to inspect your hot water tank

  • If your water tank is 7 years or older it should be regularly inspected for leaks and stains.
  • If your tank doesn’t have a drip tray, be sure to have one installed with a proper run-off to the floor drain.
  • check the pressure relief valve (PR Valve) for proper operation and function. It will automatically open if the pressure in the tank exceeds the allowable limit.

Fire damage 

Fire is devastating and can destroy an entire home in mere moments. The best prevention is to check your home to ensure it’s clear of major fire hazards:

  • Have all electrical inspected before you purchase a new home.
  • Check and test your smoke detectors regularly – be sure they work!
  • Unplug your small appliances when they’re not in use.
  • One that often gets overlooked: clean the lint filter of your dryer on a regular basis. Consider having the dryer vent system inspected and cleaned by a professional anually.

Vandalism

Often when a break-and-enter occurs, it is less about what’s been stolen than the damage done while thieves are on the hunt for valuables. They want to get in and out in a hurry, and, in the process, often create costly damage – often worth more than the value of the stolen goods.

  • Make sure slideing doors are equipped with a lock that can’t be pried open.
  • Check that you have proper locks and that they work on all potentially accessible windows – check regularly that they’re still effective.
  • Install a monitored or non-monitored security system.
  • Do not leave your valuables in plain sight. Have a safe place to keep your laptop and other high-end electronics when you leave the house.
  • When you’re getting ready for a trip, follow best practices as you should prepare to leave your home if it will be unoccupied for more than a day.
  • Check out this list of tips to protect your home from a break-in.

Environmental hazards and materials

It may come as a surprise, but biohazards can occur at any time. They can exist in your older home or be the unfortunate result of a catastrophic event.

Proper detection of biohazards is vital as it can help you get out ahead to prevent potentially serious health risks. When purchasing a new property be sure to have the home inspected before you purchase; ask questions about the history of the home – the year it was built and what materials were used; if this information is known; have an air quality test performed, particularly if you have severe allergies or are vulnerable to illness.

If you are a landlord inspect your properties on a regular basis, according to the law.

Concerns to look for:

  • Construction that may include lead and asbestos.
  • Signs of mildew and mould.
  • Signs of a grow op or other illegal drug operation.
  • Vermin infestation (mice, rats, bats, raccoons, squirrels).

Protect your valuables before the disaster

It’s not unusual that over time we become rather complacent about our valuables – items such as jewelry, art, fine wine, and important documents, for example. But, there are also those things that have significant sentimental value as well – photos and meaningful family mementos.  Check out the tips below to help keep your most precious belongings safe from fire, flood, and vandalism:

1. Inventory your belongings and keep it updated.

2. Keep photocopies or digital records of your important papers such as passports, birth certificates, taxes, and credit cards. Store them in a safe deposit box at a bank.

3.  In a flood, hurricane, tornado, or high fire risk area? Take photos and make photo books of your children’s’ art, treasured photographs, and any family heirlooms.  Make copies and be sure to store one with a family member or friend and keep another in a safety deposit box.

4. For items you need on a regular basis – passport, if you travel frequently – get a small, durable, fireproof safe and lock up valuables at home.

5. Store any paper valuables off the floor in a waterproof bin. Water damage is one of the major causes of insurance claims and this small step can help preserve important documents, books, or other paper valuables.

To learn more about damage prevention, CONTACT US; we have the knowledge and expertise to advise you on all aspects of protecting your home BEFORE a disaster occurs.

kelowna valley insurance winterize your home

Get Ahead of Winter. Winterize Your Home NOW!

Prevent potential winter-related disasters. Winterize your home NOW to ensure your comfort and peace of mind throughout the season.

There’s no better time to winterize your home than before the mercury drops. Even though the air is getting a little brisk and the nights are definitely getting colder, it’s still a very easy and pleasant time of year to prepare in anticipation of the inevitable: snow and ice!

While autumn allows us to rest in denial of the impending cold, particularly during these relatively mild days preceding winter’s harsh arrival, it’s still important to get prepared. And, the earlier the better!

For anyone who’s had to address a maintenance issue – heat or water, for instance – in the middle of January, you know that, of all the seasons, winter is the absolute worst to be struck with some type of (likely preventable!) home disaster.

So, that said, there’s no better time than NOW – during this brief reprieve of pleasant weather to ensure that your home is ready for Old Man Winter’s return.

To help guide your preparations, here are some easy essentials for winterizing your home to offer you valuable peace of mind as well as a more comfortable, energy-efficient season, no matter what the weather outside.

  1. Keep your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors maintained and test frequently.
  2. Be sure that your heating source – furnace, wood stove, etc. – are in good working condition. It’s a good idea to have them inspected, maintained and cleaned on a regular basis. Through the colder months, clean or, if necessary, replace furnace air filters more frequently.
  3. Turn on taps and run some water through plumbing fixtures regularly.
  4. Fill in any gaps those small cracks around the perimeter of your windows can let in a lot of cold air. Caulking around the exterior of your windows is a fast and easy way to keep warm air in.
  5. Test the shut-off valves for your plumbing.
  6. Inspect your attic for any frost accumulation and give your eavestroughs and roof a once-over for possible ice dams or icicles. Ensure that your attic is appropriately insulated. The easiest way to boos your insulation power is to lay batts of mineral wool or fibreglass insulation on top of what’s already there; fit them tightly against one another to help prevent gaps for air.
  7. Regularly clear your sidewalk and front steps of snow and ice.
  8. Keep snow from collecting against gas appliance vents, gas meters, exhaust vents, and your basement windows.
  9. Keep branches close to your home or electrical wires safely trimmed.
  10. Fit any exposed pipes with insulation wrapping or sleeves to prevent them from freezing.

Leaving for vacation (even only a few days)? Be sure to leave the heat on and have a trusted someone check on your home while you are away to prevent any potential disasters from happening while your away.

Questions about your home insurance coverage or would like a quote? Talk to us!

 

Kelowna Valley Insurance Vineyard Insurance

Winemaking and Alcohol Manufacturers Insurance

Wineries, breweries, and distillers need to be covered for the various industry-specific risks unique to alcohol manufacturers.

Whether you own and operate a winery is overlooking Lake Okanagan, you have a U-Brew in town, or you’re opening the next best brewpub in the valley, the insurance coverage you have for your alcohol manufacturing business could mean the difference between flopping or flourishing.

Small batch, craft alcohol production is all the rage and great new businesses are cropping up all the time. But, regardless of the type of alcohol you manufacture, everything you’ve created could be sidelined, if not destroyed if you haven’t protected yourself and your business with the proper insurance coverage.

Winery Insurance

You work hard to combine the latest technology with old-fashioned craftsmanship to produce quality wines. Whether yours is a family-owned business or already gone global, your wines represent your commitment of time, labour – blood, sweat, and often tears! – not to mention, skill and talent. You’ve invested too much to lose it all.

There are any number of ways a loss to your winery could be sustained. For example:

  • A load of grapes overturns whilst in transit.
  • Two distinct varietals are blended accidentally during winemaking.
  • Insecticides applied to crops on a windy day drift onto the neighbouring property.
  • A wedding guest slips and falls while dancing on the winery cellar floor.
  • Thousands of gallons of product spill to the ground as s wine-in-process is transferred from a large tank.

Winemaking insurance is specifically designed to protect British Columbia vintners throughout the entire winemaking process from the growing of grapes through to market-ready, bottled products.

Typically, all risk replacement cost coverage includes buildings, stock, equipment, and farming equipment. Irrigation systems, boilers, and machinery are also items addressed in a package we would provide.

Additionally, commercial liability, business interruption coverage, as well as products and completed operations liability (including shipping damages and bottling procedures) are included in a basic policy.

Kelowna Valley Insurance offers scalable solutions to help protect your business – from your oldest vines to your most recent packaging. With risk management expertise and products such as alteration of wine, trellis and grapevine coverage, business income insurance and a global protection extension, we are prepared to meet the specialized insurance needs of your winery.

Insurance Considerations specific to Wineries:

In Process Wine Products
Wine Specific Valuations
Vine and Trellis
Leakage
Collapse of Tanks
Productions and Agricultural Coverage
Crop Insurance
Chemical Drift Liability

Craft Brewery Insurance

In the rapidly growing craft beer industry, independent brewers have to work harder than ever to stand out from the competition. While creating a variety of perfect brews is hard work, choosing the right insurance to protect your brewery shouldn’t be.

Brewery Insurance is essential for any start-up brewing business, small or large, and should be included in your business plan. You need coverage that not only fits your immediate needs but has the flexibility to expand seamlessly alongside your company’s growth.

We can explore tailored insurance coverage for:

Craft Breweries
Tasting Rooms
Restaurants
Special Events
Beer Storage
Retail Sales
Catering
Lodging

Brewery Specific Coverage Considerations:

Tanks & Barrels
Specialized Beer Loss Evaluations
Liquor Liability
Product Withdrawal Expenses
Equipment Breakdown

Distillery Insurance

Distillers in British Columbia face unique challenges compared to other Alcohol Manufacturers as they have to work within the tight government control that can take its toll on profit margins.

Given the restrictive nature of controls on this industry, your distillery needs every advantage it can get, including the right insurance coverage.

More information about Alcohol Manufacturing Operations including Wineries, Breweries, and Distilleries can be found on the Government of BC’s Website.

Questions about Winemaking and Alcohol Manufacturers insurance? Talk to us!

Kelowna Valley Insurance - Why You SHOULD Have Tenant's Insurance

Renters: Why You SHOULD Have Tenant’s Insurance

If you’re a renter, you should have Tenant’s Insurance to ensure your belongings, as well as your potential liability, is covered!

When you aren’t burdened with all the responsibilities of homeownership, it can be easy to overlook certain details when you’re a renter. Even if you’re renting, however, it’s still important to be prepared – expect the unexpected, as they say.

And don’t simply depend on your landlord’s policy!

Rather than take your landlord’s coverage for granted, you’re better off to just assume that your his or her insurance coverage will not be adequate when it comes to your belongings and personal liability.

Tenant’s Insurance is intended to address any discrepancies or shortcomings in your landlord’s coverage.

For you parents of college-aged young adults – given the increased possibility of mishaps – you should seriously consider insurance to protect your youngster (and, likely, yourself) while enjoying some additional peace of mind!

There are a variety of reasons to consider Tenant’s Insurance. Chief among them is to ensure that you and your belongings are adequately protected in the event of the unexpected.

Even if you only rent on a temporary basis, Tenant’s Insurance will replace the contents of your rental unit in the event of an insurable loss. This includes everything from furniture to expensive electronics such as laptops and televisions.

Understand that you probably own more than you think! It often comes as a surprise to realize how much stuff you actually have and how expensive it would be to replace all of it at once.  Be sure to keep an updated record of everything you own, including taking pictures or video of your belongings.

Tenant’s Insurance may cover any additional expenses after a loss.  If a fire occurs in your apartment, you will need a place to stay temporarily. Insurance will cover these necessary expenses while your apartment is being repaired.

You’re protected if you happen to damage the landlord’s, or another tenant’s, property in your building. As a tenant, you could be vulnerable, liable for damage caused to not only the space you’re renting but possibly the building as well – tenants are responsible for the harm they cause to any part of their building. Tenant’s insurance is there to help cover the damage.

If you’re unfortunate enough to accidentally cause someone harm in your building, Tenant’s Insurance will provide the protection you need. Tenants are potentially responsible for the harm they cause others who live or visit their unit. Tenant’s insurance would help cover the costs associated with this type of claim.

Tenant’s Insurance provides protection in the event of a lawsuit related to your rental unit. A standard insurance policy provides coverage, including defense fees and potential settlements, in the case of a lawsuit commenced by a third party.

As an added bonus for maintaining coverage, Tenant’s Insurance contributes to a claims-free history. Most insurance companies will offer a discount if you have several years of insurance history without a claim.  A tenant’s policy can help you establish that positive insurance history.

Questions about proper insurance as a renter? Talk to us!

Kelowna Valley Insurance - travel insurance

Travel Insurance – Even for a Quick Weekend Getaway!

Ensure your peace of mind as you travel – even for a short, weekend getaway to the USA. Get travel insurance!

Travel insurance should be at the top of your to-do list when it comes to planning even a quick trip to the United States.

A recent report from Allianz Global Assistance Canada (AGAC) suggests that Canadians are choosing to forgo travel insurance when they embark on quick getaways. For the small savings, the risks can be huge!

The AGAC report identifies that less than 1.4% of single-trip policies purchased by Canadians were for trips lasting a couple of days. Statistics Canada identifies that this year over 12.5 million Canadians traveled to the US for at least one night.

That’s a lot of Canadians crossing the border with inadequate travel coverage, particularly given the costs associated with American medical care.

Now, in the height of summer and with autumn travel plans being made, many Canadians are anticipating travel south of the border, for both short and extended stays. Among them, there’s a troubling attitude of complacency regarding the purchase of travel insurance, leaving many travelers vulnerable in the event of the unexpected or even catastrophic.

It’s true, your provincial health care will cover a small percentage of medical expenses in the United States. But, it’s important to understand that it won’t come close to the thousands of dollars that are often incurred.

Forget the cost of serious injuries requiring hospital stays, or what might be required in the event of an auto accident, simply a few stitches in a hospital south of the border could cost upwards of $3,000, a sprained ankle around $2000.

Spending the little bit extra on travel insurance will not only provide you valuable peace of mind, but it also provides you valuable coverage in the event of what could be the painfully costly unexpected.

It’s impossible to know what could happen while you’re enjoying your travels. But, it’s important to consider – and be prepared for! – all the potential risks associated with travel, no matter how short the trip!

Planning a quick trip to the USA?  We’ll Help Arrange the Right Travel Insurance Plan for You!

Contact us or call 1-250-860-6064 for more information.

Kelowna Valley Insurance - loss prevention plan

How to Limit Risk for Your Business? Practice Loss Prevention

What is the best way to save your business in a crisis? Consider your worst-case scenarios – implement an effective loss prevention plan before it happens!

It’s hard to think about the things that could harm or damage your business. But, with so much on the line – your investment of significant time and money – creating a loss prevention program becomes a vital part of your greater investment in the business.

Understanding how to prevent loss before a tragedy or crisis is essential. It means understanding the types of losses your business may incur: insured and uninsured.

Insured losses are covered by your insurance policy. A business that has property insurance will be covered from an unexpected fire, and with business interruption coverage, the store will even be compensated for the income lost while the business is closed for repairs.

Uninsured losses are not covered by your policy. These costs can include replacing equipment that’s been used improperly or replacing sick or injured employees with new hires.

Develop an effective loss prevention plan and your business profits in the long run.

When it comes to implementing an effective loss control strategy, you can get out ahead of any expensive uninsured losses through proper and thorough employee training and best practices, minimizing any potential downtime of your machinery to keep your business operating smoothly.

Claims that involve libel, slander, and violation of the right of privacy are known as reputational harm and are the most expensive claims that small businesses can incur. As a small business owner, you can take steps to avoid these claims, including requesting background checks, having someone review your advertising copy, and having an emergency preparedness plan ready.

There are several reasons why you should incorporate a solid loss prevention program for your business:

  • It provides guidance for employees. Employees who are aware of hazards and are properly trained on how to deal with them tend to be more efficient workers.
  • It provides opportunities to identify hazards through regular inspections, quality control programs, and procedures to correct deficiencies, which can help to avoid and reduce losses.
  • It provides direction for emergency procedures. Employees who are properly trained on emergency response are prepared to act quickly and correctly during an emergency. This can help mitigate losses and increase profits.

A culture of safety – regular practice helps prepare your business not just in the case of an emergency, but every day.

An effective business owner should conduct mandatory training sessions and practices. Develop drills, performance reviews, and best practices to help ensure your workforce is less vulnerable to expensive and possibly dangerous mishaps.

Here are some of the ways you can develop an effective loss prevention program for your business:

  • Develop employee safety manuals, policies and guidelines to build a culture of safety
  • Teach staff how to use new equipment to improve efficiency and safety
  • Install monitored burglar alarms and sprinkler systems to protect your assets
  • Make safety training mandatory to actively promote this culture of safety

Empower your employees

If you really want your loss prevention practices to be successful and effective, your employees need to play an active role.

The people who work for you should be required to participate in reducing, controlling, or eliminating workplace hazards, accidents, and injuries. There are a number of ways in which your employees can actively assist in loss prevention:

  • Think “safety” before initiating any work.
  • Follow all loss prevention procedures, regulations, and rules you’ve outlined.
  • Follow inspection guidelines for all equipment, machines, and tools.
  • Utilize proper personal protective equipment where required.
  • Operate all equipment with safety guards in place.
  • Operate only the equipment and machines you’re trained and authorized to operate.
  • Immediately report all unsafe acts, conditions, and accidents to management.
  • Participate actively in loss prevention training.
  • Recommend a specific methodology to control workplace hazards.

An effective loss prevention policy is simply good for business.

Encouraging all employees to participate in the development, maintenance, and enforcement of a loss prevention program will be invaluable in enhancing the safety and efficiency of your business while helping to increase your profits and the overall success of your business.

Do you want to protect your business through a loss prevention program? If you’re looking for comprehensive insurance coverage for your small business, contact us!

Kelowna Valley Insurance understanding Loss Prevention

Protect Yourself and Your Home: Practice Loss Prevention

You buy insurance to help keep you, your family, and your home safe. What else can you do? Be proactive, mitigating as much risk as possible, and think loss prevention!

Yes, you’ve bought your home insurance to protect your home and most valuable assets. But, if you understand common risks there are steps you can take to effectively mitigate them to prevent potential losses.

The fact is, and as much as we’d rather not think about it, the worst-case scenario sometimes occurs. It might be a flooded basement, kitchen fire, natural disaster, or something else entirely. Home insurance exists to provide you important peace of mind, knowing you’re protected in the event of any losses and potentially costly risks.

It’s not just about your insurance, however. There’s a lot you can do, before tragedy strikes, to prevent damage and loss to your home.

As a homeowner, know the risks you may face. Some are quite obvious (fire, for instance), while others only reveal themselves to someone who knows where to look and what questions to ask – your insurance representative.

When it comes to loss prevention, know how to reduce your risk:

  1. Know what might go wrong. Is your home surrounded by wild junipers that could provide fuel to the loose spark from your firepit? Learn what you can do, outdoors, around your home to make it fire safe. An uneven step could cause someone to fall on your property. Learn about your slip, trip and fall risks and the value of preventive maintenance.
  2. Plan ahead to reduce your liability risks. Create an emergency kit and plan emergency exit routes with your family members. Limit how much alcohol guests are served when you host a BBQ, dinner or house party. Prevent sewer overflow in your basement by installing a backwater valve. Ensure that all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.
  3. Know how to handle an emergency or loss situation. Learn what you need to know when making a property claim. And keep calm.
  4. Keep an up-to-date record of your household contents. A current home inventory of your belongings will make it easier to file a claim.
  5. Consider if you have adequate coverage. If you are concerned about natural disasters, you may be able to add coverage to your policy, such as earthquake coverage. Your insurance representative can explain the available options.
  6. Be sure that your home is equipped with approved loss prevention devices:
    fire alarm systems
    fire suppression systems
    security systems
    sump pumps and backwater valves
    automatic water shut-off devices
    reflective tape for heavy/farm equipment
    lightning suppression systems
    back-up power systems
    keep the chimney clean and free of brush and debris
    hail-resistant roofing materials

To learn more about loss prevention, CONTACT US; we have the knowledge and expertise to advise you on all aspects of Loss Prevention.

Kelowna Valley Insurance condominium insurance

Condominium Insurance Explained

Kelowna Valley Insurance condominium insurance

Yes your Condominium or Strata has insurance, but it’s not going to cover you! Here’s what you need to know about condo owners’ insurance.

In British Columbia, the word ‘strata’ is synonymous with ‘condominium’. Strata unit ownership is typically defined by the divided by the walls, ceiling and floors within the building and includes any improvements to your unit.

As an owner, you have title to your own unit, but you also enjoy a share in the common property, amenities such as a secure lobby entrance, a rooftop patio, swimming pool, parking garage and other features.

The definition of what the unit owner owns depends on the condominium or strata declaration.

The Definition of Common Property

Common property is defined as any area that is available for use by all condo owners. Some examples of common property may include the lobby, elevators, gardens, gym, swimming pool, and other recreational facilities.

Unit owners share the expense of maintaining common areas by paying monthly maintenance fees. Limited access common property – such as a balcony or storage locker – maybe common property or a common element even though a unit owner has exclusive use.

If my condominium corporation has insurance, why do I need it?

Your condominium (or strata) corporation’s insurance policy may cover insured losses to the condominium building and common property but it DOES NOT cover your personal items and contents, liability, or any improvements you make to your unit.

What if your unit and belongings sustain damage due to a fire? What if you are held liable for personal injuries sustained by a visitor who slips and falls in your home? There’s also the possibility of damage (fire, water, etc.) as the result of activities in a neighbouring unit. While these scenarios may seem unlikely, condominium insurance would typically provide coverage in these circumstances.

Condominium insurance is more than just a policy protecting your personal contents and potential liability; it represents peace of mind.

Have questions about your coverage? Speak with your insurance representative to ensure you have adequate coverage and limits that reflect the value of your real property interests and personal property and the cost to replace it.

Condominium insurance differs from that of conventional homes. Coverage is available under two separate policies; that of each unit owner and that of the condominium corporation.

Typical Unit Owner Coverage:

You can anticipate that your condominium or strata policy may include coverage for:

  • Your personal property such as clothing, appliances and furniture, as well as items stored in your locker
  • Additional living expenses, in case you can’t live in your unit in the event of an insured loss in certain circumstances
  • Your personal liability for any bodily injury or property damage unintentionally caused to others.

When you purchase a condominium unit you are required to purchase individual contents coverage to protect not only your personal property, but for legal obligations to others as well.

Be sure to speak with your insurance representative about the possibility of optional coverages that might be beneficial: increased unit improvement coverage; contingency coverage if your condo corporations’s insurance is insufficient; loss assessment coverage; condo or strata directors’ and officers’ liability coverage; and, in some parts of British Columbia prone to earthquake, earthquake coverage provides for any losses or damage due to actual shaking of the earth.

Your coverage needs for condo insurance will depend on the cost to replace your personal property and the amount you’ve spent towards any enhancements and improvements, if applicable.

Typical Condo Corporation’s Insurance Coverage:

  • The buildings shown on the condominium plan.
  • Common property such as hallways, stairs, roof, pools, garages, driveways, etc.
  • Fixtures built or installed as part of the original or standard construction such as floor and wall coverings, electrical and plumbing fixtures.
  • Condominium assets such as furniture, equipment, etc.
  • Liability of the condominium corporation for claims of property damage and bodily injury suffered by others.

Have questions about Condominium or Strata insurance? We can help!