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Reduce risks: Thoroughly clear the snow off your property

Published on January 7, 2018

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Our winters provide their share of fun and inconveniences. Even though snow removal often falls in the latter category for most people, there’s no away around it if you want to avoid problems! Here are a few tips from L'Unique General Insurance to reduce the risk of damage and home insurance claims caused by the accumulation of snow and ice on and around your residence.

1. Roof 
Generally, your roof should be able to handle the accumulation of snow during a “normal” winter. But keep an eye out anyway.

  • Attic and plumbing vents: Verify them regularly to make sure they are clear of snow.
  • Rain or rise in temperature: Make sure there is no water accumulation, and that the water runs properly through the gutter or the drain (straight roof).
  • Freezing rain or heavy snow fall: Pay special attention to the following signs, which could indicate that there is too much snow on your roof and that it needs to be removed as soon as possible to avoid a collapse:
    • Your roof starts cracking
    • The ceiling looks to be drooping
    • The interior walls start cracking
    • Opening and closing doors becomes more difficult

If your roof must be cleared of snow, the best solution is to call on professionals who have the equipment and insurance required to do the job safely. If, however, you decide to clear the roof of snow yourself:

  • Use a roof rake with a telescopic handle designed specifically for the task that allows you to get the job done from the ground.
  • Clear the area surrounding the house to avoid injuries caused by falling snow or ice from the roof.
  • Leave a few centimetres of snow to protect your waterproof lining or the roof’s surface.
  • Make sure your attic plumbing and vents are cleared completely.

2. Balconies, patios and parking space
Clear them of snow and ice on a regular basis. You will therefore reduce the risk of falls, both for you and your guests. You will also avoid potential damage to your outdoor installations due to the weight or melting snow and ice.

3. Car shelters

  • Check on the weather. If storms or violent winds are in the forecast, firmly close the car shelter’s flaps.
  • Inspect it regularly during the winter. Make sure the bolts, anchors and your shelter’s structure are still holding up.
  • Clear the snow after each snowfall to prevent a collapse and keep it in good condition. Do it from outside the shelter, using a broom or a roof rake. If the shelter is covered by a lot of snow, remove a little snow from one side, then the other side and repeat. In this way, your shelter's structure will not become deformed or destabilized due to uneven snow distribution.

4. Above-ground swimming pools
Whether the pool is completely buried under snow or not, the most important thing to do is to clear the snow surrounding the pool on the outside, also known as the “borders.” Make sure you also remove snow from inside or in front of the skimmer to prevent cracks.

5. Recreational vehicles (trailer or motorhome) parked outdoors during the winter
Avoid damage and water leaks by clearing the snow from the roof of your vehicle regularly. Make sure you leave a thin coat of snow to protect the rubber lining.

Your insurance broker is there to help you prevent losses. Feel free to contact him or her!

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