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Home Tips


As a wise consumer, you should be aware that many of the Insurance Companies we represent, offer certain discounts on home, tenants, condominium and auto insurance that can significantly reduce the cost of your premiums.

As a service to you we have listed the various discounts available on home, tenants and condominium insurance policies. This summary is for information purposes only.

Remember, NOT ALL INSURANCE COMPANIES OFFER ALL OF THESE DISCOUNTS. In addition, the companies often limit the maximum discounts they will grant per policy.

    Discounts of up to 10% are available for a combination of security devices and/or programs usually developed from the following list:
    • dead bolt locks
    • fire extinguisher
    • basement burglar bars
    • smoke alarm
    • dog
    • neighborhood watch
    Most markets will offer discounts of up to 15% if you have had no claims on your home, tenant, or condominium packages, for three consecutive years.
    Most markets will discount home, tenant and condominium policies continuously in force usually for at least three years.
    Certain markets have identified those homeowners who have paid off their mortgage as a target market and offer discounts of up to 5%.
    Most markets offer a discount for new homes from as high as 15% on newly built homes. Newer home discounts are available on homes up to 15 years old and are based on a declining scale.
    Discounts are offered to home, tenant and condominium policies. The discount is applicable to the base rates and is based on the extent of protection.
    • i.e. local bell or alarm  
    • i.e. centrally monitored
    The discount can amount to up to 10% of the base premium.

    Only a few companies offer a non-smokers discount. To qualify, ALL members of the household must be non-smokers and you must not permit in-house smoking by any visitors to your home. The discount, where offered, can be as much as 15%.

    Certain markets offer a discount, usually in the amount of 5%, to those clients who insure their home/tenant/condominium packages and their auto policy with the same company. The discount applies to the property policies only.
    All markets will discount your home/tenant/condominium packages for an increased deductible. The deductible is the amount of a loss which the insured is responsible for.

Tips for Fire safety

  • Install and Maintain Smoke Detectors on each level of your home and outside each sleeping area. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and test regularly. Replace batteries at least once a year or when it chirps to signal that the batteries are low. Never remove the batteries to use somewhere else.
  • Plan and Practice an Escape Route: plan two possible escape routes out of each room. Do not include elevators in your escape route. Choose a meeting place outside where everyone can gather.
  • Space Heaters Need Space: Keep portable and space heaters at least three feet from paper, curtains, furniture, clothing, bedding or anything else that can burn. Never leave heaters on when you go to sleep or leave your home. Keep children and pets away.
  • Smokers Need Watchers: Never smoke in bed or when you're drowsy. Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers and also pour water on the butts before throwing them out. Before going to bed make sure you have extinguished all burning cigarettes.
  • Matches are for Adults Only: Store them where children can't reach them. If children find matches they should tell an adult immediately.
  • Crawl Low Under Smoke: If you encounter smoke using your primary exit, use your alternate route. If you must exit through smoke, stay low to the floor as smoke rises.

Note: By planning ahead, you can do a lot to prevent a fire. But once a fire starts in your home, there are only two things to do: Get Out and Call the Fire Department from a neighbour's home. Never go back in a burning building. If you think someone is still inside, tell the fire fighters when they arrive.

Winterizing Your Oil Tank

Residential Oil Spills are becoming more and more common these days. There are things that you can do to help extend the life of your oil tank. A small container of Methyl Hydrate added to your oil once a year early in the heating season will stop water condensation inside your tank all year long. This will help prevent the tank from rusting from the inside out, saving you hundreds of dollars, and perhaps preventing a messy and expensive oil spill. This can be purchased at many hardware stores for as little as $8 a bottle. Your Oil Company can also sell this product and put it in your tank each year for you.

Living Safely Tips

Creosote and flyash deposits in your chimney restrict the flow of exhaust and can make your system burn dirty. If you use an older model stove or furnace or use a traditional wood burning fireplace, you should have a chimney sweep clean and service the chimney and the wood burning appliance at least once during the wood burning season.

Property Safety Test

If you answer no to any of these questions, you and your property may be a target for burglars.

  • Does your home always appear lived in?
  • Do You have dead-bolt locks on all doors?
  • Are the pins in the hinges to your doorways secured?
  • Do you have good locks or latches on all your windows?
  • Do you keep control of house keys and never leave them hidden outside your home?
  • Are you present when having keys made?
  • Are all doors and windows locked, including garage doors?
  • Do you remove items such as ladders, which allow easy access to second storey windows, from around your house?
  • Do you lock-up your tools? Burglars may use them to break into your home.
  • When you go out, do you leave lights on and a radio playing?
  • Is the exterior of your house well lit, both when you're home and when out of the house?
  • When visiting the cottage or on vacation, do you have a timer to turn lights on and off and ask a neighbour to cut your grass or remove snow?
  • Do you keep bonds, large quantities of money, expensive jewellery in a safety deposit box?  

Kitchen Firesafety

  • NEVER LEAVE COOKING UNATTENDED:Also turn appliances off and unplug as soon as you've finished using them. They can overheat, causing a fire, if left on.
  • KEEP APPLIANCES CLEAN:Built up grease catches fire easily. Cleaning your appliances, ovens, stoves... regularly avoids this build-up.
  • KEEP FLAMMABLE OBJECTS AWAY FROM THE STOVE:Pot holders, dish towels, loose papers, recipe books, if any of these come too close to a burner, you can start a fire.
  • WEAR TIGHT-FITTING SLEEVES WHEN YOU COOK:Loose sleeves can catch fire when they dangle near hot burners. Avoid storing stuff over the stove where you would have to reach over the burners for it.
  • HEAT OIL SLOWLY:Keep a careful watch when you are cooking with oil. A fire can easily start if the burner is too "high" and it's left unattended.
  • MICROWAVE BURNS:Microwave ovens themselves stay cool, but that doesn't mean the food and dish inside doesn't get to hot to touch. You should use a pot holder to remove items, the same as an oven. The temperature of the food should be tested before eating as microwaves continue cooking the food for 2 to 3 minutes even after it has been removed.
  • DON'T OVERLOAD ELECTRICAL OUTLETS:An electrical fire can be caused by plugging too many appliances into the same outlet. Also beware of frayed or cracked cords, they should be replaced immediately!! Prevent shocks by making sure your hands and the floor you're standing on is dry when attempting to unplug an appliance. If water gets into an eletrical appliance make sure it is serviced before plugging it back in.
  • PREVENT BURNS BY TURNING POT HANDLES IN:A pot handle sticking out can be easily knocked over or grabbed by a child, causing the contents to spill and cause serious burns. Turn handles in to avoid accidents.
  • COOL A BURN WITH RUNNING WATER:run cool water over the area for 5 to 10 minutes. This will prevent continued burning and relieve some of the pain. Never use butter or any other greasy substance as that will continue to burn the skin and cause more damage to be done. If the burn blisters or is charred, see a doctor as soon as possible.
    • Smother a grease fire:Never throw water on a cooking fire!!! If a pan containing food catches fire, slide a lid over the pan, then turn the burner off. If a fire starts in the oven, close the oven door and turn it off. If flames do not go out immediately call the Fire Department.
    • Close the door on microwave fires:If anything catches fire in you microwave, opening the door will provide oxygen to the fire. Leave the door shut and turn the microwave off.
    • Learn the ABCs of fire extinguishers: If you keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen, be sure it is a Class ABC extinguisher with a testing laboratory label. Use an extinguisher only if....
      • You know you have a class ABC extinguisher, and you already know how to operate it.
      • The fire is small and contained in the area where it started.
      • The Fire Department is being called.
      • You can fight the fire with your back to an exit.
    If any of these is not true, get out immediately and call the Fire Department.
  • IF CLOTHING CATCHES FIRE: STOP, DROP AND ROLL!!Do not run - this only fans the fire. Stop where you are, drop to the ground, and roll over and over to smother the flames. Cover you face with your hands to protect it, as well as to shield your throat and lungs. If someone elses clothes are on fire push them to the ground and roll them over and over; or smother the flames with a blanket, a rug, or a coat if available.

    • Don't block the air vents of a microwave oven. It must have a sufficient air flow to operate properly.
    • Never store flammable products near a stove or oven. If a fire starts, these can easily ignite or even explode.
    • Don't store items that you use for cooking above the stove - you could be burned reaching for them.
    • Keep oven and stove areas free of clutter. Stacks of paper, cookbooks, grocery bags, towels, curtains, wood utensils, pot holders, and garbage baskets can all catch fire in seconds if they come into contact with a flame.
    • Keep your cooking areas clean. Built-up grease and food are usually the first things to ignite when a fire begins.
    • Never leave the stove or oven unattended while cooking.
    • Don't leave leftover pans of cooking oil or fat on a burner to cool down. It's too easy to accidentally turn on the wrong burner and ignite the pan. Put them on hot pads on an out-of-the way counter instead.
    • Make stove controls easy to read from a distance. For example, you could mark "off" with a bright red dot.
    • Keep a dry chemical fire extinguisher easily accessible in the kitchen, preferably bracket-ed to the wall near an exit. Don't keep it right next to the oven, because the flames of an oven fire could prevent you from getting to it. When using an extinguisher, remember to PASS - Pull the pin, Aim low, Squeeze the handle, and Sweep from side to side.

Home Electric Tips

  • As with any electrical cord, use power bars only in dry locations.
  • Cover unused receptacles so that metal objects can't be accidentally poked into the slots. Better yet, place safety prongs into the receptacles, especially if there are children around.
  • When plugging any item into your power bar, never run the cord under a carpet or rug, or along a doorway. The wear and tear could fray the insulation and expose the bare wire, creating a fire hazard.
  • When removing a plug from the bar, grip it firmly and pull. Don't yank the cord.
  • Inspect power bars regularly for signs of wear, and replace them when worn or broken.

Apartment Security

  • Even in the best maintained apartment buildings, security is a concern. To help protect yourself, you can take a few simple steps.
  • Don't list your first name on the apartment directory, just an initial.
  • If you have a mailbox in the lobby, cover up any slots so the contents aren't visible. A box filled with the same mail from day-to-day is a sign the occupant is not home.
  • If your apartment unit has a mail slot in the door, cover it so nobody can flip it up and see that the apartment is empty.
  • Don't buzz anyone into the building whom you don't know. If you don't already have a wide angle viewer, install one in your door.
  • Even if you live on a high floor, don't think your unit is impossible to access from the outside. When you're out, keep windows locked, and sliding doors locked and defended with security bars.
  • If you're out for the evening leave a light on, even if you're on a high floor. Professional thieves can pick out a completely dark apartment from the ground.
  • If you're keeping any belongings in a storage room, don't rely exclusively on the room's lock for protection. Use a high quality padlock on your own storage unit door.
  • If your building works on a master key system, have your deadbolt re-keyed off the system, and if required give the superintendent a copy of the new key. It's also a good idea to re-key your lock when you move into a building.
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