By Sherene Cole
September 24th 2014 Edition
On June 17, 2014 a tornado struck Angus Ontario, impacting approximately 100 homes, 36 of them suffering structural damage. Unfortunately, wind, hail and other weather related events are becoming more commonplace with our changing environment, and much more is being paid out in insurance claims for these types of losses, compared to a loss for fire damage, which is the main peril that the home insurance policy was originally designed to protect against. Although we cannot predict when an event may ‘hit’ our own property, we can make sure that our home is less susceptible to damage should that day come.
Reducing the Risk of Wind-Related damage
1. Regular maintenance of the outside of your home is just as important as the inside. This includes checking your yard for trees that need to be trimmed, brought back to health if sick or in some cases removed altogether (i.e. tree has died). As some trees on your property may actually belong to the city, be sure to check with the city first before attempting to treat or remove an ailing or dead tree.
2. Check to see if any bricks or mortar has come loose, particularly on more exposed structures like chimneys and fencing. If you find any deterioration you would need to contact someone qualified to do the repair. These outdoor structures will often be the first things to be picked up and ‘thrown’ during a windstorm.
3. Inspecting your attic from time to time is also a good preventative measure for the inside of your home. Look for any signs of water damage throughout the attic, including the sheathing (the plywood that the rafters are nailed to). Also look to see if there’s any buildup of condensation or signs of mould; either would indicate a potential issue with the health of your roofing system.
4. Windows and doors are also important factors. Wind shutters will protect homeowners from flying glass. Pressure and impact rated windows are also available to homeowners as a way to reduce damage. Impact rated windows increase the structural stability of your home, as well.
5. When it comes to doors, check your hardware to ensure that it is in good repair and that it is weather and wind resistant. Hardware that comes with your doors may not be designed to withstand high winds and should be replaced with heavier duty bolts that will add more strength and durability. Like windows, there is pressure, or impact rated doors available to homeowners.
We cannot predict tornadoes, hurricanes, or other weather related events. What we can do is ensure that our property is always maintained, both inside and out, in such a way that reduces damage to the property and more importantly, the risk to our family.