BY: ANDREW STEWART
You can feel it in the air. Retail shelves are already stocked full of beach towels, sand buckets, and sunscreen. Summer is on the way. The arrival of summer means more opportunities to enjoy outdoor fun with family and friends. And while its arrival is one to celebrate, it does come with a set of insurance and liability concerns that your family needs to be mindful of. Thankfully, here are some summer tips and helpful advice on how you can remain claims free.
Start with your vehicle
Maybe you are hitting the road for vacation or summer long weekends, ensuring auto safety and security comes down to proper vehicle maintenance and defensive driving. Even if you exhibit the characteristics of a good driver, you’re not perfect. Keep in mind that the summer is the busiest season on the road. There will also be road crews, construction and other drivers to watch out for, therefore:
- Prior to heading out on your road trip, have your vehicle inspected. Brakes and tires need to be in optimum condition, and so does the transmission and suspension. Oil and other fluids should be changed or checked. Make sure your A/C system is topped up and working properly.
- Distracted driving is also a leading cause of accidents. Ontario is reporting that distracted driving is the leading cause of road deaths for the fourth consecutive year. There are many types of distractions, but the most common is the use of personal electronics. Studies have shown that you’re five times more likely to crash if you’re on our phone. Remember the rules, the use of hand-held devices has been banned since 2010. That also applies while you’re stopped at a red light or slowed in traffic.
- What to expect for breaking the rules: A fine of $400, plus a victim surcharge and court fee, for a total of $490 if settled out of court. A fine of up to $1,000 if you receive a summons or fight your ticket. Last but not least three demerit points applied to your driver’s record.
When you’re away the mice will play
Keep your vacated home safe, whenever you travel for extended lengths of time, you need to keep your home safely secured and monitored. On this note, do the following:
- I know it’s hard but avoid telling the world (burglars included) that you’re away on vacation through your social media activity
- Have your lights set on timers and keep your drapes just slightly open to give the appearance of someone still living on the premises
- Turn off your air conditioning and your water supply if not needed while you’re away. It’s not a good feeling coming home to a flooded bathroom, kitchen, or worse. It’s one thing for this to happen while you’re at work. It’s another when you’ve been away on an extended summer trip or even a full day of activities
Fire is hot and it burns
It happens every year. The weather gets warmer, more people use outdoor grills and incidents of grill-caused fires go up. Here are some BBQ safety tips that will keep you and your home safe for barbecuing season:
- Grill outside and away from any structures
- Only set up your grill on a flat surface and make sure the grill can’t be tipped over
- Have baking soda on hand to control a grease fire and a fire extinguisher nearby for other fires. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, keep a bucket of sand next to the grill. Never use water to put out a grease fire.
- If you are using a gas grill and the flame goes out, turn the grill and the gas off, then wait at least five minutes to re-light it
- Never leave your grill unattended when lit
- Check your propane tanks and lines to make sure they are properly fitted and clean the drip tray regularly
Conclusion – One of the best things you can do is to make a list and sit down with an independent insurance broker. You can run through everything that applies to your household, and make sure that you have adequate coverage for every person, place, and possession impacted by your summer season agenda.