Make it a priority to look after your home
Giving your home a little TLC every year can save you time, money and effort in the long run.
1. Give your home an annual checkup
- Inspect all major systems: air conditioning units, gas appliances, sump pump, and water lines.
- Have your chimney cleaned and furnace inspected by a professional.
- Check outdoor walkways, railings and the roof for damage.
- Replace caulking as needed.
- Clear out the eavestroughs.
- Clean the dryer vent.
2. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers are an easy, cost-effective way to protect your family and home. Test them monthly and replace alkaline batteries every year. Make sure you have a
3. Re-evaluate your home security
Home security doesn’t have to be expensive! Your first line of defense is to keep doors and windows locked. You can also install motion-activated lights around entryways.
If you do invest in an alarm system, don’t forget to install alarms on doors and windows in “hidden” areas of the house that are dark or obscured by trees. Can’t afford a full security system? A window sticker or yard sign advertising the presence of an alarm system can be a deterrent to would-be intruders.
4. Update your emergency kit
Every home needs a disaster or emergency kit—essential supplies that can keep you going in the event of severe weather, an accident or a power outage.
Once a year, check your kit to make sure it has things like a first-aid kit, non-perishable food (and can opener!), water, a working flashlight, a battery-powered radio, printed road maps, fresh batteries, warm blankets, and a whistle.
Plus, don’t forget to review your emergency plan with your family in the event of a fire, flood or tornado.
5. Create or update your home inventory
It’s a really good idea to have an up-to-date inventory of your home’s contents along with the replacement value. Having a written list means you can check you’ve got enough insurance coverage. It can also make your life easier if you need to make a claim.
- Keep bills, receipts, warranties and instruction manuals for high-ticket items—these can serve as proof of ownership for an insurance claim.
- Store your records and receipts in a safe place, like a safety deposit box or a secure online option.
- Take photographs or video footage of valuables.
- When you do renovations that increase your home’s value, keep receipts and take photos.
- If you buy expensive furniture, art or jewellery, tell your insurance company to make sure you’re covered.
6. Update your paperwork
Keeping all your household information in one handy place means you can find important documents when you need them. And it can make your life a lot simpler when it comes to selling the house.
Go through your insurance papers, repair receipts, and other important paperwork once a year and get rid of outdated documents. Keeping electronic copies is also a great idea. If you can, store important government documents such as tax information, birth certificates and passports in a fireproof box.
7. Review your insurance policy
Once a year, look over your homeowner’s policy to make sure it:
- offers the coverage you need
- covers weather hazards specific to your region
- includes enough coverage for your valuables
If your situation has changed, you may need to update your coverage so don’t hesitate to contact your insurance company.
For more on this topic, visit:
Home maintenance schedule (PDF)
Is your home insurance up to date? (PDF)
These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only. They are general in nature, and The Personal cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.