Category Archives: Seasonal Tips

Aboriginal Insurance Services

Protect property from snow and ice damage

As we head into the winter months, many parts of this country will be covered and affected by snow and ice. It is important to be fully prepared in case of any winter disasters such as hail storms or flooding due to melting ice, to alleviate any stresses to yourself as a homeowner. A typical homeowner’s insurance policy will include protection due to ice-related damage, however there are things as a homeowner that you should keep in mind to protect your home. Some key protection factors that are important to remember are:

Hail

Hail can be seriously damaging to the roof and windows of your home. Most insurance policies include dwelling coverage, which may help protect your home against hail or other ice related incidences. However, hail can also cause damage to other parts of your property such as an unattached garage or shed. As these weather situations can occur at any time, it is a good idea to check with your insurance company as to what your policy entails before it happens.

Aboriginal Insurance Services - Hail Damage

Hail can also seriously damage your vehicle. This is a good time of year to get rid of anything unwanted and clear your garage of clutter so that you are able to park your vehicle inside.

Not only will you be certain that your vehicle will be safe and free of hail damage should a storm occur, but you will also get into a car free of snow and ice, making it easier on you.

Roof Collapse

During the coldest months of the year, ice can form and build up on your roof which can cause damaging problems. A roof collapse can occur when the roof can no longer bear the weight of the ice and snow on it. You may be able to prevent a roof collapse from happening by taking some preventative measures as a homeowner such as keeping your gutters clean and free of debris as well as snow and ice and removing snow and ice from your roof as needed. You could also hire a professional to clean the gutters and roof for you to ensure it is safe and that no damage will be caused to your home.

Ice Dams

An ice dam can occur when ice forms on the edge of a roof and prevents any melting water from running off. When water gets blocked up against the ice dam, it may start to leak through the roof and cause water damage. However, some routine maintenance on your home can help prevent this kind damage.

Aboriginal Insurance Services - winter property tips - ice dam

Keeping your gutters clean and checking for any already possible ice dams so that water can flow freely, will help in preventing any destruction from an ice dam. Also ensuring that your attic is properly insulated and ventilated will prevent heat from inside the home escaping into the attic and causing the snow and ice on the roof to melt.

A roofing contractor will be able to provide these services to you.

Frozen and Burst Pipes

The risk of your pipes freezing and bursting increases when temperatures drop below freezing. At a temperature of 0 degrees, even for a short period, you run the risk of a pipe fracture or worse. To ensure your pipes do not freeze, it is important to properly maintain the temperature inside the house. A routine check of the pipes in the house is also a good way to ensure there is no potential for damage. Anywhere cold air blows on a pipe, it creates the ability for freezing. To make sure your pipes stay well insulated, close crawl space vents and stuff insulation over the openings. Be sure to fill in all cracks, as even a tiny hole can allow for a lot of cold air to blow in.

Ice Related Injuries

Ice on the ground can sometimes be difficult to see and can result in injury. Take preventative caution by keeping a bucket of salt or sand near any walkways, driveways and outdoor stairwells. Easy accessibility to these items will ensure that they get used. Salt melts the ice whereas sand does not. Sand is an abrasive material and therefore is usually applied to icy roads to provide traction at any temperature. Salt is not as effective in extreme cold, but sand is only effective if it is on the surface of the ice. Excessive amounts of these materials may end up collecting into the drainage areas, so a good clean up of sand and salt after a storm is important or you may have a problem when spring arrives. When it comes down to it, the best way to prevent ice building up is to keep the snow off your driveway or walkway so that it won’t compact and freeze. Be sure to keep a shovel nearby to use early and often.

Liability coverage typically comes with homeowners insurance. This type of insurance is beneficial if you are found legally responsible after someone has injured themselves on your property. As you prepare for another cold and sometimes nasty winter, take the time to call your insurance company and discuss the information regarding your insurance policy. This will help you to better understand your policy as well as make any changes you may need. You will have a better peace of mind throughout the season knowing these protections are in place.

Aboriginal Insurance Services - Towing a Trailer in Canada

Towing Recreational Trailers in Canada

Summer is definitely the time for trips, travel, and towing.

Whether your trailer is a recreational camper, a pop-up sleeper, an equipment trailer or just for hauling loads to the dump, you need to know the rules, regulations, and requirements for your province or territory.

There are many different types of recreational trailers that could be towed by a vehicle:

  • Travel trailer
  • 5th wheel
  • Campers
  • Tent trailer
  • Toy hauler (for things like ATVs, snowmobiles and dirt bikes)
  • Park model
  • Boat trailer

Trailers must be registered and licensed before they can be used on the road.

In Canada, regulations for towing trailers differ across the country, from province to territory. The only common ground that is agreed upon across the nation is that trailers cannot be more than 8 feet, 5 inches wide (2.4 metres), and that trailers require working tail lights, brake lights, reflectors, and turn signals.

Maximum weight for trailers without brakes differs across the country, as do the rules on maximum heights allowed for a trailer. Safety chains are required across the country except in the Northwest Territories.

Know your vehicle before you tow

Before you tow any type of trailer, recreational or other, be sure to consider the condition of your vehicle. It doesn’t matter if you are towing a fifth-wheel, or a pop-up camper, you need to ensure your vehicle is capable of towing the trailer and the load within the trailer. While most mid-sized vehicles (cars, mini-vans, and light-duty pickup trucks) can pull a trailer, they cannot pull ALL trailers.

Aboriginal Insurance Services - Tips for Towing a Trailer in Canada

Towing a trailer that is heavier than the recommended weight provided by the car manufacturer can seriously damage your vehicle, and even void your warranty. Always check the manufacturers GCWR (gross combined weight rating) before towing anything.

You also need to make sure you have the right type of towing hitch. When purchasing a hitch, you need to know details such as the height and weight of the trailer, and the type of brakes the trailer has.

Always secure the load, and remember to balance the weight.

It is also important to remember load balancing when it comes to trailers. Always store heavy items low, and lightweight items high. Keeping the center of gravity low helps to minimize sway and wobble in a trailer. Make sure that all heavy items cannot slide around. Balance the weight of the load in the center between the two sides of the trailer, and place the heaviest items towards the front. A good rule of thumb is to keep 60% of the weight of the cargo in the front half of the trailer, but no more than 10% of the weight over the tongue.

For trailers up to 2,000lbs, no more than 200 pounds over the tongue
For trailers over 2,000lbs, tongue load should be only 10-15 percent
For fifth-wheel trailers, tongue load should be no more than 25%

Check and recheck your load is balanced and secure frequently throughout your trip. This is especially necessary for long drives or bumpy road conditions where items may shift or become loose.

Practice, practice, practice!

Towing a trailer also requires knowhow and skill. Almost half of the reported collisions from drivers towing a trailer are single-vehicle accidents, not caused by other drivers, but by the driver towing the trailer themselves. Another 20% were rear-end collisions because vehicles towing trailers require a greater distance to stop. In cases where it was determined that the driver was at fault, 30% of the accidents happened because the driver “lost control” of the vehicle.

Before driving off with a trailer in tow, practice in a safe area. Do a circle check to make sure all the lights, brake lights, and turn signals are working. Adjust your mirrors. And practice turning and backing up in a nice wide-open safe area. Remember, backing up is the most difficult part of maneuvering a trailer.

Towing also requires more time to accelerate, merge, brake, and turn.

Trailers and Insurance

Aboriginal Insurance Services - Towing a Trailer in CanadaTruck campers, pop-up tent trailers, equipment trailers, and any other type of trailer that is not drivable on its own (requires towing by a truck or other vehicle) can be insured by your auto insurance policy. However, there are limitations so be sure to check with your insurance company before you tow them. Many policies will automatically cover damage done by your trailer (liability), but they do not cover damage done to your trailer without an additional coverage option. These added coverages can be as low as a few dollars a month.

Contents of your trailer are normally covered under your home or renter’s insurance policy, which should provide for your belongings (no matter where they are located). There may be limits to the value of the coverage when it comes to towing, so be sure to check with your insurance company.

Larger travel trailers are a big investment, and should be considered for their own insurance policy. They can be added to your automobile policy, but with limitations.

A motor home or RV is not the same as a travel trailer. Because a motor home can be driven on its own (independently of other vehicles) it requires its own insurance policy.

With boat trailers, the trailer should be covered under your auto insurance. Some insurance policies do automatically cover boats up to a certain length.

Recreational Trailer Resource Links

Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada
RV Regulations for Maximum Dimensions, Towing, and Safety
Brake Requirements
License Regulations

Transport Canada
Lighting equipment list and location requirements(downloadable PDF)

Camping Canada
Recreational Towing Regulations by Province or Territory