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Insurance tips for a safe holiday

The holiday season is here. For many, this could mean hosting holiday house parties, shopping for gifts online or heading away to escape Canada’s cold weather. We go over why insurance plays a role in all of these scenarios.

Hosting holiday parties

The safety of guests is the homeowner’s responsibility. If a guest becomes injured on the homeowner’s property, the homeowner could be sued for damages. Additionally, if alcohol is served and a guest drives home impaired, the homeowner could be held accountable for damages caused by the guest. If these scenarios occurred, a homeowner’s personal liability insurance could help with legal expenses. A BrokerLink broker can review a host’s home insurance to explain their amount of personal liability insurance, limitations of the coverage and suggest ways to enhance the coverage.

To ensure the safety of their guests, it’s important hosts do the following:

  • Remove ice and snow from the walkway to the home.
  • Ensure holiday décor is not a tripping hazard, or preventing safe movement in the home.
  • Provide guests a safe ride home if alcohol is served. This could include calling the guest a taxi, having the guest stay overnight or guests using rideshares.
  • Never serve alcohol to minors. This is a criminal offence and if it occurred, the host’s personal liability insurance may not provide coverage for legal expenses.

 Leaving home for the holidays 

For homeowners who will travel during the holidays, it’s important to know how often their property needs to be checked while they’re away. A BrokerLink broker will be able to review a homeowner’s policy to determine this time frame.  If a homeowner does not have their property regularly checked and something occurred, such as a flood, their insurance many not cover repair costs. We recommend homeowners assign someone, such a as a friend or family member, to check their property on a daily basis. In addition to inspecting the inside of the home, this would also include shovelling snow and removing mail.

Shopping online for gifts 

While it can be an efficient way to shop, online shopping can be an opportunity for identity-theft scams. This could occur if someone is purchasing through a website which is not secured (secure websites start with “https” at the beginning of address), providing personal information in an online form or purchasing on low-security networks, such as public WiFi. When purchasing gifts online, do the following:

  •  Check antivirus and anti-spyware software on a laptop or mobile device to ensure it’s updated.
  • Purchase using on a secure internet network.
  • Go to secure websites (with “https”) to shop.
  • Never submit personal information or click on a link which requests personal information. This could appear in an email message received after a purchase.

If a person’s identity is stolen, there could be costs to regain it, such as legal fees. Identity theft insurance could help if this occurred. A BrokerLink broker can advise on the type of identity theft insurance which would be the best fit.

More holiday tips

Get stoked: fireplace safety

The holidays can also involve getting a fireplace ready for use. Learn how to maintain wood-burning or gas fireplaces.

Safely social: know when to post

For homeowners who go on vacation for the holidays, and share photos on social networks, this could be an opportunity for break-ins. Take a look at our tips on how to safely share on social media when it comes to vacations.

Plan ahead: call BrokerLink

Whether it’s hosting a holiday party, buying gifts online or understanding home insurance before going on vacation, homeowners can learn how to protect what’s important to them by calling a BrokerLink broker. Our brokers can help them understand their current coverage, which can help in taking measures to reduce unexpected surprises – such as reviewing personal liability insurance before a holiday house party, so they’re aware of coverage limitations. In addition to reviewing their coverage, part of protecting a home involves maintenance. Homeowners can learn over 20 easy home-maintenance tips through BrokerLink’s Home in 360 virtual tour.  We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday.