Read Your Home Insurance Renewal Notices

My home insurance is coming up for renewal in a few weeks, and my insurer was kind enough to send a letter saying, “You better read how our water damage coverage is changing”, so I was warned, and thus I read over all of my coverage that showed up with my renewal documentation.

My sewer backup coverage is now being capped at $15,000 seems to be the major change to things. To quote what I was sent exactly:

“… We adjusted this amount in response to a sharp increase in the number and total cost of water damage claims in recent years, due to climate change and aging infrastructure…”

Nice, so there are arguments going on all over the world about climate change and such, but my Insurance company has embraced it as a fact and are changing my premiums due to it. It seems almost like Miracle on 34th Street (the original version), if Insurance companies think Climate Change is important enough to change my coverage, it must be true! (OK, I digress, and apologies for the sarcasm for the lovers of old movies too).

It is also a damning statement about the City of Ottawa’s infrastructure that it is mentioned specifically as another reason they think sewer backups are more likely as well.

OK fine, given the number of floods I have seen in Canada, it’s not really that surprising (it’s still annoying as a consumer, but then again, all I can do is shop around and call to see if this can be dealt with to my satisfaction).

My insurance company also seems to think that I have a crappy old roof, as they are removing the “… Weight of ice, snow or sleet — Ice Damming — Roof Water Damage Endorsement…” as well. I am pretty sure my roof was redone in 2006 (see writing a blog gives you a wonderful records keeping option as well), so I will call to see if they were aware of that, since I am not sure I told them either. I can’t believe that an 8 year old roof is now viewed as a risk in their eyes, but I need to call and confirm that with them.

I guess I should tell them about all the upgrades I have done as well (upgrades? not really, I just replaced the windows, heating and air conditioner as well).

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Free Furnace Inspections

At our previous house there was an interesting tactic used by Furnace companies that I must tell folks about.

Our house, at the time, was part of a larger development where most of the houses

These can be very expensive!

These can be very expensive!

were built by the same builder and about the same time. The Furnace Repair companies knew what kind of furnace was installed in most of the houses, and knew of a fault in the design of these furnaces which caused the Aluminum heat exchanger to crack prematurely (i.e. but still long after any warranty on the furnace).

The furnace companies had a neat trick, where they would offer folks a Cheap Furnace Cleaning and a Free Furnace inspection. Inevitably the free inspection was done first and if the furnace did have a cracked heat exchanger it was “red tagged” (i.e. turned off and not allowed to be turned on again until repaired or replaced) and then the chap who did the inspection would then say that his company couldn’t repair the problem and the furnace would need to be replaced. As a matter of coincidence this same company sold furnaces as well, and you can guess how the story might end.

Was it dishonest ? Well I fell for it, and ended up having to get a new furnace, thanks to this fun bit of “salesmanship”.

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The Perils of Home Ownership

This past weekend, my wife and I had a small crisis with our house, which made me again wonder if renting a home might not have been simpler at the end of it all. Every year you must to turn off the spigot in the garage (and maybe in the back of your house) in the fall, or it may freeze up and crack. Last year I forgot to do this and sure enough something in the pipes split and we ended up with a fair amount of water in the basement. It wasn’t enough to worry about an Insurance Claim, but it was one hell of a mess.

I Should Have Turned THIS off in the Fall

I Should Have Turned THIS off in the Fall

Michael James has railed and lampooned me for what a huge mess I have in my basement, well, I can assure him that there is a lot less mess, because we have had to throw out a great deal of stuff that was in cardboard boxes  (and that should have been thrown out a long time ago).

It’s interesting the things that I found down there, such as:

  • Tax Returns going back to 1981 (I am destroying those not of this century).
  • Lots of art work from our kids (who are all at University). Strangely for my 8 year old son we don’t have any art work.


Anyhow, the moral of this story is many fold so let me count it (as is my love of numbered lists):

  1. Turn off the interior faucet (if you have one) for your outside faucets (and if you don’t have an interior cut off, you might want to get one).
  2. If your basement is full of cardboard boxes sitting on the floor, you mustn’t care much about what is in there because it doesn’t take much water to destroy those.
  3. Go through your records and only keep those things that are needed (32-year-old tax returns are not needed, except for a good laugh about how much I made as a co-op student).
  4. If you hear water running in your house, but you can’t find any open faucets, check your basement FIRST.
  5. Always know where the water shut off is for your house (and if you need a wrench or vice grips to shut it off, have one near by).

My, that was an interesting weekend.

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Garage Sale Ideas

A Blast from when L’il C8j was a wee lad…

Well, as a parent of a 1-year-old, I have a slight advantage, in that we didn’t throw out a lot of stuff from his older sisters (my oldest is 16 years old). This means I have over 100 “retro” VHS videos that my son now watches, that I am sure are not available on DVD. If you go to garage sales these days you will usually find a VHS video player and/or a collection of VHS tapes, for next to nothing. Now the problem with the tapes is they do wear over age (I have noticed this with “Barney in Concert” :-), so you have to be careful or willing to blow $1 to maybe get a gem for you or your kids.

My next investment might be a DVD recorder, to transpose my 8mm Video tapes to DVD. Now remember that burnable DVD’s lifespan is not unlimited (I thought I read 10 years somewhere), but they are less likely to “snap”, “stretch” or “jam” than a tape.

One more thing to remember, is if you buy stuff at a Garage sale, you SHOULD throw out as much stuff in your house, just to make sure your house doesn’t become a junk heap! We got rid of about 8 garbage bags full of clothes (some given to friends, most donated to various organizations). Don’t let your house get cluttered!

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