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Simple ways to winterproof your home and vehicle for the season

Winter is upon us and, with it, the usual mix of extreme temperatures, powerful storms, power outages and all-around challenging conditions. While we’re accustomed to the harsh climate (We’re Canadian, after all!) and when it comes to winter preparedness for our homes and cars, many of us falter. Let’s go back to the “better safe than sorry” mantra this year with simple winterproofing guidelines for your home and car from belairdirect.

Shift into winter mode
Avoiding the roads during a snowstorm is always the best plan, but it’s not always realistic. Indeed, you’re likely to face some gnarly roads at least a few times throughout the winter. The most important thing you’ll do to keep yourself and others safe on the road is outfitting your vehicle with winter tires designed to improve traction in snowy, icy conditions. Hint: If you’re buying new tires, look for ones marked with the snowflake logo. If you’re installing last year’s tires, be sure to check their tread to make sure the tires are still in good shape. A routine vehicle maintenance check is always advisable, as is changing your wiper blades. Finally, always keep your windshield-washer tank full—plus a spare tire and spare windshield-washer container in the trunk. Stock your car with an emergency preparedness kit (jumper cables, traction grills, a shovel and some blankets, for starters) – essential in the event of a breakdown or accident.

If you’re stranded, stay in your car and call for help! Some insurance providers, including belairdirect, provide roadside-assistance programs. Services vary, but they may include everything from changing tires and unlocking doors to delivering gas, towing, and boosting the battery.

Stay off the road (or opt for public transit)
Few things cause more anxiety than being in a traffic jam—except maybe driving during a snowstorm. Do you have to leave home for work or an appointment? Always check the weather and traffic reports before stepping out the door. It’ll help you decide to add a layer of clothing if the temperature is predicted to drop but will also let you know if road conditions are bad enough to consider choosing public transit. In extreme conditions, more and more employers offer the opportunity to work remotely when technology permits, so why not talk to your boss about this option?

Protect your home
Your home should be a haven of comfort and warmth—especially through the winter months. Before the deep freeze descends, call in the pros to have your furnace serviced and, if you have a fireplace, your chimney swept. Check that gutters are clear (obstructions can cause leaks during a thaw) and that roof shingles are intact. Want to save on utility bills? This is a good time to switch to smart thermostats that can be programmed remotely. Also, check and eliminate any drafts around windows and doors. Finally, devote a spot in your home—be it a shelf, drawer or well-identified storage box tucked into a closet—for an emergency preparedness kit stocked with basic essentials including flashlights, batteries and bottled water.

Looking for more tips and tricks to protect your car and home this winter? Visit belairdirect.com to learn more about its simple and comprehensive insurance offers, and follow @belairdirect on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Belairdirect is a Canadian insurance provider offering comprehensive home and auto insurance solutions. Committed to simplifying insurance for its customers, belairdirect helps people protect the things they care about. Available 24/7 on the phone, online or through the app, belairdirect also offers a wide range of options and flexible payment methods to suit varying needs. With more than 60 years of experience in home and auto insurance, belairdirect is proud to provide policies for Canadians’ insurance needs.

Warning!
Exercise extreme caution at all times, and especially during a power outage. Be attentive to fire prevention and safety. Is your smoke detector functional? Are candles being used safely and under surveillance? Under no circumstances should fuel-burning auxiliary heaters, lights, generators or portable stoves designed for outdoor use be used inside. Because they emit carbon monoxide that isn’t evacuated through a chimney, they pose serious asphyxiation and poisoning risks
Did you know? #1
Because its freezing point is -60°C, it is highly unlikely that gasoline will freeze in your tank, even during cold snaps. Diesel, on the other hand, can only withstand temperatures in the -15°C to -20°C range.
Did you know? #2
For extra safety (and for the sake of Santa’s suit), it is recommended that you sweep your chimney annually. In certain municipalities, it’s actually the law check your city’s bylaws for more information.