As many flock to warmer climates to escape the sometimes punishing Manitoba winter, experts are reminding homeowners to protect their property before jumping on a flight.

Kelly Melchor, executive director with Winnipeg Insurance Brokers Ltd. said the main way to protect yourself and your home is to have property insurance that has been renewed. She also recommends brushing up on what your plan does and does not cover, and what provisions apply.

“Sometimes there’s provisions, such as needing to have someone physically attend your property every day. So if you happen to need to make a claim down the road, and you haven’t followed this provision, you can run into challenges,” she said in an interview on CTV Morning Live Winnipeg on Monday.

Additionally, Melchor recommends unplugging any unnecessary appliances to save on energy costs, and minimize the risk of fire. Similarly, turning off water valves can avoid pipes bursting or flooding.

She also said it’s important to give the illusion from the outside that someone is home. That includes having your snow cleared in the winter and your lawn mowed in the summer, and having someone collect your mail so it doesn’t stack up.

Melchor also recommends letting a trusted neighbour know when you are away, so they can watch for suspicious activity.

Another thing to avoid—posting on social media.

Adding vacation pictures or updates to your feed can let unwanted intruders know your home is empty.

“Maybe wait to post that until when you’re back from your holiday,” she said.

If homeowners want to make sure all their bases are covered, Melchor recommends calling your insurance company before hitting the road.

“Winnipeg Insurance has a blog that outlines a lot of these types of ideas for you to think of, as well, so just do your research and plan ahead,” she said.

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