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Time for Snowbirds to Fly South


For many farms, this has been a year of unique challenges.  In a recent discussion with a friend, I asked if this year was like others he has experienced before.  He advised that he has not grown a crop with so many variables and volatility, all teetering on the verge of chaos at the same time.  Here, in many parts of Manitoba, excessive moisture, bugs, disease, crop maturing unevenly with the potential for an early frost, mixed with the rise and fall of commodity prices, fertilizer costs being at an all-time high, and if that is not enough, the looming threat and uncertainty of climate action requirements for farms and the suggested “voluntary” fertilizer reduction looming in the future.  If that does not make you want to take a vacation, you have thick skin!

As I was driving to work this morning, I saw the first motorhome pulling an SUV with two brand new bikes attached, ready to experience warmer temperatures for the winter.  I imagine they had their motorhome filled with their Hawaiian shirt collections and a different colored pair of crocs for each day of the week. I hope they are still reading the Agri Post while on vacation so that they can catch these suggestions on how to protect their property while they are away during the winter.

Insurance policies have requirements on how often your dwelling is checked while you are away during the heating season.  For most insurers, this becomes a daily requirement after the first few days of vacancy.  This is due to the added risks of your property being unattended while you are away.  One common claim that happens all too often is water damage from frozen pipes after a heating system failure or power outage.  This is a major concern for insurers when dwellings are left unattended for a period.  Because of this exposure, most insurers require your dwelling be checked daily to ensure that the heating system is still active.

There are exceptions to this requirement, such as shutting off your water and draining all water lines and appliances of water, installing a monitored temperature alarm, or having a competent person stay in your residence for the time that you are away.  There is also a growing market of businesses that provide home watch services that will check on your residence daily and provide updates for your peace of mind and to satisfy your insurer’s requirements for your dwelling.

Theft and vandalism are also growing concerns when a dwelling is left unattended and obviously vacant for a long period, and while it can be an effective method of stopping unwanted traffic in your yard, having 6-foot snowdrifts across the driveway is not an accepted form of security.

So, before you go, double check the insurance requirements with your broker to make sure that you are doing what is required to maintain your coverage.  While you are talking to them, they can likely help you with your travel and rental car insurance requirements as well, leaving you with the peace of mind to forget about the challenges of the crop you have wrestled into the bin and allowing you the Hawaiian shirt time that you have earned after a challenging year.

At Rempel Insurance Brokers, we specialize in farm, commercial and transportation insurance. Our team is also proud to provide you with options and advice for your home and condo insurance, travel insurance and rental car insurance.

David Schmidt is an Account Executive at Rempel Insurance Brokers in Morris, MB, specializing in insuring farms and businesses across Manitoba and Saskatchewan. 

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