10 tips for your clients leaving on summer vacation

Undetected water damage can cause big problems in the summer

If you thought burst pipes only happened in winter, think again.

“It’s hard to imagine at the moment with the current temperatures,” says Iris Handke, Managing Director of AXA ART in Canada in an interview with Canadian Insurance Top Broker. But it does happen. “Pipes don’t always need frost to burst. We’ve had people come back from their holidays and discover their house is an inch deep in water.”

Handke explains that water damage that occurs in the summer can be compounded by mould that results from seasonal humidity, especially if the water damage occurs on Day Two of a two-week absence. “Mould goes hand in hand with high temperatures,” she says.

Read: Burglaries spike during summer months, says Aviva

For brokers with clients leaving for summer vacation, Handke offers a simple tip.

“Maybe you have a neighbour or family member living around the corner that owes you a favour. In addition to picking up the mail so that your mailbox is not overflowing and your house doesn’t look abandoned, have them open the door and check that everything’s still there and also that there wasn’t a leak from the roof, the pipes, anywhere. Because water is a sneaky thing.”

Read: 10 summer road safety tips

Here are some additional tips brokers can offer to their clients getting ready to leave the house for summer fun:

*   Be sure to secure your property. Lock all doors and windows.
*   Place highly valued items in adequate storage.
*   Cancel newspaper deliveries.
*   Ask a family member or trusted neighbor to take away mail.

In addition, AXA offers the following tips for art collectors to avoid problems with bugs in the house before departing on vacation:

*   Clean kitchen appliances, cabinets and countertops and dry all surfaces.
*   Dispose of fresh or opened perishable foods, including cereals, pasta, etc.
*   Clean out refrigerators and freezers.
*   Clean dishwasher interior and filter.
*   Thoroughly clean bathroom fixtures, surfaces, and wash all bath towels.
*   Turn off the water to the washing machine and the hot water heater.

AXA also notes that extremes in temperature and humidity can cause multiple types of damage to works of art, including warping, quickened deterioration, mould or mildew. A temperature and humidity monitoring thermostat can help to avoid these problems. For the technophile, look for a system which can be read and adjusted remotely via a handheld device. Consistency is the key to conservation. A general guideline is to maintain a humidity level between 35-50 per cent and a temperature of 18°C to 24°C throughout the year.

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