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Heading south this winter? Protect your home

With winter just around the corner, many Canadians are starting to pack up for their annual trip down south. Taking an extended winter vacation is a welcome escape from cold weather, but before hitting the road, there are a few steps snowbirds should take to protect their homes while they’re away.

“No one wants to come home from vacation to an unwelcome surprise,” says Henry Blumenthal, Vice President and Chief Underwriter, TD Insurance. “Whether you’re going away for a week or several months, taking a few precautions before you leave can help save you from potential headaches.”

TD Insurance offers the following advice for snowbirds leaving their homes this winter:

Invest in an alarm system: The best deterrent for burglars is an alarm system. Although alarms require an upfront investment, you can often take advantage of lower home insurance premiums if your home is equipped with one.

Get the lived-in look: An obvious sign that nobody is home is a full mailbox and a snow-covered walk. Ask a friend or hire a young person in the neighbourhood to pick up your mail and shovel your driveway so that it looks like someone is home.

Shut down and unplug: Before you lock up, shut off the main water supply to your home and remember to drain the pipes to ensure that water pipes don’t freeze. You should also unplug electrical appliances and computers so that they are not damaged if there is a power surge.

“It’s also important to keep an updated inventory of your valuables so that it’s easier to identify what has been lost if you do have to make a claim,” adds Blumenthal. “The easiest way to do this is to take pictures of everything and send them to your insurer for safe keeping.”

More information is available online at, or toll-free at 1-888-788-0839.