News & Resources

Keep Busy, Protect Your Home, and Reset Your Life During COVID-19 Isolation

April 23, 20
4 mins
A professional woman working from home takes notes from her laptop screen

Don’t deny it. You’re bored.

You’re fed up with the COVID-19 lockdown, of not having anywhere to go or anything to do. My wife has begun repainting the furniture. If you stop moving, even briefly in our house, you will get a coat of paint.

Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to pass the hours in isolation in a more productive fashion than playing Candy Crush on your mobile phone. It is a rare opportunity: A spring when you can genuinely improve your home, prevent the most common home insurance claims, and set yourself up for a healthy, and organized lifestyle once the chains are loosened.

Spring Cleaning: A Chance to Improve Your Living Environment

Everybody talks about it, but how many of us do it? There’s no excuse this year.

Declutter the closet of the golf shirts you haven’t worn in five years. Collect your electronic waste to put out on pickup day. Clean the places you don’t have time to in the rest of the year — mouldings, trim, blinds, door frames. Deal with the dank corners of the bathroom. While you’re at it, make a list of projects that need attention: The room that needs painting, door hardware that should be replaced, new window coverings, that sort of thing. As a homeowner, you are required to perform regular maintenance on your home and property.

Which begs the question: do you know what your home insurance policy covers? With a comprehensive policy, it might surprise you to learn about a few things for which you have coverage.

Kitchen Cooking: The No. 1 Cause of Home Fires

It can be hard in the nine-to-five rush to spend time feeding yourself properly. Here’s a chance to see that it’s not so hard and it doesn’t take that much time to eat homecooked.

Interestingly, home breadmaking is trending so high that there are periodic flour shortages at grocery stores.

Try an online cooking course, or experiment with online recipes or just combinations of ingredients you haven’t tried. Make salsa from tomatoes, onion, coriander, lime juice and whatever else to liven up the party.

And while you’re at it, make sure to inspect the functional aspects of your kitchen. Do your exhaust filters need cleaning or replacement? Is your fire extinguisher still charged? (You don’t have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen? Get a fire extinguisher.) Dirty ovens are dangerous — clean them. Take a look at the fuse box; you might have to replace a fuse if it’s looking stressed.

According to the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management in Ontario, of the ignition source of residential fire losses between 2013 and 2017, 18% were the result of cooking (the most significant factor). Electrical wiring accounted for 9%, 8% were due to heating and cooling, 7% are attributed to cigarettes and smoking, and 5% were because of appliances.

Discover Your Green Thumb

April has the most unpredictable weather of the year, so it’s hard to guess when the last frost will be. In the meantime, get a head start by growing your seedlings in the window or under a grow light. Microgreens (like radish and mustard) are the new fad, and they’re not as complicated as they sound.

Herbs like basil, coriander, mint and oregano have a great ROEI (Return On Energy Invested) — they can be expensive at the grocery store but will flourish quite nicely even indoors. And by the way, when you’ve used your green onions down to the bulb, plant the bulb. They will regenerate three or four times.

While you’re out puttering, you can also assess the state of your property. Has the direction of the runoff changed over the winter? Does the fence need painting? Do your eaves need cleaning? Is your foundation showing signs of stress? Window and door frames are excellent indicators of the overall health of your home. If doors stick or window frames show gaps, you might want to have a professional evaluate your foundation and structure of your home.

Some of the most common exterior home insurance claims include:

  • Weather: wind and hail. Most home insurance policies will cover you for wind and hail. But talk to your broker to make sure you don’t need to add extra coverage for wind and hail to your policy.
  • Theft. Most policies will cover theft. But make sure you have an updated contents list of the items in your house to ensure you get paid the right amount if you need to file a claim.
  • Flooding. You may be surprised to learn your home insurance policy may not cover flooding.

Get Off the Couch and Get Fit

It’s easy under the circumstances to get lazy. It’s just as easy, though, to take this opportunity to tone and sculpt.

You don’t need a full-scale home gym. A couple of dumbbells and resistance bands can do wonders. You can give yourself a full-body workout with just a towel. There are almost as many websites that offer free fitness instruction as those that post cat videos. Take the time to establish a fitness routine that will still be practical when you eventually go back to the nine-to-five grind.

You’ve been on the go constantly for years. How many times have you said you needed a reset? Here’s your opportunity.

Dave Webb

Dave Webb is a writer and editor of 30 years’ experience. He has written about municipal politics, conservation issues, information technology, medical technology, music, and the manmade diamond industry along with insurance. And some sports. He is also an avid semi-professional roots musician. He lives in Toronto.

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