How To Help Prevent Frozen Pipes

How To Help Prevent Frozen Pipes

Frozen pipes can present an invisible threat – one that you might not recognize until the weather starts to warm. By then, the water damage can be significant and costly. Fortunately, keeping your home warmer, at a consistent temperature, and better insulated can help protect your pipes from freezing this winter.

Which Pipes Are Most at Risk?

Pipes that are most exposed to the elements, including those outdoors and along the exterior walls of your home, may need extra protection during winter months. These include the following:

  • Outdoor hose hookups and faucets.
  • Swimming pool supply lines.
  • Lawn sprinkler lines.
  • Water pipes in unheated, interior locations such as basements, crawl spaces, attics, garages and kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
  • Pipes running against exterior walls with little or no insulation.

How to Help Prevent Frozen Pipes

Before winter:

  • Check your home for areas where water pipes are located in unheated or poorly insulated areas. Be sure to check your basement, attic, crawl space, garage and within cabinets containing plumbing. Hot and cold water pipes should both be insulated.
  • Products such as pipe sleeves or UL-listed heat tape or heat cable can help insulate or heat exposed water pipes.

During winter:

  • Close inside valves supplying water to outdoor faucets and hookups.
  • Open outdoor faucets to allow residual water to drain; be sure to keep them open during the cold weather months, while the water supply is turned off.
  • Keep garage doors closed to help protect water pipes located in the garage.
  • Open the doors on cabinets where plumbing is located. This can help allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes.
  • For pipes that are at risk of freezing (both hot and cold water pipes), let water drip from faucets.
  • Keep the heat in your home set at a minimum of 55 degrees.

Why is a Frozen Pipe a Concern?

When water begins to freeze, it expands. This can cause both plastic and metal pipes to burst, possibly leading to significant water damage to your home.

  • Since water expands when it freezes, it puts unwanted pressure on pipes.
  • As water freezes, the force exerted from the expansion can cause a pipe to burst, regardless of the strength of the material.
  • You may not know you have a burst pipe as the water has turned to ice. Once the temperature starts to warm and thawing begins, leaking and flooding can occur.

What Do You Do if You Have a Frozen Pipe?

  • If you have a leak, turn the water off immediately to prevent water damage and call a licensed plumber to make repairs. If your home is heated by an older steam heating system, consult with your heating professional to determine if it is safe to continue to run the heating system with the water supply turned off for your particular heating system.

Is Your Home Insured to Its Replacement Cost ?

Is Your Home Insured to Its Replacement Cost ?

If you lost your home in a fire, how much would it cost to rebuild it? The answer may be different than you think. And if your home isn’t insured to its full replacement cost, your homeowners policy may not cover the full cost for you to rebuild it in the event of a covered loss.

Rebuilding costs could differ from what you paid for your home and be more than its current market value – what it would sell for today – especially in areas where the value of real estate has changed. A replacement estimate includes costs to rebuild your home component by component. Current costs for labor, materials and contractor fees may influence the replacement cost of your house.

Some key factors that affect the cost of rebuilding a home:

  • Total living area (square footage).
  • Style of home (e.g., ranch, contemporary, colonial).
  • Construction type (e.g., frame or brick).
  • Number of kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Quality of custom materials.
  • Garage type (e.g., attached, detached, built-in).
  • Special features (e.g., fireplaces, porches, skylights).
  • Additions or enhancements (e.g., finished basements or in-law apartments).

It’s important to have a current estimate for your home’s replacement cost, one that reflects any significant improvements that you have made to the house. For example, if you installed a central air conditioner or finished your basement after you took out your insurance policy and never updated the replacement cost, your home might not be fully covered in the event that you need to completely rebuild following a covered loss.

Here are some steps that you can take:

  • Talk to your agent or insurance representative about the dwelling coverage on your homeowners insurance policy.
  • Talk to your agent or insurance representative who have tools to help estimate your home’s replacement cost.
  • Check in on your home’s replacement cost yearly, especially after making improvements to your home. Remember, even small improvements can affect the cost to rebuild your home.

Making sure that your home is insured to its full estimated replacement cost is another way to help protect your home and the things you’ve worked hard to build.


Cookies For Coats & Coats For Kids

Cookies For Coats & Coats For Kids

Thank You For Your Generosity!

Donnell Insurance had another amazing year for our Cookies for Coats & Coats for Kids Campaigns!

We would like to thank you all for your continued support and commitment in making these campaigns such a great success.
We have our final numbers for 2017…

Our Coats for Kids Campaign collected a total of 701 coats.
Thank you Burlington High Schools for your tremendous support !!
Eight high schools have qualified to receive a $1,000 scholarship for a graduating student.

406 gently used coats were dropped off at our office for our Cookies For Coats campaign.
We were overwhelmed with the support of our clients, community, friends and relatives.

The Cocktails for Coats party was the most successful to date. 212 coats were donated!
Thank you Jake’s Grill and Oyster House for hosting the event. We would like to acknowledge all the amazing guests that were in attendance. Your contributions allowed us to raise an additional $15,000 which was directly donated to the Salvation Army.

Thank You to all who participated this year!!

Captain Dean Photodsfsfs


What is “Host Liquor Liability”

What is “Host Liquor Liability”

Why Should I be concerned with Host Liquor Liability?

Liquor is usually available to most of us on a regular basis. It’s there at dinner parties, barbeques, birthdays, weddings and other special events like banquets, awards ceremonies and charity fundraisers. Whether you are an individual or a corporation, as soon as you become the “host”, you suddenly have the burden of responsibility to ensure that nothing bad happens as a result of being connected to the supply of that alcohol.

‘Host Liquor Liability’ refers to your ‘responsibility’ when you are considered the ‘host’ providing and/or serving liquor to others. If property is damaged or worse, someone is injured or killed and a court of law decided that you were somehow involved by virtue of the “event” you hosted where liquor was available, you could find yourself in a whole heap of trouble.

Businesses need to ensure that their broker is aware of all the activities and operations of their business, including any event hosting or fundraising, etc. Provided that the insurance company is aware of these activities, and you have met the requirements of the insurance policy, then the liability coverage should respond. Make sure you have adequate limits of coverage. Depending on the nature of your business operations, your policy might specifically exclude liquor liability. If you are an individual, then your property insurance policy may or may not cover you adequately.

There is a way to avoid compromising future premiums or insurability as a result of having a liquor liability claim on your policy. There are ‘Special Event’ policies that can be obtained for your specific occasion that will provide exactly what you need. These policies are a non-renewing, one time coverage for a specified period usually at reasonable premiums. This way, if there is a claim, it’s not your business or personal policy that will respond.

There are other inherent benefits as well. For example; often when your special event is at another venue, that venue will ask for a ‘certificate of insurance’ and the venue might ask to be added as an ‘additional insured’ to the coverage. Most personal property insurance companies would not want to provide either the certificate or the extension of coverage to the venue. That certificate is not an issue with the companies that provide these ‘Special Event’ policies.

Speak to your broker about how to best protect yourself against ‘Host Liquor Liability’ for your next occasion. Once your broker has you covered, you can relax and enjoy!

Packs For Kids Fundraiser

Packs For Kids Fundraiser

Last Friday marked the first delivery of our Packs For Kids Fundraiser! We are pleased to announce that we raised over $16,000 and were able to fill over 200 backpacks with new school supplies for local families in need. Thank you to ROCK – Reach Out Centre for Kids, for taking the time to help with distribution. A shout out to Frank Caruso from Staples for providing the school supplies. Most importantly, we must thank all the individuals who contributed to making this year such a success!


Marketplace: In Denial – Mortgage Insurance

Mortgage insurance is meant to offer peace of mind. Most people pay the premiums and think they’re covered. But some have discovered – when it’s too late – that they aren’t.

Watch the video below to see real life examples that provide insight on what & what not to do.


Is Uber Worth The Risk

Is Uber Worth The Risk

Is Uber Worth The Risk?

With a significant increase in popularity amongst my peers I’ve noticed Uber far surpass the typical usage of the traditional taxi cab. Most people have either heard conspicuous rumors or dug into the issue themselves about the legitimacy and safety protocols of how Uber places riders at extreme risk. The bottom line is that using the family car to drive for Uber carries the potential for serious consequences in terms of inadequate insurance protection. Until the legal issues surrounding Uber’s business model are resolved, it’s unlikely the insurance industry will come up with a viable solution.

Uber is a large multinational firm that offers consumers an alternative to licensed taxis by arranging a ride using a mobile application. Under the terms of service, the consumer is picked up and brought to their destination by the driver who is using his or her own car. As Uber operates outside the taxi licensing framework and because it does not operate its own fleet of vehicles, Uber “firmly insisted that it is not a taxi company, but rather a technology company, therefore not subject to licensing rules”.

As Uber manipulates its legitimacy through the courts and while politicians speculate whether taxi regulations need to be modified, the drivers who are using their own private passenger car to pick up and drive Uber’s consumers to their destinations may find they are doing so without the benefit of their own insurance.

Simply put, Uber driver’s negligence to understand their own insurance policy places riders at risk. The Ontario Automobile Insurance Application asks if the described automobile will be used to carry passengers for compensation or hire. Even if the insured can say “no” at the time of application, if he or she starts driving for Uber, the automobile insurance policy requires the insured to notify the insurer of any material change in risk. Not doing so is grounds for an insurance company to cancel a policy or deny a claim.

The problem is that Uber drivers’ personal auto insurance policies are likely invalid to carry a paying passenger. However, Uber suggests every ride on the Uber platform in Canada is backed by US$5,000,000 of contingent auto liability insurance. In the event of an accident this coverage would assist the other driver, pedestrians, and passengers, only in addition to any insurance maintained by the driver, which may not even be valid. Conspicuous by its absence, is any mention of bodily injury damages, which usually are the most sever, expensive and most important.

These are significant coverage issues faced by policyholders who allow their personal insurance vehicle to ferry around Uber passengers. Until the legal/regulatory issues surrounding Ubers business model are sorted out, it remains problematic for the insurance industry to offer the correct type of coverage. Until these issues are addressed, why put yourself at risk with an Uber driver who may be in coverage limbo?




$1,000 Coats for Kids Scholarships Announced – 2015

$1,000 Coats for Kids Scholarships Announced – 2015

We are very excited to announce the schools who have won our $1000.00 scholarships for participating in our “Coats for Kids” campaign! Thank you to all who showed their support, and to those who donated coats.

To view the winners, and learn a bit more about the campaign please click here.

Coats for Kids Scholarship – 2014

Coats for Kids Scholarship – 2014

Coats for Kids Scholarship Update – 2014

Since 2012 we have been offering a two $1,500 Scholarships to participating high schools in Burlington. This year, we are excited at our change to our Scholarship Program. Each participating school will now receive $1,000 Scholarship. Local high schools must contribute a minimum amount of gently used coats and through a selection process award a student from their school to win the scholarship.

Our Burlington high schools did another outstanding job !! On collection day we counted 850 gently used coats to donate.  The applications for the Scholarships will be delivered to your high school the first week of May and the Scholarship winners will be announced in June.