Many home insurance claims can be avoided by taking simple measures.
Owning a home can be expensive. Owning a damaged home can be monumentally expensive. There are some simple steps every homeowner can take to mitigate the risk for property damage. Here are the most common and expensive home insurance claims and simple tips on how they can be avoided.
Fire is not the most common home insurance claim, but it’s the most expensive, accounting for 25% of all claim costs at around $40,000 each. Fires can happen for a variety of reasons including cooking equipment, portable heaters, smoking, faulty wiring or lightning. While avoidance of some of these causes seem like common sense, one fact remains true--many homes don’t have functioning smoke detectors.
In fact, among home fires only 75% of homes reported having smoke alarms, and only half of those had the alarm trigger during the fire. Smoke detectors should be on every floor of a home and batteries should be checked frequently.
Electrical fires can be avoided with simple inspection of power surges, looking for any frayed wires or overloaded outlets.
Wind and Hail
Though fire is the most expensive claim, wind and hail is the most frequent, especially in regions of the country prone to hurricanes and tornadoes. Depending on your insurance and your region of the country, wind and hail coverage may not be included in your policy. Dislodged shingles, airborne objects slamming into a home and downed trees are common consequences from strong winds. Cleaning up loose objects around your home prior to a storm, fixing loose shingles and trimming trees can mitigate these risks.
Rain / Snow
Damage from rain and snow can make for leaky roofs. Having good drainage can help prevent these leaks. Unclog gutters to make sure they direct water away from the house. Be particularly careful during spring if there is a big snow melt. Having a sump pump that is inspected annually can prevent flooding. Improperly sealed chimneys may also lead to water damage.
Non-Weather Water Damage
Water damage from water heaters and plumbing are typical culprits for damage. The most advisable recommendation is to get an automatic shutoff system. There are plenty of app based devices currently on the market. Fixing plumbing leaks and properly caulking around showers, baths and toilets can also prevent water damage.
Though less common or expensive than fire and weather damage, burglaries are responsible for 6% of home claims. Beyond the obvious safeguards (locking doors and windows, home security systems), homeowners are advised to never keep a key outside and advise neighbors when traveling. If you do have a home security system, posting a sign may be enough to detract burglars.