An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This statement has great relevance to the topic of loss prevention.
In fact, did you know most homeowners’ insurance claims are not caused by fires or storms? The primary cause of claims is actually neglected maintenance that grows into a larger problem.
By simply taking some time to check and replace some items in your home, you may be able to save yourself thousands of dollars, as well as the hassle of dealing with a costly claim.
To help you avoid becoming a victim of one of these accidents we have compiled a list of the top 13 most preventable homeowners’ claims along with recommendations on how to prevent them.
For further tips or to discuss how your policy may respond if you experience a claim like those mentioned above, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.
1. Frozen Pipes: Frozen pipes will often crack, which can quickly cause serious water damage to your home.
Recommendation: There are a number of things you can do to prevent your pipes from freezing:
• Insulate pipes – insulation goes a long way toward preventing freeze-ups.
• Open cabinet doors under sinks – this will allow the heat to warm the pipes.
• Maintain your home temperature at 3-4 degrees higher than normal.
• Turn on your faucets and let the water trickle constantly.
2. Burst washing machine hose: The rubber hoses attached to a washing machine will eventually dry out, crack, and leak. Water damage caused by a cracked hose will usually go undetected until there is a huge problem as it is a low-traffic area of the house.
Recommendation: Replace any rubber hoses every three years, or replace the rubber with metal mesh hoses from any hardware or home store.
3. Slow leaks around tub/shower grout and edges: Over time, the grout and caulking around the edges of your tub or shower will decay and crack, allowing water to seep into your walls and floor. What’s worse is this type of water damage is usually not covered by your homeowners policy.
Recommendation: Check and maintain seals. Make certain you keep shower doors or curtains securely shut to prevent water from spilling.
4. Electrical cord fires: Cords under throw rugs and baseboard heaters are the most likely sources of electrical fires.
Recommendation: Reroute cords around throw rugs and use certified power strips. Don’t place furniture against baseboard heaters.
5. Woodstoves and Fireplaces: Clogged chimneys and stovepipes are a leading cause of home fires.
Recommendation: Inspect and clean chimneys and stove pipes at least twice a year. Make sure to remove ashes into a noncombustible container and keep flammable materials away from the fireplace.
6. Unattended cooking, candle fires, and space heaters: Unwatched, a “contained” fire can spread and rapidly become a tragedy.
Recommendation: Carefully monitor all cooking and candle fires.
7. Electrical Outlets and Wiring: Electrical systems in older homes have a difficult time handling the energy requirements of modern appliances.
Recommendation: Have all appliances professionally installed and avoid overloading or overusing extension cords and outlets.
8. Furnaces: A furnace that is not functioning properly can cause a fire or emit carbon monoxide.
Recommendation: Regularly inspect your furnace for signs of wear and tear and have a qualified service technician inspect your furnace if it is more than five years old.
9. Roof Collapses: Large snow buildup can easily cause your roof to collapse from weight.
Recommendation: After any large snowstorm be sure to check your roof for any excessive snow buildup. Also, make sure the roof is vented properly to avoid collapse and ice dams.
10. Roof leaks: Dark spots appearing in your ceiling are a clear sign you have leak in your roof. Also, look for curled or upturned shingles along house edges.
Recommendation: Clean gutters regularly. Check for loose or missing shingles. Don’t try to make a roof last ‘just one more season’ if it’s worn out.
11. Hot water tank leaks: Often forgotten, hot water tanks are susceptible to leaks and rust. They only last so long before showing wear.
Recommendation: Inspect the flooring around your water heater for signs of leaks. A qualified technician should periodically inspect water heaters installed more than five years ago.
12. Garage door opener theft: Garage door openers stolen from cars parked outside the house can give thieves easy access to a house later.
Recommendation: If you park your car outside, make sure to take your garage door opener in with you.
13. Mold: Mold buildup within your home can be dangerous and very expensive to remove.
Recommendation: Take special precautions to clean up all water spills or leakage immediately to prevent the spread of mold, fungus, wet or dry rot or mildew. Use anti-fungal cleaners wherever possible.
Hopefully we have shown the importance of regular maintenance to your home. With even just periodic inspection of water pipes, electrical cords, the fireplace, and roof, you may be able to prevent a disaster that could cost you or your insurance company thousands to replace.