Top 7 Preventable Homeowners’ Claims
People often believe that homeowners’ insurance claims only occur when they are the unavoidable victim of Mother Nature. Although it is true that storms, wild fires and tornadoes account for some, most homeowners’ insurance claims are the result of neglected maintenance and are preventable. Here is a list of 7 preventable homeowners’ claims along with helpful tips on how to avoid them.
1. Washing Machine Hose Mishaps
Rubber hoses connected washing machines can become loose or damaged. Over time the hoses can dry out and crack, resulting in leaking. This problem often goes undetected until it is too late. So, it is important to check the machine regularly and replace the hoses at least every three years.
2. Roof Leaks and Collapses
During the winter, large buildups of snow and ice can cause a roof to collapse. It is important check for any excessive accumulation after large snowstorms. Other signs that a roof is in danger of collapsing include:
- Cracked or broken windows
- Unusual creaking or popping sounds
- Newly developed cracks in the ceilings, interior and exterior walls
- Dark spots on your ceiling and curled or upturned shingles along the edge of the house
Basic roof maintenance, such as cleaning gutters and replacing shingles, is the best way to prevent a leak. Checking for missing shingles and trimming overhanging tree branches will also help avoid the risk of a leak.
3. Fireplace and Woodstove Fires
Dirty or clogged chimneys and stovepipes are the leading cause of home fires. Following fire safety best practice and maintaining a regular chimney/stovepipe cleaning schedule of at least twice a year will help to prevent accidental fires. Remember, removal of ashes should be done in a noncombustible metal container, never paper or plastic.
4. Shower/Bathtub Grout and Edge Leaks
Over time, the grout or caulking around the edge of the tub or shower can decay and crack, resulting in water seepage into your walls and floor. This type of water damage can rot wood or cause mold to develop, and is not always covered by your homeowners’ policy. Make sure that shower doors or curtains are closed and always clean spills quickly. Regularly examine and maintain seals.
5. Electrical Fires
Cords under throw rugs and baseboard heaters are the greatest sources of electrical fires. Reroute cords around throw rugs and use a certified power strip. Don’t place furniture against baseboard heaters. Electrical systems in older homes have a difficult time handling the energy requirements of modern appliances and often result in fires. Have all appliances professionally installed and avoid overloading or overusing extension cords and outlets. Some tips to ensure electrical safety include:
- Checking for loose fitting plugs, which can be shock or fire hazards. Replace missing or broken wall plates so wiring is not exposed
- Avoiding overloading outlets with adapters and too many appliance plugs
- Using extension cords on a temporary basis only. They are not intended as permanent household wiring
- If an appliance repeatedly blows a fuse, trips a circuit breaker or gives you an electrical shock, it should be immediately unplugged and replaced or repaired
Other helpful tips can be found at SafeElectricity.org
6. Frozen Pipes
Water damage from freezing pipes is the largest source of home damage. Frozen pipes can crack, which can cause water loss and quickly damage your home. Insulating your pipes can go a long way in preventing freeze-ups. Setting the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit will keep your home warm. Letting the faucet trickle constantly will keep the pipes from freezing when it is very cold. You can also open cabinet doors under sinks to allow the heat from your home to warm the pipes.
7. Cooking and Candle Fires
Second only to water damage, fire devastation is a common source of homeowners’ insurance claims. Cooking equipment is the leading cause of home fire injuries. An unwatched cooking or candle flame can spread rapidly and become a tragedy. All fires should be carefully monitored.
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 Lawley