Top Homeowners Loss Prevention Tips
There are many ways your property could suffer damage. Here are the four most common and some handy tips on how to avoid them.
Cause of Loss: Water Damage
- Disconnect your exterior hoses as the seasons change. The supply line leading to the exterior of your home is particularly susceptible to freezing. Removing the hose and draining the supply line is one way to prevent damage to burst pipes. Learn more about preventing burst pipes.
- Fix small leaks when they are identified. Ignoring minor water damage can lead to significant mold or rot damage, which is often excluded from coverage under most homeowners’ policies. Use these tips and a free checklist to help prevent costly repairs.
- Upgrade your appliance supply lines. Old, braided metal or plastic supply lines can fail and cause severe water damage. Find out how to get ahead of appliance leaks.
- Clean your gutters regularly; buildup of debris can lead to ice dams in the winter months; aim the downspouts away from your home to help prevent your basement from flooding. Check out our five tips for cleaning gutters.
- Maintain your trees and yard plants. Minimize the landscaping near your utility pipes as tree roots are a common cause of blockage. Are you at risk from the three main causes of sewer back-ups?
- Locate your water main and know how to shut off the water supply quickly. In case of a burst pipe, or a supply line or fixture failure, turning off your water as quickly as possible can minimize the damage to your home. Here’s how handle a burst pipe.
- Winterize your home if you are leaving for an extended period to prevent your plumbing from freezing and causing extensive damage while you are away. If you do not take steps to prevent your plumbing from freezing, coverage may not be applicable to your loss. A professional should be retained as needed to complete this service. Burst pipes can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage – know how to prevent it from happening to you. Learn more about preventing burst pipes.
- Maintain the heat in your home. If you do not maintain the heat in your home and a freeze loss occurs, coverage may be excluded under the terms of your policy.
Cause of Loss: Fire Loss
- Check smoke/fire/carbon monoxide detectors regularly. Find out what you can do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- If you have fireplaces, inspect and clean them prior to winter season to prevent dangerous creosote buildup, which is a common cause of chimney fires. Take a minute to read more on fireplace and chimney safety.
- HVAC systems may have air filters that require regular replacement. Filters that are not changed regularly can become a fire hazard as the build up of dirt, dust, and other materials can make them a potential ignition source if they are near a heating element.
- Kitchen and BBQ fires can happen in a matter of seconds. If you must leave the cooking area for whatever reason, have someone else watch the food until you get back, or turn off the heat element. Here’s some very useful information on preventing cooking fires.
- Always check your dryer’s lint trap; lint buildup is one of the most common causes of house fires. Check out these five cleaning tips that can save you money and prevent damage to your home.
- Inspect electrical cords and power strips to identify fraying or other damage to the components; replace damaged cords and components ASAP. Take a minute to learn about identifying common electrical hazards in your home.
- Keep fire extinguishers handy throughout your home and regularly check their expiration dates. Take corrective action if they have expired.
Cause of Loss: Ice Dams*
Keep snow from building up on your roof by using a roof rake or other tool to clear the snow from the structure regularly. Check your insulation. Improper ventilation is the primary cause of ice dams. Too much insulation or too little ventilation can create a significant temperature change across the surface area of your roof, where the area above the heated attic melts the snow, which then freezes into ice when it hits an area not above a heated space. Check out our article on preventing ice dams – even if it’s already snowed.
Cause of Loss: Theft
- Installing a security system can prevent theft or limit a theft loss in the event of an attempt, and you may be eligible for a discount on your homeowners’ policy if you have an actively monitored system.
- Lock your doors and windows. Automated locks are becoming more and more popular and may be worth considering if you find yourself forgetting to secure your home.
- Your car insurance policy won’t cover personal items in your vehicle; those are covered by your home policy. Make sure to park your car in a well-lit area and do not leave valuable items out in the open. Parked cars are one of the most common targets for thieves and leaving items out in the open can encourage thieves to target your property. Learn more how to stop smash-and-grab thieves.