Most of us think of our home as a place of safety, yet billions of dollars of home damages are claimed each year to insurance companies. The most common claims are not typically avoidable; however having the correct insurance coverage is the best way to be prepared.
The natural elements of wind, water, and fire are things we normally think of when talking about damage to our house. These three, along with animals and visitors round out the top most common causes of insurance claims year after year.
Top 5 claims filed with insurance companies each year:
1. Water Damage
The most common cause of loss for a homeowner is water damage. Damage can occur for many different reasons, common examples would be:
– A leaking / damaged roof
– Cracked pipes
– Broken washing machine hose
Residents living in older homes are at the highest risk, however the location of your home is also a major factor. Consider asking your agent about the need for water backup / sump pump overflow coverage for your building and personal property. Water backing up into your home due to blocked pipes is a leading causes for potential water damage claims.
2. Fire Damage
Fires in the home happen unexpectedly and often take a huge toll on your property and your family! Most homeowner insurance policies will assist you in rebuilding after a fire, but check to see if your policy offers “Guaranteed Replacement Cost” on your dwelling & personal property. Depending on your company, some only offer coverage a percentage of your homes value.
It’s very important to keep up to date documentation and/or receipts of you personal belongings. Take photos or video of your home and keep it in a safe place. With today’s technology, it’s easy to create and store a visual reminder to your possessions and aide you in remembering everything you own following a loss.
Imaging sitting down tonight to make a list of everything you own in just one room of your home. Include the approximate value all the items. You are highly likely to not only forget a few major items, but also to highly undervalue your belongings. When a loss occurs, your insurance coverage is ready to get you back to whole again. Being prepared with documentation is a key factor in reducing some of the stress.
3. Wind and Storm Damage
Living in Wisconsin, you never know what the weather is going to be. Winter storms, tornadoes and straight line winds are becoming more frequent and are causing substantial damage to homes. These types of storms may only cause damage to the exterior of your home, but repairs are necessary and often expensive. It is important to make sure your home is covered properly to help protect your assets if these natural disasters occur.
4. Visitor Accidents
As a homeowner you are responsible to have adequate liability protection for visitors in case of an accident that causes bodily injury occurs on your property. Weather related slip and falls, pool related accidents, trampolines and swing set incidents are among the most common claims reported.
Having the proper liability coverage in place is essential because accidents can unexpectedly happen. Many times, even your underlying liability limit isn’t enough; increase your protection with an umbrella policy. This additional coverage can be as little as $10 per month!
5. Animal Bites
As a homeowner it is necessary to cover your home, both in and around it, including your pets. Animal bites and pet attacks are very common and are not necessarily always provoked. These types of losses can end up being extremely costly, especially if you’re not properly covered. Whether your dog is in the yard when someone approaches them or on a walk around the neighborhood; if an attack occurs, you are held responsible(dog bite laws vary by state).