Checklist to Save Money and Avoid Homeowners Insurance Claims

homeowners insurance claim

Energy efficiency is on the top of all our minds and keeping a well-insulated home is a great way to conserve energy and save money.

Check Key Problem Areas for Heat Loss
As the weather becomes cooler in the fall, it’s a great time to check for places where heat is escaping your home or cold air is getting in. Doing a check for some key problem areas will help prevent weather-related water damage as well. Remember, if air can get in, there’s a good chance water may also find the same path. The worst kind of water damage is the damage that happens gradually before you notice it. Gradual damage is not covered by insurance, so it becomes especially important for you to prevent gradual damage from happening.

3 Things to Be More Energy Efficient and Avoid Water Damage Claims

Clear Areas Around the Furnace, Electrical Box and Water Tank
Take a few moments to check for clutter or storage boxes that may have built up around your furnace, electrical box or water tank. Make sure that these are clear of obstructions. Placing boxes or storage next to your furnace or water tank could create hazards in your home and make them difficult to access in the event of an emergency.  Roofing insurance for contractors click here.

Water damage is one of the most common causes of home insurance claims. Water entering through windows, roofs, and even the sides or exterior walls of your home could cause major damage over time.

Gradual damage caused by water infiltration is not covered by home insurance, this can cost you significant amounts of money to repair.

Check These Potential Problem Areas to Avoid Water Damage

We already covered some outdoor sources of water damage, but there are indoor sources as well. Fall is the perfect time to make an annual ritual of checking your plumbing indoors.

Identify any pipes on exterior walls that may be prone to freezing. Insulation of pipes is fairly easy when the pipes are visible. If you notice any pipes on exterior walls that might freeze, consider insulating them. A frozen pipe creates a great deal of water damage. Insurance may cover the damage resulting from the frozen pipe if it happens when you’re living in your house, but there will be costs associated with the actual pipe replacement that may not be covered by your insurance.

Check the Age of Your Water Tank
Verify the age of your water heater tank and do regular maintenance.

A water tank needs to be replaced after about a decade. Do not leave your water tank replacement to a time where you think it needs it. Most cases where a person becomes aware of a water tank issue is when it’s too late and it has already emptied out into your home. Water tanks deteriorate from the inside out. Speak to your plumber or other professional to get an opinion on the lifespan of your water tank.

Find Out If Your Insurance Company Offers Preferred Rates and Discounts
Insurance companies recognize homes that have updates and renovations because they know that a well-maintained home will have a lower incidence of claims. Any time you do repairs or updates contact your insurance company to see if you qualify for preferred rates or better coverage.

Colder weather, strong winds or windstorms, and colder temperatures make your home prone to several risks and damage.

Loose Shingles and Other Roof Problems

Even though your insurance would likely cover you for damages due to windstorms, or other water damage, it would be a huge inconvenience, you would still have to pay your deductible and if your insurance gives you a claims-free discount, you could lose that and see your insurance rate increase for years following a claim.

Have Your Roof Inspected or Get a Second Opinion
If you are in doubt about the condition of your roof or aren’t sure if repairs are needed, contact a roofer and get them to verify the roof and give you an estimate for repairs.

A roofer can also suggest temporary repairs or special roof coatings that might help you prevent damage until you can organize yourself for major renovations or replacement. Speaking to professionals usually give us new ideas that we wouldn’t have otherwise had the expertise to come up with ourselves.

Discounts or Preferred Insurance Rates for Updated Homes
Contact your insurance company and find out if you will get a discount or any additional advantages if you have a recently updated roof. Some insurance companies will take into account the fact that a home with recent renovations in key areas like the roof will be less likely to have a claim and the insurance underwriters may give you preferred rates as a result.

Check Crawl Spaces and the Attic
The space between the roof, attic and your living area should be checked a couple of times a year if you aren’t using it as a living space.

Your Chimney, Fireplace, and Other Heating Sources
It’s a good idea to have your chimney or furnace checked before you start using it in the fall season.

Staying on top of potential problems will save you money because it will not only prevent insurance claims, but it will allow you to budget for repairs as they are needed, instead of always trying to come up with money in emergencies which can really throw your budget off.

Prevent Mice, Rodents and Other Creatures Getting Into Your Home
When the seasons start to change you aren’t the only one who likes to hide out in the warm comfort of your home. As part of your fall homeowner checklist, make it a point to check the exterior of your home for possible entry points for small mice, rodents, squirrels and any other creatures that may be looking to share your warmth and shelter from the elements.

How to Check for Mice and Other Critters

Does Home Insurance Pay for Damage By Rodents?
Damage from rodents is not covered by insurance, and if you have mice or squirrels living in your attic or crawl space, they could travel throughout the walls. Chances are they will not just stay in one place. You don’t need a family of critters taking over your home.

A cozy outdoor patio is great in the fall but as winter weather and storms approach these areas can be liability risks.  This will reduce your chance of a homeowners insurance claim.

Tips to Prevent Damage and Injury Outside Your Home

Verify Lighting Outside Your Home
A well-lit home is less likely to invite thieves and will prevent people from falling and injuring themselves on your property.

Don’t Forget to Do Some Maintenance and Prevention in Your Garage
With all these patio items and summer tools and supplies going into your garage, things may get a little hectic. Garages typically have many flammable items in them which makes them a potential fire risk. If you add to that a cluttered garage, you may also be at risk of injuries.

Trees are beautiful in the fall, but aside from creating piles of leaves to rake up, they can also be the source of a lot of damage to your home and create liability risks.

If there are tree branches overhanging your property you should consider having them cut back if they hang over your roof, walkways, living areas, or driveways.

If the tree belongs to a neighbour contact them to let them know about your concerns and work on a plan to get the situation taken care of; no one wants to be negligent, especially when people could be injured. In some states, even if it is your neighbor’s tree, the responsibility may be yours to cut branches back off your property.

Clear Trees or Branches Near Electrical Posts and Power Lines
Make sure that branches from trees are not tangled with any electrical wiring or too close to the electric cables around your home.

Because power lines are dangerous, you should contact a professional or your power company about any dangerous branches. Do not attempt to remove them yourself without getting professional advice. A professional is equipped to provide you with the best guidance and handle this type of task.

When trees or branches come down on electrical wiring, they can also cause the electric cables to break and this could also pose a hazard to your family, friends, pets, and neighbours.

If you aren’t sure about the condition of your trees, consider contacting an arborist to visit your property and check for weak or diseased trees and branches that could easily come down. This basic maintenance could save you a lot of money in the long run and prevents you from unnecessary safety hazards.

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