Your home insurance is there to protect you should the worst happen. But ideally, you want to avoid home insurance claims completely. Every time you file a claim, you have to pay your deductible, which is sometimes more than the cost of the repair. And you don’t want to risk your rates increasing with repeat claims. Here’s how to keep your home safer to reduce the likelihood of needing to use your insurance.
Homeowners around Oklahoma lose their homes every year to fires, many of which were avoidable. How can you reduce the risk of fire?
- Have your chimney cleaned and inspected routinely.
- Keep your wiring and electrical panel (circuit breakers) up to date, and do any repairs immediately.
- Never burn candles unattended, and watch where you place them.
- Don’t smoke cigarettes or cigars inside the home, especially in bed. Even smoking on a porch or balcony can be dangerous.
- Arrange your kitchen to keep the stove area free of things that could ignite. When cooking, pay close attention to what you’re doing. Have an all-purpose fire extinguisher ready just in case.
- Install smoke alarms and test them regularly, replacing any low batteries ASAP.
Maintain Your Roof
We see a lot of roof damage claims here in Tulsa, between high winds, hail, and other hazards that come out of nowhere. Some of these events are out of your control, but you can reduce claims by checking your roof after every storm.
Look for loose shingles and flashing, as well as damage to gutters and downspouts. Clear away any debris, leaves, and the like, which you can also do in autumn, after the last of the trees have shed. Keep tree branches away from your roofline by trimming them back.
Don’t Let Plumbing Problems Escalate
It’s easy to ignore a little drip from a pipe, but that drip can quickly become a major leak that costs money and aggravation. As well as obvious pooling water or the sound of a drip, what are some signs you might have a leak that needs the attention of a plumber?
- Stains on your walls, ceiling, or floors
- Musty smells or mold growth
- High water bill compared to previous amounts
- No water pressure, either throughout the house or in certain rooms
- Ponding water in your yard (usually with more growth than elsewhere)
Today we have new leak technology that can be installed in your plumbing system to alert you to a potential emergency. Most of them detect a drop in water flow and notify your personal device. Some even shut off the water to prevent damage.
To prevent frozen and burst pipes, keep your heat at 55 degrees Fahrenheit or above during winter, whether you’re home or not. A programmable thermostat will let you be energy efficient without putting your plumbing at risk.
Beef Up Your Property’s Security
Vandalism and theft are another common cause of home insurance claims. There are many ways you can increase security around your home:
- Keep shrubbery and other landscaping scaled back around the house to prevent hiding places for would-be intruders.
- Put your interior lights on a timer or control them with a remote app to make it appear someone is in your house when you’re away.
- Install motion sensor or photocell lights outside.
- Consider hiring a housesitter if traveling for more than a few days.
- Be sure to close the garage door when you leave home.
- Use the best door and window locks you can afford.
- If a whole-house security system is not within your budget, install a doorbell camera and smart lock on each entrance.
Eliminate Liability Hazards
Accidents and injuries are another cause of claims. You can be held responsible if someone slips on your icy front steps or if your stairway handrail gives way.
To avoid having to use your home insurance or umbrella insurance for liability claims, check the home for hazards and make all necessary repairs. If you’re not sure what to look for, you can hire an expert to perform an inspection for things like loose flooring, tripping hazards, and building code violations.
It’s important to have the right liability coverage and property protection in case despite your best efforts you need to file a home insurance claim. Not sure how much coverage you need or if you’re really protected? We’re here to answer your questions and get you a policy that lets you sleep better at night. Call Hometown Insurance Agency at 918-408-4598 today, or reach out online to let us know how we can assist you.