More ways to avoid unnecessary home insurance claims
Spring is here! After the winter, is there anything sweeter than opening the windows and breathing in the fresh, fragrant air?
At this time of year, many have the urge to spring clean their home so it looks and feels as fresh as the outdoors. It’s also the perfect time to take a few extra measures to prevent problems that could lead to an unnecessary insurance claim.
Protect your home from water damage
Water damage can be very expensive - not to mention that water has the ability to destroy personal, irreplaceable items like family albums. To save yourself from having to deal with a painful water damage experience, take these steps:
- Move valuable items from the basement to a closet on an upper floor, such as a spare room closet.
- Does your home have galvanized pipes? Galvanized pipes are prone to leaks and they could burst. Look into replacing them.
- Look for small cracks in the tub and shower grouting. Small cracks let water seep into the walls where it sits and rots.
- Consider installing these flood-prevention devices: back water valves and plugs for drains, toilets and other sewer connections to protect against sewer backups; a water sensor that detects water levels around your home and alerts you if they rise above a normal level; and a sump pump, which removes any water accumulating in your basement. (Make sure your sump pump has an alarm that will alert you if the pump fails.)
- After a rainfall, inspect your basement for water. If you spot any wet areas, it’s possible that your home has foundation cracks that need repair.
- Keep an eye on the hoses and washers on your dishwasher and washing machine for cracks or signs of wear.
- If you’re leaving the house for a day trip or a weekend of camping, be sure to turn off the water.
Prevent fire hazards
After a long winter with the windows and doors shut and very little air circulation through your home, dust and lint have an opportunity to build up in your ductwork. Your dryer would have a heavy collection of lint in the vent. And if you have a fireplace, chances are you’ve taken advantage of it on cold winter evenings causing a buildup of creosote in your chimney.
All of these issues may create a fire hazard in your home. For added peace-of-mind, consider this advice:
- Be sure that your chimney and fireplace are properly inspected and cleaned. Creosote, a chemical substance that forms when wood burns, builds up in chimneys and can cause a fire if not removed through cleaning.
- Dryer vents accumulate lint and soap residue. This mixture is highly flammable. Have your dryer vents cleaned out by a professional.
- Never leave the dryer running if you’re not home.
- Any accumulation of dust can pose a fire hazard. Have your home’s ductwork cleaned to reduce the risk.
- Have your furnace inspected and cleaned. Dust that lands on your heat exchanger can ignite on the hot surface. Also, change your furnace filter regularly to keep excess dust from getting inside the furnace cabinet.
- Check all smoke detectors and indoor sprinklers (if you have them) to ensure they are in good working order.
Discourage home theft
While an open door or window lets the outdoors in, it may also serve as an invitation to burglars. Enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, but also be vigilant to keep intruders out.
- Try not to leave front doors and windows open or unlocked if everyone is outside in the backyard. Thieves need only minutes to enter a home and take what they want without being seen.
- If you purchase big-ticket items for your home, such as electronics, you may want to take the boxes to the disposal site yourself. They can draw the unwanted attention of thieves if left in your garbage bin.
- Consider getting a home alarm system. It will protect your home while you’re away or asleep, and even when you’re inside moving around. Having an alarm system may also reduce your insurance premiums.
Spring heralds the arrival of carefree days ahead. Make sure your family and your home are protected from unpleasant events so everyone can make the most of them.