Prevent Future Insurance Disasters By Inspecting Your Home

Article Posted by Expert Author: Carly Jorge  on 09/19/2013

It's very easy for anyone to think that damage to their home due to a natural disaster won't happen to them. But as we all know, the weather can turn very quickly, posing a real and imminent danger to what is probably your biggest investment; your home.

Regularly inspecting your home may not have crossed your mind, but consider this: signs of early damage that go unnoticed can quickly turn into major losses if a storm or other natural event becomes a destructive one. But knowing what to look for can help you avoid high losses, as well as increase your home's energy efficiency.

Preparing For Weather Events

Storm damage can be a very expensive thing to rectify. However, there are ways to be prepared long before a storm or other natural event even occurs.

The first thing to do is to check your homeowners insurance policy to ensure that you will be covered in the event that a storm occurs. If you have an ACV policy, or actual cash value policy, your insurance company will only cover the pre-storm value of your property. An RCV, or replacement cost policy will ensure that you get current market value for all the property you lose in a storm.

Trees

The trees around your property can cause significant damage should a storm hit your area. And even the healthiest-looking tree can harbor weakness or disease. One place to gauge a tree's health is to lookat its top. If the top of tree has bare branches, it could indicate an issue. The same is true if the land immediately surrounding the tree has visible bumps, as this can signal root issues which can result in uprooting in the event of a storm.

Calling in a professional may be the only way to address potential issues. But arborists don't come cheap. How much you pay will depend the height of the tree that needs removing. The taller the tree, the more you will pay. However, arborists do specialize in safe tree removal, something that your neighbor with a chainsaw may not.

Gutters

Your gutters can be the cause of much frustration if they overflow. For example, your basement can endure all kinds of water damage, one of the biggest risks of not cleaning out gutters. Another is damage to your home's attic or roof.  During a storm, it's important to have some kind of back up to your home's main sump pump. Once a storm has passed, inspect your home for damage and if any is found, tell your insurance company right away.

Although repairing damage or preventing it can be costly, your insurance company may actually permit you to make temporary repairs, as long as you don't risk getting injured in the process. And this can be done prior to an adjuster's visit.

Having a checklist handy to remind you of monthly and yearly inspections around your home is a good idea, and can cause you to save thousands of dollars a year on storm damage mitigation.

Monthly

  • Clean and check the vents in your dryer and stove hood.
  • Check plumbing and faucets for leaks and drips.
  • Check filters on any cooling or heating units, and change or clean them as directed.

Yearly

  • Check that all trees and shrubbery surrounding your home have been trimmed so that they clear your roof, foundation and exterior walls.
  • Inspect weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors, and check siding for holes and cracks.
  • Each fall and spring, clean your home's downspouts and gutters.

A little preventative maintenance goes a long way in staving off calamity.  But even our best efforts aren't always enough, which is where safety nets like homeowners insurance come in, protecting consumers from issues like storm damage, fires, theft, unexpected injuries, etc.


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