Homeowner's Academy

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Protect Your Home and Avoid Claims in the New Year

by People's Trust Marketing | Jan 30, 2018

No one plans for their homes to have a loss – but, accidents happen. While you can’t control everything that could happen, there are preventative measures you can take to help prevent your Florida home from experiencing the unfortunate.

Below are the top 5 home insurance claims and what you can do to help prevent a loss in your home:

  1. Wind Damage: High velocity winds can damage your property in a matter of minutes. It's impossible to predict the timing, strength, and potential damage of any storm. The best prevention is cleaning up your yard to prevent damage from flying debris, broken tree branches, and the sheer force of the wind in the event of a storm.

    Having weakness in the structure of your home can make it vulnerable to damage. Take action now by:

    • Safely storing and securing your Florida home’s patio furniture, cushions, gardening tools, kids’ toys, and anything else that can become an airborne projectile.
    • Keep your front and back yards free of debris that can easily be picked up by high winds.
    • Inspect your roof for loose shingles or areas of damage.
  2. Non–Weather Related Water Damage (i.e. plumbing or appliance issues): More water damage occurs from pipes bursting, plumbing problems or appliance issues than from weather. Almost all of these claims can be prevented with regular maintenance. Avoid water damage by:
    • Investing in a water sensor and alarm. By placing this sensor near your appliances that use water and if there is any moisture detected, an alarm will sound alerting you to the issue quickly. Here are some bestselling sensors and alarms from Amazon. You can also invest in an automatic water shutoff system like this one from Home Depot.
    • Monitoring and checking old appliances and hot water heaters for leaks and cracks, and replacing them when needed. Check water lines from your refrigerator, if it has one, for kinks which cause leaks. Always replace all water lines from your toilets, sinks, and appliances with no burst hoses.
    • Re-caulking around toilets, sinks, and tubs to prevent plumbing leaks.

  3. Weather-Related Water Damage: Standard home insurance policies do NOT cover Floods. Flooding is a temporary overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry (www.ready.gov/floods). Avoid weather-related water damage by:
    • Paying attention to the slope on your property in relation to your home. Land that slopes away from your home will help diminish water damage in the long run.
    • Ensuring gutters and downspouts are free from leaves, twigs, and other debris which will allow them to do their jobs and drain water away from your home and not into your foundation.
  4. Fire and Lightning Damage: Lightning can strike anywhere, but Florida overwhelmingly leads the nation in the number of lightning strikes, and also deaths - we are highly prone to it. Lightning can cause fires. Take precautions to avoid permanent damage to your home if lightning strikes by:
    • Inspecting the condition of everything you plug in. Is the cord frayed? If so, don’t use it.
    • Never leaving a candle unattended (especially if you have children/pets). Use non-flammable candles as an alternative.
    • Avoiding clutter in your kitchen, especially flammable items around the stove/oven area that could catch fire when using those appliances.
    • Making sure you’ve got properly installed and working smoke detectors. A good way to remember to check the batteries in them is by doing them in spring and fall when you change your clocks for Daylight Saving Time.
  5. Loss Due to Theft: Imagine coming home from work to find that a window or door is shattered and your home’s been ransacked. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there were more than 7.9 million burglaries in 2015, which estimated losses at over $14.3 billion. Use these tips to help prevent your home from becoming a target of theft:
    • Invest in a home security system and make sure it’s always working properly. Place a lawn sign to inform others that your home is protected by a security system.
    • Do not keep a spare key outside. Alternatively, burglars are catching up with technology as well. They’ve managed to outsmart our “smart locks,” by being able to duplicate the signals it sends to the lock when the correct code is entered, without entering anything onto the keypad. If you must leave a spare key, see if you can leave the key with neighbors you trust or far away from the house in a place no one would think of, like the dog house or under a patio chair.
    • Keep exterior lights in working order and install motion-detecting lights where possible. A well-lit home is a deterrent to burglars.