8 Maintenance Tips to Avoid Home Insurance Claims
While it’s true we have insurance so it’s there when we need it, no one wants to go through the inconvenience of making an insurance claim that could have been avoided. And there’s nothing more frustrating that realizing that your insurance won’t cover some of your expenses because they were the normal wear and tear that should have been dealt with as part of your regular home maintenance.
We’ve all heard that a stitch in time, saves nine. One of the best ways to avoid making an unnecessary home insurance claim in the future is to perform some basic home maintenance tasks on a regular basis. By keeping an eye on potential hazards, you can help prevent water damage, fires, and other disasters from occurring in your home.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Check your roof for missing or damaged tiles.
You may not think about your roof until there’s a problem, but it’s important to check for missing or damaged shingles regularly. A roof in poor condition can lead to water damage, which can cause serious problems in your home and cost you a lot of money in repairs.
If you do find any missing or damaged tiles, be sure to have them fixed as soon as possible. Failing to take care of the problem could lead to bigger and more expensive repairs down the road. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on your roof during bad weather, so you can catch any potential problems early on.
If your roof has been damaged by a storm, be sure to contact us right away and one of our team can help identify whether the incident is covered under your insurance policy. However, normal wear and tear is excluded from cover.
2. Inspect your gutters and downspouts for proper drainage.
Heavy rains can lead to severe flooding and water damage, costing homeowners thousands of dollars in repairs. One often overlooked cause of water damage is improper drainage from gutters and downspouts. Homeowners should inspect their gutters and downspouts regularly for proper drainage and take steps to correct any problems.
If water is not draining properly from your gutters, it can pool up and overflow, spilling onto your roof and causing leaks. It can also flow under the roof tiles and into the home, damaging ceilings, walls, floors, and furniture. In addition, pooled water can create a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other pests.
If you notice that your gutters are not draining properly, there are several things you can do to correct the problem.
Here are a few tips to help you inspect your gutters and downspouts for proper drainage:
- Make sure the gutters are clear of debris, such as leaves and branches.
- Check for leaks or cracks in the gutters or downspouts.
- Make sure the downspouts are pointed in the right direction – away from your home’s foundation.
- Make sure the downspouts are connected to a storm drain or other drainage system.
- If you have any questions or concerns, contact a professional gutter installer or roofer for assistance.
3. Trim branches and shrubs away from your home.
Branch trimming is an important part of home maintenance, especially in the spring and summer when trees and shrubs are growing rapidly. Branches that are too close to your home can be a fire hazard or cause other home damage. Insurance companies may not cover damage caused by branches if they are considered to be the homeowner’s responsibility.
It’s important to trim branches away from your home on a regular basis, but especially after a storm when there is a greater risk of them breaking off and causing damage. Make sure you use proper equipment when trimming branches, like a ladder and gloves, to avoid injury. If you’re not comfortable trimming branches yourself, hire a professional arborist to do the job for you. They have the experience and equipment necessary to do the job safely and efficiently.
4. Seal any cracks or holes in your home’s exterior.
One of the best ways to prevent rain and storm damage is to seal any cracks or holes in your home’s exterior. It’s important to do this before any bad weather hits, because once the rain starts coming in, it can be difficult to stop it.
There are a number of different ways to seal cracks and holes, but the most common is with caulk. Make sure you use a high-quality caulk that is designed for outdoor use, and be sure to apply it properly. Peeling paint should also be removed and replaced with a good quality exterior paint that seals the outside surface from the elements. If you’re not comfortable doing it yourself, hire a professional tradesperson to do the job.
5. Check your smoke detectors
According to the NSW Fire and Rescue, smoke detectors should be tested monthly and batteries changed at least once a year. Smoke detectors can help save your life in the event of a fire, but they can also mean the alarm is raised sooner and the fire service is called to your property earlier.
6. Check all appliances and wiring for fraying or broken connections
If you haven’t done it recently, it’s time to check all of your appliances and wiring for any fraying or broken connections. These can easily lead to fires and electrical shocks, both of which can result in significant damage and costly claims.
It’s important to be especially vigilant during the winter months, when there’s an increased risk of fires due to increased use of heating appliances. But even during the rest of the year, it’s crucial to keep an eye out for any potential problems.
If you do spot any issues, don’t try to fix them yourself. Instead, call a professional electrician to take care of it. That way, you’ll know that the problem has been properly addressed and that you’re less likely to experience any further damage or injuries.
7. Keep your chimney well maintained
It often goes under the radar, but it’s important to keep your chimney well maintained. A deteriorated flashing around the chimney can cause water leaking and subsequent damage to the roof and walls. This can lead to expensive repairs, or even worse, a total roof replacement.
It’s a good idea to have your chimney inspected regularly by a professional. They will be able to identify any potential problems and take corrective action before they become bigger issues. If you do experience water leakage, call a contractor right away to fix the problem. Delaying repairs can lead to further damage and mould growth. And while your insurance might cover the subsequent damage caused by a storm event, the maintenance, repair and resealing of the chimney is a home maintenance expense.
8. Check your water heater for leaks and corrosion every six months.
Water heaters are often overlooked when it comes to home maintenance, but they should be inspected every six months for leaks and corrosion. A small leak can turn into a big water damage problem if not addressed, so it’s important to check your water heater regularly. Leaks can cause water damage to floors, walls and furniture. If you do have a leak, it’s best to call a professional to repair it before the problem gets worse.
While it’s easy to look at home maintenance as just another chore on your to do list, performing these regular checks can help keep your home ready to brave the elements and help you avoid paying for damage to your home that could have been avoided.
123 Insurance Pty Ltd ABN 67 621 727 722 T/A Bell Partners Asset Protection is an Authorised Representative 001259573 of Insurance House Pty Ltd ABN 33 006 500 072 AFSL 240954. This advice has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should therefore consider the appropriateness of the advice, in light of your objectives, financial situation or needs before following the advice. Please obtain a copy of, and consider the Product Disclosure Statement applicable to the general insurance product before making any decision.