Preventing Home Insurance Claims
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Keeping your home safe is important not only to you, your family and your guests but also to maintaining good homeowner’s insurance rates. Over time, the fewer claims you file, the less likely it is that your homeowner’s insurance premium will rise. The following are tips to help keep your home safe, secure and claim free.
Home Security - According to the Canada Safety Council, most residential burglaries occur during the day, when no one is home. How can you protect your home from break-ins even when you’re gone? Discourage burglars by:
- Installing a home security system (your insurance company may offer you a discount for this system).
- Keeping doors and windows locked and in plain view (keep clear of tree and shrub branches).
- Never hiding a key outside your home or in your mailbox.
- Keeping valuables out of sight.
- Creating the illusion that someone is home.
- Know your neighbours so they will report any unusual activity.
- Keeping your yard well-lit at night.
Fire Prevention - Fire kills eight people a week in Canada, reports Fire Prevention Canada, with residential fires accounting for 73% of these fatalities. Fireproof your house by:
- Installing and regularly testing smoke alarms (test monthly, clean semi-annually and change batteries annually).
- Installing and becoming familiar with the use of fire extinguishers.
- Never leaving burning candles or your fireplace unattended.
- Never smoking in bed and always disposing of cigarettes safely.
- Replacing frayed cords on appliances.
- Following safety rules regarding electrical outlets, space heaters, stoves, furnaces and other heat-generating devices.
Water Damage Prevention - Water can cause severe damage to your house, whether it seeps into your ceilings and walls from the roof, backs up into your basement through your drains or foundation, or drips out of your appliances unnoticed until damage is done. Be aware, too, that pests are drawn to moisture, so water that stays in your home can attract infestations that become costly as well. Keep your water issues in check by:
- Maintaining your roof to prevent leaks.
- Regularly inspecting the hoses and connections of your washing machine, dishwasher, refrigerator and hot water heater.
- Keeping your gutters free of leaves and debris.
- Turning off the water and draining the pipes to your outdoor faucets for the winter and when you leave for vacations.
Weather Protection - Damage from wind, hail, snow, ice, flood and other weather-related hazards can be devastating. Some basic ways you can minimize the effects of inclement weather on your home include:
- Inspecting your roof and repairing loose or broken shingles.
- Strengthening your doors (home and garage) and windows.
- Reinforcing the connections between your walls and roof, and walls and foundation.
- Securing your outdoor possessions.
- Waterproofing your basement.
- Keeping your gutters clean.
- Investing in hail netting or a hail-proof structure for protecting your garden or crops.