11 ways to prevent home insurance claims

  • Planning ahead
  • Homeowners insurance
Person sealing their roof

What do you picture when you think of common home insurance claims? Most people imagine major disasters like a wildfire or tornado  – unpredictable events that are largely out of your hands. While those are certainly times when people want their insurance to come in and take care of things, the reality is that many claims are preventable.

Six percent of homes had a claim in 2020 according to Insurance Services Office (ISO). That year, 97.7% of claims were related to property damage resulting from wind, hail, water damage, freezing, fire, lightning, theft and uncategorized damage. While you can’t stop normal weather patterns, you can minimize the damage they can cause to your home.
Property damage claims are often the result of the homeowner’s actions or equipment. Think: overflowing sinks and burst pipes. In fact, most standard policy terms are more likely to cover these common home insurance claims than a once-in-a-lifetime flood. Flood damage caused by a natural event often requires the purchase of additional flood insurance.

While it sounds grim, look on the bright side: this means that some common home insurance claims are preventable with a little proactive work.

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Here are 11 things you can do today to protect your home. If you’re unsure of what you’re looking at or how to complete a repair, call a professional. It’s better to pay for an hour with a plumber than go without a bathtub after a major leak.

  • Clean dryer lint trap – most people regularly clean the lint trap on their machine but forget the one leading to the outside of your house. Lint can get trapped in either spot and start a fire.
  • Repair/replace washing machine hose(s) – replace plastic hoses roughly every three years and check them regularly. If possible, put your machine in a visible (or at least audible) area so that changes or problems are noticeable sooner.
  • Inspect for bathtub/shower leaks – water that flows into your bath or shower needs to stay there, or travel down the drain. Check for grout and edge leaks and repair seals that need it.
  • Check toilets – a toilet that wobbles might not be properly installed. It could leak or injure someone. All leaks should be handled by a professional.
  • Prevent refrigerator leaks – check the lines regularly for kinks if you’re comfortable doing so, otherwise call a professional.
  • Do roof maintenance – basic maintenance, such as gutter cleaning and shingle replacement, is key to a longer life for your roof. No roof lasts forever though so don’t use this as a substitute for replacing an old roof.
  • Clean chimneys and fireplaces – fire safety best practices and a regular chimney-cleaning schedule will help to keep your home safe and your family cozy.
  • Inspect hot water heaters – this one is a job for the pros. A qualified technician should do a yearly inspection of all water heaters more than five years old.
  • Prevent electrical fires – unplug everything that you’re not actively using, keep cords out from under rugs and don’t overload surge protectors.
  • Watch fires closely – be vigilant and always practice safety when cooking or lighting candles. Keep the area free from flammable items and keep the flames in your line of sight.
  • Protect your garage door opener – on those days you park in the street or in your driveway, make sure to take your garage door opener with you and away from thieves.

Not sure you’re doing enough to manage these risks? Contact a VIU by HUB Advisor and talk through coverage options for your specific concerns.