With the seasons changing, it also signals a time to make some changes to your home.
Performing regular fall maintenance tasks and checks in and around your home can help you to identify any possible potential issues and allow you to resolve them before they become big enough issues that could raise your home insurance costs or cause a home insurance claim.
Does Home Insurance Cover Maintenance Issues?
Damage to your home that is a result of general wear and tear or routine maintenance issues may not be covered by your home insurance policy. This could plumbing backups, foundation cracks that lead to leaks, appliances dying, and roof leaks from missing or damaged shingles. This makes doing proactive, routine maintenance in and around your home incredibly important.
Home repair insurance is an optional, stand-alone policy that can help you to cover some of the gaps in your standard home insurance policy, and may be something you want to discuss with your Ontario insurance broker.
Proactive Fall Maintenance Tasks For Inside Your Home
Test Your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
Before beginning to use your furnace or fireplace, it is important to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors batteries and expiration dates.
Check Windows and Door Seals For Potential Drafts and Leaks
As the colder month approach, it is important to check the weatherstripping and caulking on your windows and doors to make sure they aren’t leaking and letting drafts in, and warm air out. This can help you save on your heating and bills. It is also important in making sure that you are preventing any potential water leaks and the subsequent damage they can cause.
Clean Your Chimney and Fireplace
Soot and creosote buildup can ignite and cause a chimney fire. It is a good idea to have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional at least once a year. If your chimney is not clean, it can prevent dangerous gases from evacuating your home, and in the worst-case scenario, cause a chimney fire. Remember to close the damper on your chimney when you are not using it, to prevent cold air from entering your home.
Have Your Furnace Checked
The last thing you want in the middle of winter is furnace problems. Proactive furnace checks can help to prevent home insurance claims. It is also a good idea to change your furnace filter before your use your furnace for the first time.
Inspect Your Hot Water Heater
Many home insurance claims are the result of a leaking hot water heater. Make sure to regularly inspect your hot water heater for signs of moisture, leaks, and corrosion. It is also a good idea to flush your hot water heater twice a year, this will helps to get rid of sediment buildup. Putting a drip pan underneath the water heater that drains to the outside of your property can help protect you from water damage. It is also a good idea to have a professional inspect your hot water heater at least once a year if it is over 5 years old.
Check Your Insulation
It is important to check the insulation in your roof, your attic, and your walls. Make sure to check the attic insulation for wet spots, as this may be an indicator of a roof leak. Having adequate insulation is vital in saving on heating costs.
Fall Maintenance Tasks to Complete Outside Your Home
Inspect Your Roof
Water damage is one of the biggest causes of home insurance claims, and none wants to discover they have a leak during a snowstorm. A damaged roof causes deterioration to your wood, drywall, and insulation, and makes your electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems vulnerable. Making sure your roof is in good condition and does not have any areas that could cause potential water leaks is very important.
Another leading cause of home insurance claims is damage from wind and hail. Make sure to check that all the shingles on the roof are secured, and there are not any shingles that are missing, damaged, or curled.
Some insurance companies may offer a discount on your home insurance if you have a new roof installed, so make sure to speak to your Ontario insurance broker if you replace your roof.
If you fail to do routine maintenance to your roof, and it suffers damage, it may not be covered by your home insurance policy.
Drain Outdoor Hoses
Turn off the water supply to outdoor water faucets and drain and store your garden hoses to prevent freezing water from splitting hoses open. It is also important to blow out and turn off your sprinkler system.
Check and Clean Your Gutters and Down Spouts
Your gutters will drain thousands of gallons of water from your roof every year. With the leaves falling, drains and gutters can become blocked. Gutters that are clogged are one of the causes of ice dams. Make sure to clean out your gutters and drains of any debris so that there is no damage to the exterior surfaces of your home or water in your basement. You may want to consider installing gutter guards as well, as this can make the future clean process much easier.
Avoid Tree Insurance Claims Through Proactive Maintenance
Unmaintained trees and their branches can create liability risks and cause potential damage to your home. If there are tree branches that hang over your roof, driveway, living area, or walkways, you should consider trimming them back. You will also want to make sure that the branches are not too close to any electric cables around your home. If there are dead trees on your property, consider hiring a professional to cut them down.
Inspect Your Driveway and Steps
It is a good idea to check your driveway, steps, and sidewalks to repair any cracks or potholes before the winter season begins. Water getting the cracks can cause them to expand and make the problem worse. It is also important to ensure your sidewalks, steps, and entryways are free of mud, leaves and excess moisture, to prevent any falls or slips from visitors, potentially leading to liability claims. Make sure to also check that any branches haven’t grown into the walkways, another hazard that could cause an accident.
Protect Your Outdoor Furniture
If you have outdoor furniture, you will want to make sure it is protected during the winter months. You may want to consider investing in furniture covers or putting them into indoor storage for the winter. Make sure to tie down and secure anything that could cause damage during a storm.
Inform Your Insurance Broker of Changes to Your Home
Renovations and upgrades you make to your home can change the value and risk of your home and may affect your home insurance policy, so it is important to make sure you inform your Ontario insurance broker if you make any upgrades or renovations to your home.
As you can see, taking the time to handle maintenance tasks around your home proactively can help save you money, help avoid accidents, and help to avoid home insurance claims. If you have any questions about your home insurance policy, reach out to a Youngs Insurance Broker today.