Avoid These 4 Types of Costly Damage to Your Home
According to the Insurance Information Institute, home insurance claims were filed by almost 6 percent of insured homes in the U.S. from 2012 to 2016. Which means each year, millions of Americans are experiencing enough damage to their home to file a claim. Some of the most common home insurance claims are related to:
- Wind and hail damage
- Water damage
- Burglary and theft
Having homeowners insurance is a smart move to help cover expensive damage that occurs from unexpected events like the above. And while it’s important to have the right insurance in place to protect you from the unexpected, it’s also important to take proactive steps to keep your home and family safe. Our home maintenance checklist highlights ways you can try to prevent serious damage from certain hazards — and hopefully reduce claims and costly repairs.
Wind and Hail Damage
Wind and hail can do direct damage to your roof, windows, doors and other parts of your home. They also have the power to hurl dangerous objects at your home and cause trees or power lines to fall on it. Damage from wind or hail is the most common reason homeowners file insurance claims. In fact, each year about one out of 40 insured homes has a property damage claim related to wind or hail.
Homeowners insurance claims statistics show that from 2012 to 2016, the average claim related to wind and hail was $8,625. Imagine what it would cost to buy a new roof for your home. Probably not cheap, right? Since wind and hail are the main causes of damage to roofs, having replacement cost coverage (RCV) for your roof is in your best interest. RCV coverage reimburses you for the full amount it would cost to repair or replace your roof. Meaning, typically, you wouldn’t have to pay more than your deductible for repairs or replacement in the event of a wind and hail claim.
On the other hand, if you have actual cash value coverage (ACV) for your roof, you’d only be covered for what your roof is worth today, taking into consideration its age, condition and type of roofing material. Meaning you’d pay a deductible and any remaining cost out of pocket to repair or replace the roof. Keep reading to learn more about homeowners insurance for roof replacement.
There’s no way to totally wind- and hail-proof your home, but adding these items to your home maintenance checklist can make damage less likely and less costly:
- Check for weak limbs or trunks on nearby trees and keep trees on your property trimmed. Talk to neighbors or your local government about trees that are nearby but not on your property.
- Maintain your roof regularly and replace shingles when needed.
- Move outdoor furniture and other large items inside during storms to prevent them from being blown around.
- Make sure doors and windows are secure.
- Review your homeowners policy if you live in an area that is often affected by hurricanes or tornadoes, so you know what it covers and whether you’d benefit from adding more coverage.
An outdoor pool is a great home feature — an indoor pool of water that has leaked through your ceilings, walls and floors is not. Water damage from pipes that burst after freezing affects about a quarter of a million Americans every winter. Homeowners insurance claims statistics suggest the average insurance claim for water damage from frozen pipes is about $15,000.
Damage from flooding caused by heavy rain or snow isn’t covered by most homeowners insurance policies, so for the best protection, you should buy a separate flood insurance policy, which we offer through the National Flood Insurance Program. Your agent can help you add this to your policy.
Consider these home maintenance tips to prevent or minimize water damage from cracked or frozen pipes:
- Keep gutters clean and in good shape.
- Repair any dripping or cracked pipes.
- Check seals and caulking around showers and tubs, and reseal as necessary.
- Don’t pour sticky, greasy or thick substances down sink drains.
- Keep the heat no lower than 55 degrees in the winter, even when you’re away from home.
- Add or upgrade insulation in areas of the house that get the coldest, like the basement or attic.
- Run warm water through faucets occasionally.
- Consider investing in a smart water sensor, which is an early detection system that warn you if it senses water leaking from things like your washing machine, dishwasher, kitchen sink, water heater, toilet, etc.
If you do face water damage in your home, American Family offers an Emergency Water Removal Program (EWRP) as a benefit to our policyholders. The EWRP helps you recover from water damage in your home by helping clean, repair and restore it quickly.
Home Burglary and Theft
From the pictures on the walls to the colors of your carpets, your home is uniquely yours and a place where you go for comfort and security. And though you do what you can to protect it, you’re still susceptible to the unexpected. In fact, every year, about one in every 250 insured homes has a property damage claim because of theft. Homeowners insurance claims statistics show that from 2012 to 2016, the average claim related to theft was $4,146.
Theft is never your fault. Still, adding these items to your house maintenance list can lower the chance that burglars will target your home:
- Regularly check that the knobs and locks on your doors and windows work.
- Add deadbolts to all outside doors.
- Lock your doors and windows when you’re away from home and at night.
- Install motion-sensing lights outside and turn them on at night.
- If you’ll be away for a few days or longer, ask a neighbor or friend to check on your house, take mail inside and put out trash cans, so it looks like someone is home.
- Install a security system with an alarm that will scare burglars away and notify you and the police if someone enters your property. Frontpoint Home Security System is a wireless security system that helps protect your home in a variety of ways. From motion sensors to security cameras, you can build a customizable system designed to protect your home.
- Don’t hide a spare key outside: The convenience isn’t worth the risk that a burglar will find it.
- Keep and regularly update an inventory of the things you own and what they’re worth so that if there is a burglary, you’ll know what’s missing and what it will cost to replace it.
Bonus: When you make the savvy choice to protect your home with an alarm, you’re eligible for our home alarm discount!
Fires happen to even the most careful homeowners. As the fourth-most common reason for a homeowner to file an insurance claim, about one in 325 insured homes file a property damage claim related to fire and lightning every year. And they’re actually the most expensive claims. Homeowners insurance claims statistics show that from 2012 to 2016, the average claim related to fire was $50,315.
Adding these items to your home maintenance checklist will help protect your home from the most common causes of fire:
- Install smoke detectors on each floor and outside of each bedroom. Inspect them and change the batteries every year.
- Keep electrical items and their cords away from flammable materials to avoid an electrical fire.
- Never leave the oven, stove, space heaters or any very hot object on unattended.
- Remove lint from dryers and air filters.
- Perform regular home preventative maintenance on your heating system and chimneys.
Following this house maintenance list helps you proactively protect your home from the unexpected — which is great for peace of mind. But you should still make sure your insurance gives you enough coverage for all these situations. Find an American Family Insurance agent near you today to help you get customized homeowners insurance coverage to protect what matters most to you.