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Many of life’s unexpected events can be anticipated — and even avoided — as long as you know what to look out for. Let’s walk through some tips to help you steer clear of costly and inconvenient insurance claims.

Water

Water damage is the leading cause of home insurance claims, making up about half of all Economical claims across the country. Whether the culprit is a backed-up sewer, broken or burst pipes, heavy rain, or the spring thaw, water seems to make its way into even the smallest nooks and crannies — and it sure can make a mess. To prevent hefty water damage claims, keep these tips in mind:

Did you know that not all home insurance policies come with coverage for damage caused by sewer backups or water that enters your home from other external sources? Learn more about flood insurance and contact your broker to find out what’s covered by your own policy.

Hail and wind

Damage caused by hail (and the wind that goes along with it) is the first runner up. When it comes to wind-related damage, the wind itself is only partially to blame. It’s the objects that are picked up and tossed around your property that tend to be the problem. Here are a few ways to keep those pesky hail and wind risks at bay:

  • Safely secure or store any patio furniture, planters, or outdoor tools that could be damaged by the hail or moved by the wind
  • Inspect your roof at least once a year, and have any missing or damaged shingles replaced by a professional roofing contractor
  • Keep your trees and shrubs trimmed, and be sure to remove any loose or dead branches that could become airborne in a storm and break through a window
  • Avoid personal injury by staying indoors and keeping kids and pets away from glass windows and doors that could be shattered or broken in by flying debris

Fire

Although common, fire is one of the most preventable causes of home insurance claims. To keep your home fire-free, don’t forget to:

  • Install smoke detectors on every floor of your home and test them each month (and while you’re at it, make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors, too)
  • Extinguish candles or other open flames before leaving the room
  • Avoid kitchen fires by rolling up your sleeves, placing lids on bubbling pans, and turning pot handles away from curious kids and pets
  • Learn how to safely extinguish a kitchen fire before one happens
  • Have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional every year
  • Keep your fireplace safe: open the damper before lighting it and keep the flue open — and always use a fireplace screen to keep your floors free of embers If you smoke, take it outside and park your butts in a can of water or sand
  • If you have a wood stove or pellet stove, take the necessary precautions to keep it in good working order
  • Keep a home fire extinguisher on hand and make sure you follow the maintenance guidelines so it’s in good working order if you ever need it

Theft

Having your personal belongings stolen from your home or property is just that — it’s personal. Not only can it be tough on your emotions, but it can also be difficult or even impossible to replace what has been taken — especially sentimental, one-of-a-kind, or antique items. The good news is there are several low-effort, no-cost steps you can take to deter theft:

They say the best way to predict the future is to create it. When it comes to home insurance claims, there is a lot that you can do to stop damage from happening in the first place. Although it may not be possible to avoid damage in every situation, you can certainly play a big role in keeping it to a minimum.

Your broker can help you choose the right home insurance for your family, and they’ll be there for you when you need to make a claim. If you don’t already have a broker, you can find one here.


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