OK, so we know Insurance Awareness Day sounds made-up and lame, but we didn’t create it. Blame the Internet. The thing is, having the official day – June 28 – gives you a reason to step back, look at your home, and notice some of the insurance risks it poses. Consider this: You could find an easy fix to save you hassle in a storm and money in monthly premiums. Isn’t that worth playing along?
We’ve created a simple insurance risk scavenger hunt so you can spot some common issues and fix them before they become major problems or claims. Take a minute today to examine features of your home and make sure it won’t go up in smoke:
Notice anything? Hopefully you’ll see smoke detectors. You should have a working smoke alarm in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of the home, according to the National Fire Protection Administration. The NFPA also recommends that you change the batteries in those smoke detectors at least once a year. While 93% of U.S. households report working smoke detectors, only 63% of those homes have checked the batteries in the past 6 months, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.
Fire claims typically are the most devastating for homeowners, with an average cost of $34,306 per event, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), so keep your alarms up to date. You also could earn home insurance discounts for having either smoke detectors, sprinklers, or both in your house.
Look at the stairs in your home. Does your stair runner shift while you’re walking? Is one of the steps creaky? Do you lack a handrail? Is there a rug or other moveable object at the top? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have an insurance risk on your hands. Try to look at your house from the point of view of a stranger: Could your house hurt you?
If it could, fix those areas right away. The second most costly type of claim typically is for personal injury or property damage, with an average cost of $18,804 (III). While you’re fixing the stairs, take a closer look at other risky areas such as bathrooms without bathmats, unanchored rugs, or large pieces of furniture.
Examine the state of your roof and your windows. Any visible damage to either could make your life difficult with potential wind, hail, and water claims. Wind and hail damage generate the most frequent claims and the third most costly, with the average claim at $7,307 (III). Regularly inspect your roof for cracked, torn, or missing shingles as well as signs of moisture and mold. Remember, a new roof could not only save you from making a costly claim; it also could reduce your monthly bills. Newer roofs (fewer than 10 years old) can earn you a home insurance price cut.
If your backyard has a pool, surround it with a self-locking gate. If not, it could be the riskiest thing on your property. What’s the big deal? Home insurance carriers consider pools “attractive nuisances” – meaning they can entice children – even uninvited ones – onto your property and put them at risk. Locked fences can help mitigate some of the risk of unintentional harm and reduce some of the financial burden.
Lock it up
Theft is the fourth most frequent cause of claims, according to the III. The last step toward protecting your home is locking it up. Examine your exterior locks to make sure they all work and aren’t eroded. You could earn home insurance discounts by installing bolting locks on exterior doors or purchasing a security system.
Now your home is safe from insurance risk, you don’t have to worry. Sit back, relax, and enjoy insurance awareness day knowing you’re covered for anything that comes your way.