You never know when disaster might strike. Flash floods, earthquakes, fires, and electricity outages don’t come with warnings. Here are six things you can do to disaster-proof your home.
CONDUCT REGULAR HOME INSPECTIONS
Home inspections are required when buying a new home, but what about inspecting the home you’ve lived in for years? As a homeowner, you need to resolve minor issues before they become expensive. When conducting your own home inspection, look for: cracks in walls and foundation; roof damage, such as missing or damaged shingles, loose panels, or visible leaks; signs of rot or wear on attic trusses and floor joists; and window or door damage.
CHECK SMOKE ALARMS
Nearly half of home fires are the result of alarms not going off because batteries in smoke alarms were either expired or had been removed. Check the batteries in your alarms and conduct a test to ensure they’re working properly.
KEEP IT CLEAN
Keeping your home clean can help prevent mold and fire. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an estimated 7,000 fires, 200 injuries, and 10 deaths are attributed to dryer fires each year. The lint trap should be cleaned after every load and the dryer vent every couple of months. To prevent mold, get rid of clutter, clean up spills or leaks immediately, and vacuum regularly.
MIND THE EXTERIOR
Blocked gutters can lead to roof leaks and water damage, so be sure to clean gutters a few times a year. Also, prune trees and shrubbery on a regular basis – a heavy storm could send a tree branch crashing right through your home.
Important documents and valuables should be stored in a fireproof/waterproof box. You can keep digital copies in a secure, password protected, cloud-based service.
CARRY THE RIGHT INSURANCE
A seatbelt only works if you’re wearing it. Insurance only protects you against disasters if you have the right coverage. Your homeowner’s insurance policy typically doesn’t cover damage caused by floods or earthquakes. It’s important to know your deductible and policy limit amounts and understand what your policy covers.
Although you may not be able to prevent damage from every disaster, you can take steps to reduce the risk and recover quickly if one should strike.
Submitted by Larisa Planida, Account Executive for Tradestone Insurance, with over 25 years of experience in the insurance industry