Fall…Time to Prepare for Winter And Review Homeowners Policy

fall home maintenance and insurance tips

As the leaves turn and the days shorten we are reminded that winter is just around the corner
Winter is always a challenge, but it can be less daunting if we take the time to prepare.

Early preparation can be divided into two steps. Step one requires doing all you can to make sure the worst doesn’t happen. Step two should be planning for when the worst does happen. The following tips are just some of the things you should be thinking about.

Step One

  • If you haven’t already done so, have your heating system cleaned and inspected, and the filters changed. This will ensure that the system’s in the best possible condition as you head into winter.
  • Check the caulking around windows and doors to lessen heat loss.
  • Insulate any pipes in areas that might freeze.
  • Check your gutters and downpipes for debris.
  • Make sure your chimney is clean.
  • Inspect your roof for any loose tiles, and your walls for loose siding.
  • Replace all the batteries in your smoke detectors, carbon-monoxide detectors, and thermostats.
  • Trim any branches and inspect any trees that might fall onto your property.
  • If you burn fuel for heat (gas, oil, or wood), or have an attached garage, install a carbon monoxide detector.

Step Two

Go through your home insurance policy:
        If your pipes freeze, are you covered? Assuming that you did your best to maintain the heat in your property, most policies will cover repair to damage caused by frozen pipes, but they will not cover the cost to repair the section of broken pipe.
        If you have a chimney fire, are you covered? Typically, yes, but if the insurer believes that the fault was yours—i.e. you didn’t keep the chimney clean—you may be denied future coverage.
        If your roof leaks, are you covered? Most roof leaks will be covered, but the amount of coverage will depend on the cause: if there is clear evidence of neglect—i.e. the roof is in disrepair—you may be denied a payout.
        If your smoke detector fails, are you covered? Most insurance policies cover against accidental fire. However, insurance companies typically require that homes have working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. If any is found to be faulty that could affect a payout. Furthermore, if a home is vacant for more than 30 consecutive days it may not be covered under a standard policy.
        If a tree falls on your house, are you covered? Many homeowners insurance policies give coverage against a tree falling on a building, but the coverage may only extend to damage to the building itself, you may not be covered for the cost of removing the tree.
        Often, being prepared requires little more than a phone call. If you’re in any doubt about any of your coverage, talk to your broker or agent today. Don’t wait until the worst happens to find out!

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