1. Locate Shut-Off Valves
Surprisingly, few homeowners are aware of where the shut-off valves for water, gas, and electricity are for their property. Knowing this information can help to drastically reduce the amount of damage to the property in the event of a burst pipe, gas leak, or other unexpected event.
2. Maintain Washer and Dryer
The washing machine is one of the most common causes of water damage in the home. If it’s been a few years since the homeowner has replaced the washing machine’s rubber hoses, there is an increased risk that the hoses could burst, which could spill out hundreds of gallons of water onto the floor. In addition, if lint builds up over time in the dryer vent, it could spark a fire in the home. To minimize these risks, washing machine hoses should be swapped out for more durable steel-belted hoses, and dryer vents should be professionally cleaned at least annually.
3. Go Green
Property owners can make their homes more energy efficient by installing long-lasting compact fluorescent lightbulbs, a wireless thermostat, and other smart devices that provide greater control over the energy output of household appliances. The data from many of these smart devices can also be shared with insurance carriers to help better manage insurance risk, which can sometimes result in a premium discount.
4. Consider Umbrella Insurance
Alarmingly, many homeowners don’t have a full understanding of what their homeowner’s insurance policy covers. Homeowners that have pets, own a recreational vehicle, or travel frequently may want to consider purchasing an umbrella insurance policy for an extra layer of coverage over their primary liability coverage.
5. Purge the Junk
It can be difficult to part with possessions; however, the National Fire Protection Associations says that the risks of a fire go up when flammable items such as newspapers, clothing, furniture, and clutter accumulates in the home. Encourage homeowners to make 2019 the year that they finally clean up the basement, attic, closets, and other areas of the home where items are typically stored.
6. Secure the Property
If a monitored security system isn’t financially feasible, make homeowners are of best practices to keep their property secure when not at home. For example, installing lamp timers and having a neighbor shovel the driveway when out of town can help to deter burglaries.
7. Check Smoke Detectors
Ask homeowners about the last time that they checked their smoke detectors. As a rule of thumb, smoke detectors are only good for about 10 years and should be checked twice a year. To help keep track of how often the smoke detector is being checked, suggest that homeowners write the month and year on the back of the smoke detector each time they check it.
Adding these insurance-related resolutions to the list of areas that homeowners are hoping to make improvements will help lead to a safer and less costly 2019.
Contact us at Insurance Risk Services to learn more about our in-person property inspections and how we help to mitigate insurance risk.