9 Vital Homeowner Maintenance Tips to Prevent Costly Damage & Losses

9 Vital Homeowner Maintenance Tips to Prevent Costly Damage & Losses

When you own a home, it’s important to understand the main purpose of homeowners’ insurance is to protect you from major risks like fires, hail, explosions, theft and wind storms. What it doesn’t cover is flooding, earthquakes or everyday wear and tear — or poor maintenance.

  1. Caulk where needed – Caulk is cheap and can help keep moisture out of crevices to avoid water damage and mold. Caulk can help weatherize your home to keep cold air out in the winter and cool air in during the summer. Go through your home and look for any spots where caulk could use an update, or a crevice could use some new caulking.
  2. Clothes dryer lint trap & Exhaust Duct – A common cause of dryer fires is failure to do a thorough cleaning! Because a lint trap is not a foolproof method for catching all the “fuzzy stuff” from clothes, lint can build up and catch fire in the heating element or exhaust duct. From 2010-2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated 15,970 home fires involving clothes dryers or washing machines each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
  3. Inspect & repair the roof – Check your roof for early signs of wear or damage. Look for missing, damaged, and aging shingles.
  4. Test & clean the sump pump & pit – Sump pumps are often found in basements, and are the last line of defense against floods, condensation buildup, and water from drains. Water damage due to sewage and drain backups generally require additional insurance coverage beyond a standard policy.
  5. Inspect & clean chimneys yearly – Unclean chimneys are the leading cause of structure fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association. From 2009-2013, chimneys resulted in $35 million on direct property damage each year. Improper cleaning can also lead to other serious issues, including potential for carbon monoxide, fumes, and possibly soot to enter home living spaces.
  6. Clean & maintain gutters and downspouts – Clogged gutters can cause water to flow down the sides of the home and pool around its foundation. This could lead to major issues like uneven floors, cracks in the walls, and interior water damage.
  7. Check for termites – To prevent termites, get your home inspected by a professional periodically. Once termites spread, they can cause major structural damage. If you catch them early, you can limit the damage.
  8. Regularly maintain pipes & pluming – Homeowners’ insurance does not cover pipe degradation due to old age or poor care. Look closely for cracks and leaks, and have any necessary repairs made immediately.
  9. Inspect your deck – There’s been an increase in the number of decks that have collapsed, fallen apart, or failed, according to the North American Deck and Railing Association. In most cases, simple upkeep could have prevented the accidents.

Questions about your Homeowners policy? Contact your local IMT Agent today! 

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