Now that the weather is changing in Central Oregon you might be wondering if you’re prepared for any impending storms that may soon be upon us. Bad weather can wreak havoc on more than just the roads; your home can be susceptible to a number of issues exacerbated by crummy weather conditions. There’s more to worry about than winter weather woes; owning a home in the Pacific Northwest can pose challenges all year round.
Here are 4 Common Causes of Homeowners Insurance Claims:
The good news is that most problems are avoidable by taking a few precautions. There may even be instances in which you are required to make defensive provisions if you hope to hang onto your homeowners insurance. Here are some things to keep a watchful eye on.
During summer months limbs can become weak and brittle; weak tree limbs piled high with snow and ice can be a disaster waiting to happen. Protecting your home from damage due to a fallen tree is an easy preventative step most any homeowner can take. Dead trees should be heavily trimmed or cut down entirely. Although, the situation can get a bit sticky if a tree falls onto your property but doesn’t damage your home.
Homeowners insurance typically covers only your home, not necessarily your landscape or a vehicle. So it’s important to make sure to always read and understand exactly what is covered by your insurance policies.
As a property owner, you are responsible for what happens to visitors in and around your home. Taking preemptive measures to protect your guests can be as simple as throwing down some mulch in the winter, or more involved, like installing a handrail along your stairs. Some homeowners use ice melt, or deicing salts in the wintertime to help prevent ice from forming on porches and walkways, but this is not always recommended. If you own a new home and use these products on your property it could void your new home warranty. Salt, coupled with water and ice, is terrible for concrete and accelerates wear and tear on these surfaces. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve ever seen a sidewalk like this around town:
If you want to protect your guests and your surfaces without damaging them, concrete coatings are a great alternative; concrete coatings create grip, are highly customizable, and look Seriously awesome. For more information, check out some of the surfaces we’ve coated to help you determine if your property may be a good candidate.
Frozen pipes can burst causing flooding and major water damage. Most basic policies cover water damage from flooding, but not all of them. Sometimes your coverage will depend on the age of your home and its pipework, this is another reason to make sure you talk to an agent that knows your specific situation.
Some ways you can protect yourself in the event that you are not covered:
When temperatures begin dropping, uninsulated pipes are particularly susceptible to freezing. Areas like attics, basements and crawl spaces should be given special attention to avoid destruction. It’s vital to shut off and drain pipes leading to outside faucets and disconnect garden hoses as well. Additionally, you’ll want to keep your home at about 65 degrees and open cabinets and doors if it gets into the single digits.
Flooding can be caused by more than just a burst pipe. Most of the flooding that homeowners experience isn’t from poor weather, but from an internal source. Your washing machine or dishwasher can be another culprit in the destruction of your abode. According to a study done by the Institute for Business and Home Safety, more than half of all water damage claims are due to the failure of appliance water supply hoses. The average claim for this kind of preventable water damage is commonly more than $6,000—ouch! Changing your hoses every five years is one of the easiest steps you can take to protect yourself against flooding. If you’re planning on going out of town for an extended period of time, make sure you to shut off those main water valves too.
Another catastrophe to be avoided: ice dams. An ice dam can lay waste to your roof and interior spaces. An ice dam happens when snow and ice melts and refreezes near the outer edges of your roof; this creates a dam where water is unable to escape. This water, now trapped on your roof, begins draining into your home. There are a few different ways to deal with ice dams, but one of the easiest is preventing them from forming in the first place.
Snow roof rakes can be helpful in removing some or all of the snow on your roof, however, if you have a second story this may prove to be a bit more challenging. Another alternative to dealing with an ice dam is installing heat cables or heat tape. These heated cables melt snow and ice to create channels for water to flow off your roof. Heated tape that is installed correctly can even be left undisturbed on your roof year-round. Another advantage of installing heated cables to prevent ice dams is that they can possibly save you money on your homeowners insurance. If your home is prone to developing ice dams, installing heated cables to avoid damage may be your best option. For more information, watch our video on how heated cables and water damage can affect your insurance. Be sure to contact your own insurance agent too, they can provide you with the lowdown on discounts offered.
There you have it! With just a little preparation—and a good insurance agent—you should be in good shape to take on any weather, appliance, or uninvited guest.
If you’d like to chat with us or have a special project we can help you with, we are here for you. You can reach us at 541-390-0590 or simply fill out our contact form and we’ll be in touch!