Common Types of Home Insurance Claims for Summer & How to Maximize Your Settlement

From backyard barbecues to burglaries, summer has a higher risk of certain home insurance claims. Fortunately, there’s no better time than today to prepare for summer insurance claims.

Check your policy, review your coverage, upgrade insurance, and prepare for some of the most common insurance claims statistically likely to occur this summer.

Woman working on home insurance claim

Outdoor Fires & Backyard BBQ Claims

Summer is a great time to grill outdoors and relax around a fire pit. However, these two activities are also statistically more likely to lead to an insurance claim than an average activity around the home.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), July is the peak month for grill fires, with roughly 20% of grill fires for the entire year occurring in this month alone. The other summer months – May, June, and August – are the next most common months for grill fires.

Over 9,000 home fires per year are started by grills and barbecues. It may have started as a simple backyard grill party – but it ends as a devastating house fire.

How to Avoid a Barbecue or Grill Claim

  • Avoid grilling near flammables
  • Don’t leave grills unattended
  • Make sure the embers of a charcoal grill are out before you leave it
  • Check for leaks or breaks on your gas line (for gas grills)

How to Maximize Claim Settlements

  • Check your liability and personal property coverage before hosting a barbecue
  • Document evidence with photos and videos
  • Hire a public adjuster for house fire insurance claims over $10,000

Home Burglaries

You’re more likely to have your house robbed during the summer than other times of year. People leave on vacation, making homes a good target for thieves.

A standard homeowners insurance policy covers burglary-related losses. However, many are disappointed by insurance payouts after a burglary.

Insurers often compensate you based on the actual cash value of an item, which is its value minus depreciation. You may have paid $2,000 for your TV three years ago, but it’s only worth $400 today because of depreciation.

Similarly, if high-value items are stolen, then you may be limited by what you can claim. You need to add an endorsement to your insurance policy for items exceeding a certain value – say, $1,000 or $5,000. If you failed to specifically insure a diamond ring or valuable guitar exceeding that value, then you may be out of luck.

How to Avoid a Burglary Claim

  • Install a home security system
  • Install motion detection lights
  • Have neighbors check mail while you’re away
  • Setup remote light timers to make your house look inhabited while you’re away
  • Hire a lawn care maintenance service while you’re away
  • Avoid putting photos on social media until you’re home from vacation
  • Refrain from telling anyone who is not “need-to-know” that you will be away from home

How to Maximize Claim Settlements

  • Upgrade home insurance with endorsements to cover high-value items
  • Check coverage to verify whether you have replacement or actual cash value coverage for possessions
  • Make an inventory of all items in your house and their approximate value
  • Keep receipts for high-value items
  • Prove the value of your items with photos, videos, and other documentation such as model and serial numbers for any electronics, appliances and other identifiable items.

Water Damage, Rainstorm, and Thunderstorm Insurance Claims

Warm weather brings thunderstorms, and thunderstorms can bring strong winds and rain. Many homeowners deal with serious water damage, rainstorm, and thunderstorm insurance claims during the summer.

A standard homeowners insurance policy covers rainstorm and thunderstorm damage.

However, standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover flooding. If heavy rain causes water to back up on your street, for example, and that water enters your house, then you may not be covered. If you live in a flood zone, then you may want to buy flood insurance through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.

Check your insurance policy to verify your water damage, rainstorm, and thunderstorm insurance coverage.

How to Avoid Water & Windstorm Damage Claims

  • Clear dead trees around your home
  • Verify the structural integrity of your roof and home
  • Check your home and roof thoroughly after a major windstorm or thunderstorm
  • Make sure you don’t have areas that will allow rain entry with high winds, such as doors, windows and roofing components. Wind driven rain is excluded in most policies without an endorsement to change the policy.

How to Maximize Claim Settlements

  • Take steps to immediately protect your property after damage has occurred (like placing a tarp over a hole in your roof)
  • Get quotes from multiple roofing contractors
  • Avoid letting a contractor manage your insurance claim (some contractors request permission to deal directly with your insurance company and manage your claim from start to finish). Not only is this illegal in most states, but their estimates and repairs often overlook items such as city and county codes and standard building safety issues.
  • Hire a public adjuster for costly insurance claims (say, claims worth over $10,000)

Swimming Pool Accidents & Injuries

Swimming pools are a fun addition to a home. They can also be a liability nightmare, which could lead to huge homeowners insurance claims.

Accidents and injuries associated with swimming pools cause millions of dollars of damages – and hundreds of deaths – across the United States each year.

A standard homeowners insurance policy should cover accidents and injuries that occur on your property – including in and around your pool.

However, your insurance company may deny your claim because you failed to follow safety guidance – like installing a fence around your pool.

How to Avoid Pool-Related Insurance Claims

  • Follow all safety guidelines around your pool
  • Never let someone use your pool without supervision
  • Check your insurance policy for any pool-related exclusions
  • Use childproof locks on gates around the pool
  • Always lock pool gates and doors

How to Maximize Claim Settlements

  • Install a security camera around your pool
  • Document, with photos and videos, any safety equipment you have in and around the pool
  • Contact a lawyer for major pool accident and injury claims
Water Damage Insurance Claims

There are more water damage insurance claims in the summer than at other times of year. Some water damage comes from thunderstorms and rainstorms. Other water damage comes from leaky pools, hurricanes, or tornadoes.

A standard home insurance policy covers water damage to your home. However, it does not cover flood damage.

Some of the common types of water damage that may be covered by homeowners insurance include:

  • Leaking outdoor pools
  • Storm damage insurance claims
  • Windstorms, tornadoes, and hurricanes pushing water into your home IF you have a wind driven rain endorsement, otherwise, you might not be covered for this type of damage.
  • A broken roof causing water to enter your home

Insurance may push back against these damages. If your water damage occurred due to clogged gutters or neglected roof leaks, for example, they will deny your claim.

How to Avoid Water Damage Insurance Claims

  • Take immediate steps after a storm to protect your home from further damage
  • Verify local flood zones, then decide whether or not to buy flood zone coverage
  • Maintain and inspect your pool
  • Watch for higher-than-usual water bills or utility bills

How to Maximize Claim Settlements

  • Verify you have adequate coverage and limits
  • Hire a public adjuster for water damage insurance claims over $10,000
  • Dispute your insurer’s claim that water was caused by flood damage
  • Avoid signing documents from your insurance company
Final Word

Certain home insurance claims increase in frequency during the summer.

Hopefully, by taking certain steps, you can avoid these claims. If not, help is available to get the settlement you deserve from your homeowners insurance company.

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