How to Protect your Home from Summer Storms And Avoid Denied Claims
Your home insurance policy requires you to protect your home.
If you fail to take proper care of your home, your insurer could deny your claim.
Insurers deny and reduce claims regularly for improper maintenance. Some insurers deny claims, for example, because the damage already existed. Others pay you thousands less than you deserve because you failed to abide by meticulous maintenance standards.
With summer storms approaching, here are some of the best ways to protect your home – and make sure your insurance claim goes smoothly.
Review Insurance Coverage
Many homeowners don’t fully understand what home insurance covers – and what it excludes – until it’s too late.
There’s no better time to review insurance coverage than today. Check your coverage, verify your limits, and ensure you have sufficient insurance for everything in your home.
Here are some tips for reviewing insurance coverage before summer storm season:
- Review your home insurance policy limits and make sure your policy has high enough coverage for your home and all possessions inside your home
- Add endorsements for any high-value items (typically items worth more than $500); otherwise, your insurer may not reimburse you for these damages
- Check your car insurance policy to verify you have comprehensive coverage; otherwise, you may not be protected against hail damage and other types of storm damage (car damage does not fall under a home insurance claim, even if the vehicle is parked at home)
- Check exclusions to verify you’re covered against thunderstorms, hail damage, windstorm damage, hurricane damage, tornado damage, and other events; some insurers exclude certain severe weather events, especially if you live in an area where those weather events are common
- Decide if you need flood insurance; major insurers do not offer flood insurance, but insurers partner with FEMA to provide flood insurance to homeowners in low-lying or flood-prone areas, and it may be a smart investment to protect your home all summer long
Install a Lightning Rod
Certain areas are more prone to thunderstorms than others. If you live in a thunderstorm-prone area, then a lightning rod may be a smart investment.
Homeowners in the United States file approximately 100,000 lightning strike-related insurance claims each year. Lightning strikes cause serious damage to homes, electrical systems, and electronics.
A lightning rod prevents a lightning strike from frying your home’s electrical circuitry and damaging electronics.
Buy a Surge Protector
If you don’t want to install a lightning rod, then consider installing a surge protector in your home.
There are surge protector power bars that protect specific electronics. However, these don’t protect your home’s electrical wiring, nor do they protect electronics that are not plugged into the surge protector.
To protect your home and its electronics, ask an electrician about installing a surge protector.
Whether using a lightning rod or a surge protector, a good lightning protection system can help mitigate power surges and avoid costly damage.
Fix Your Roof and Check It Regularly
Your roof is one of the most likely parts of your home to get damaged in a summer storm.
However, if your roof is poorly maintained or has existing damage, then your insurer could deny your storm damage insurance claim.
Fix any problems with your roof and your gutters. Repair missing shingles or tiles. Make sure your chimney has no cracks, and check the flashing to ensure there are no leaks.
Clean Your Gutters
As a homeowner, you have a duty to maintain your gutters. If your gutters are filled with junk, then they can’t do their job correctly during the next storm.
Check your gutters and clean them regularly.
Even if you’ve cleaned your gutters, it’s important to check their performance in a rainstorm. Grab an umbrella and walk outside (if safe to do so) during the next rainstorm, then check to see how your gutters are draining.
Good gutters will funnel water away from your home without overflowing.
Look for rust, cracks, and other damage to your gutters. Repair this damage and test your gutters with a hose to make sure they’re draining correctly.
Check Seals Around Doors and Windows
The caulking around your doors and windows needs to be intact to protect against summer storms.
Check seals and caulking around all entryways to your home, including:
- Holes where wires and pipes enter your home
- Any other access points between your home and the outside world
Install Storm Shutters to Save up to 25% on Homeowners Insurance
People in storm-prone areas often invest in storm shutters. In fact, some insurers offer discounts of 25% for installing storm shutters.
Storm shutters give your home an extra layer of sturdy protection in a storm. They can help you avoid making a home insurance claim – or limit damage to your home from the next storm. Even if you never face a serious storm, you can save hundreds per year on home insurance with storm shutters.
Maintain, Trim, and Monitor Trees Around Your Property
You have a duty to maintain trees around your property. Failing to maintain trees, trim trees, and remove dead trees could lead to insurance claim denial.
In a storm, dead branches become projectiles and damage your home. The larger the branch, the greater the damage.
Hire an arborist to check trees around your property. Remove any dead branches within 10 to 15 feet of your home, or any branches and trees that could land on your home during a storm.
Good Maintenance Today Could Save Your Insurance Claim
In many cases, good maintenance is the difference between a denied and approved insurance claim.
Take steps to maintain your property today – before one summer storm means you’re too late.