Have the washer and dryer inspected
Washer or dryer fires – The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) warns that the biggest cause of these fires in the home stems from our failure to remove lint and regularly clean these appliances. Don’t fail to pay attention to the lint filter, the electrical outlets, the vents, and manufacturers’ operating instructions among other things. See the NFPA’s Dryer Safety Tips for much more.
Flooding from damaged/loose washing machine hose(s) – Because of alternating water temperatures and shaking machines, the hoses suffer wear and become loose causing leaks. Since the washers are often located in low-traffic areas, these leaks might go unnoticed until damage is done. Both of these issues are a common cause for homeowners' insurance claims. You can avoid loose or damaged washing machine hoses by inspecting frequently and replacing plastic hoses at least every three years.
Arrange for cleaning and inspection of chimney
When your chimney is clogged with ash and creosote, it prevents the super-hot exhaust from escaping your stove or fireplace. This often results in a chimney fire. When it happens, it can damage not only the chimney but the entire exhaust structure for your fireplace or stove. Moreover, a chimney fire can occur without anyone even knowing it happened. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends having a certified Chimney Sweep inspect your system annually and clean and repair as needed.
Don’t leave the garage door opener in the car
Consumer Affairs warns to never leave your remote garage door opener visible in your car even if your car is locked. Burglars troll neighborhoods and parking lots searching for easy marks. Having your garage door opener gives a criminal easy access to your home. They know that, if they can get into the garage, they can get into your home since the door between your garage and your home is usually not as strong and often not even locked.
When burglars spot the remote opener in your car parked in the mall parking lot, for example, they will often break into and steal your car. Then, if they find your registration in the glove box, it gives them your address. It’s easy for them to then drive to your home where they will steal your valuables at their leisure knowing that you are away.
Keep stairs and walkways clear and safe
be vigilant about the condition of your stairs and walkways both inside and outside to prevent slips and falls in your home. This includes clearing snow and ice from exterior areas and clearing spills from traffic areas inside. Never leave items underfoot and don’t allow loose throw rugs or power cords to obstruct the walkways.
Keep bathtub and shower water-tight
The biggest cause of rotting wood in bathroom floors is the leakage of water from broken seals in the caulking around tubs and showers as well as grout around the floors. These materials dry out, crack and decay over time allowing seepage of water behind them.
By assuring that all spills are wiped up immediately and by always closing the shower curtain or door whenever the shower is running, you can help prevent water damage in the bathroom. Moreover, by inspecting the seals and repairing as needed and using an exhaust fan to prevent condensation on the bathroom surfaces, you’ll further protect against water damage.
Homeowners Insurance Tip
Did you add a new room, expand a kitchen or bathroom, or enclose a porch during the past year? If so, the increased value in your home would likely require a raise in your homeowners insurance coverage limits. If you have not yet spoken to your insurance agent about the changes, there is no time like the present to be sure that you are protected in the event you need to file a claim.
Feel free to contact any of our very capable and experienced agents at the William M. Sparks Insurance Agency here in Lutherville/Timonium, MD to discuss your insurance questions. We can help you review your current insurance policy and explore your options to be sure you have the best coverage and protection according to your circumstances.