Midwesterners and homeowners in the Southeast are no strangers to severe weather that causes damage to home and property. According to data that Travelers gathered from 2009-2016, there are five top causes of damage to your home. The most common damage isn’t necessarily the most expensive, but homeowners should be proactive in protecting and maintaining their homes to minimize their risk.
Number 1: Wind
Every spring, it seems more areas suffer tornados and other storms with damaging winds. These winds can rip shingles off roofs, tear roofs off houses, topple trees, and send debris flying through windows. If you haven’t already done it, and your home has survived undamaged so far, now is the time to take a good look around the home and visually inspect the roof. If you notice missing shingles, have a licensed roofer replace them. Secure outdoor furniture, patio umbrellas, or any other lightweight outdoor décor that could take an unscheduled flight through a window. Keep trees pruned and remove those that are dead or dying. If you expect big storms annually, consider keeping a supply of plywood handy for boarding up windows. If you intend to build a new home, inquire about anchors or straps for the roof and foundation, being careful to observe what local codes and your insurer’s rules permit.
Number 2: Non-Weather-Related Water
Homeowners may be surprised to learn that water damage coming from inside the home is a more frequent source of damage than weather-related water damage. Sewer issues, leaky pipes, and malfunctioning appliances cause more frequent water damage than bad weather. Wet basements and leaky pipes can lead to mold and ruin rugs and furniture. Know where your main water shut-off valve is located, inspect pipes and drain hoses from appliances often, and think about how to manage condensation in your home.
Number 3: Hail
Although it can still happen unexpectedly, fortunately, meteorologists have gotten very good at predicting the approach of storms that may produce hail. Get the car and the patio furniture under cover, and protect the inside of the house from broken window glass by drawing the drapes or shutting the blinds before the storm hits. When it comes time to replace your roof, look into roofing materials made to resist impact.
Number 4: Weather-Related Water
Frozen pipes, storm-water runoff, and ice dams on the roof all can lead to water damage. Make sure your gutters are clear, and extend your downspouts to ensure they carry water well away from your home’s foundation. Check to see that the grade of your yard carries water away from the home. Consider installing additional drainage if necessary. Address roof leaks immediately—the source can be hard to find, so consult a licensed roofer if you notice water coming in and you can’t figure out where the leak originates
Number 5: Theft
Theft is among the top five reasons for property claims, according to Travelers. Take common-sense measures like installing motion detecting lights, a security alarm system, and locks on all the windows and doors. Get to know your neighbors, and make sure your home looks occupied even when you are out or away.
Some common forms of damage to your home are predictable, while others come as a shock from sudden storms or plumbing failures. Being prepared by keeping your home and appliances well maintained can go a long way to reducing or preventing property loss.