Cleaning out guttersWelcome to 2018! There’s a lot going on this year, and you want to make it a success. So, you’ve probably set a priority to get your affairs in good working order. One part of your life that you cannot neglect this year is your home’s maintenance.

Think about it. Owning a home is expensive. If something were to happen to your home, it could cost you a lot of money trying to recover. That’s why you should get out in front of potential household risks. Part of that process involves making sure you have the appropriate homeowners insurance. Another part is to stay on top of home maintenance tasks. We all know that keeping your home in shape can help prevent problems down the road.

Review Your Homeowners Insurance this Year

Most homeowners carry insurance for their property, possessions and liabilities. Property and possessions coverage can help homeowners repair or replace their home’s structure or their belongings. Liability protection can help the homeowner compensate third parties who sustain harm on the property or as a result of the policyholder’s actions.

However, every home is different; so every homeowners insurance policy should be also. Policyholders should work with their insurance agents to establish targeted coverage. As you move into 2018, pull out your policy and consider your needs in the coming year:

  • Does your policy still meet your lender’s requirements? If you finance or have a mortgage on your house, your bank might require you to carry homeowners coverage.
  • Review the value of your coverage. As your home’s value and your own personal needs change, you might need to increase your coverage limits. For example, if you’ve added an addition to your home, you might need higher property coverage. A new baby might warrant more possessions coverage. The addition of a pet to your home might mean that it’s time to buy additional liability coverage. Only manipulate your coverage after talking to your insurance agent and financial advisers.
  • Can you save on your policy costs this year? Each new policy period might offer you the chance to save on your coverage premiums. For example:
    • Adding certain security mechanisms to your home might reduce your policy costs.
    • Increasing your deductible will remove some of the cost burden from your insurer. The deductible is the amount of money you pay out of pocket before your insurance company pays the rest of a claim. Many insurance companies charge lower premiums for customers who carry higher deductibles.
    • Ask if you qualify for discounts on your coverage. Many insurers offer discounts for customers who pay their premiums automatically, install certain security items or take various other steps to secure the home.
  • Will changing your coverage save you money? Ask your independent agent to compare the policy offerings of different insurance companies. Most independent agencies work with a variety of insurance providers. If you decide to switch providers, you might be able to get essentially the same or more coverage at a lower cost.

Undertake Exhaustive Home Maintenance in 2018

After you’ve secured your insurance coverage, take steps to keep your home in good shape. The more secure your home, the lesser your chances of experiencing costly damage.

  • Inspect the roof for signs of structural problems. These might include broken shingles, beams, water or mold damage. If you let such problems grow unchecked, they could lead to extensive repair costs.
  • Check the seals of the home around the roof, doors, windows and other openings. If they leak, you might allow hazardous pests or moisture into the home while letting clean air or heat out.
  • Foundations might shift and settle. This could cause damage to your home’s structure and cost thousands of dollars to repair. You should have the foundation inspected annually. You can often do minor foundation repairs as needed to help keep the home stable.
  • Clean out plumbing, gutters and drainage ditches. They will direct water away from your home and help prevent flooding and other damage.
  • Inspect the home’s wiring. Look for signs of broken outlets, damaged fuses and other deterioration. A poorly-functioning electrical system could lead to energy waste and high fire risks.
  • Keep alarms in your home to detect radon, carbon monoxide and fire hazards. Familiarize yourself with items in your home that pose these risks. Remove and repair them as necessary.
  • Clean, service and use your HVAC system with care.
  • Check your home’s appliances for signs of damage or deterioration. If any of these items stop functioning, they could cause wider problems. Repair and remove these items as necessary.

Keep in mind that your homeowners insurance will not likely cover normal wear and tear. Therefore, it’s best to stay on top of your home’s maintenance as we enter the New Year. If you ever encounter home damage, and wonder if your insurance will cover it, contact your agent. They can help you understand your coverage. Call us for a Tampa home insurance quote at 800.966.6481.

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