Winter is coming (and fall is here). That means it’s time to do some fall home maintenance to make sure your home is secure and safe all winter long.
One reason to do a fall home tune-up is obvious: a well-maintained home keeps the cold air out and the energy bills down. A reason you may not have considered: a little work now can actually prevent some common home insurance claims come winter.
Fall Maintenance Tips to Prevent Insurance Claims
Here’s our fall home maintenance checklist, along with insight into how each of these to-dos can prevent problems in the months ahead.
- Make sure you’ve got a shovel and salt. This is one part “be prepared” and one part preventing slips and falls on your property. Especially in the south, where winter storms tend to be ice-heavy, a slippery sidewalk can cause problems. If a visitor slips on ice outside your home and gets injured when they fall, they could come after you to pay your medical bills. The medical payments portion of your homeowners insurance would likely cover the costs, but it’s better to avoid this kind of thing when possible.
- Caulk any cracks in your windows and walls. If you pay your own heating bills, you understand how important it is to make sure your house is well sealed. Keeping winter air from getting in can keep your bills down. It can also help keep water from sneaking into your house, which can prevent water damage down the line. Even more important: that water damage may not be covered by your insurance if your insurance provider thinks it could have been prevented with maintenance!
- Check your furnace. Unless you know a lot about HVAC systems, it probably makes sense to have a professional inspect the state of your furnace. Making sure your heating system is in good working order helps ensure not only that you’ll be cozy the first time you turn it on but also that a malfunctioning part won’t cause a fire or other damage to your home.
- Winterize your outdoor plumbing. This might mean draining hoses and putting them inside, turning off outdoor faucets, and winterizing your sprinkler system. The goal here is to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting when the temperatures drop. While damage from burst pipes inside your home is often covered by homeowners insurance, it’s the kind of problem most people would rather not have to deal with.
- Reseal cracks in the driveway. Small cracks in the fall are often bigger cracks by spring, thanks to water’s tendency to get in them and expand when it freezes. Sealing them now helps prevent them from turning into tripping hazards and thus reducing the risk that guests get injured while they visit. Sealing driveway cracks can help prevent personal liability claims.
- Clean your gutters. This helps ensure that water can drain properly: away from your home, where it can’t cause mold or other types of damage. It also helps prevent collected debris from getting weighed down by water or ice and breaking off.
Fall Maintenance Can Protect You All Winter
Whether winters tend to be mild or severe where you live, making time for basic maintenance is essential to keeping your house in good working order. And if you’re interested in going beyond maintenance and dabbling in improvements, consider applying for better home insurance. Our online application will let you know in minutes whether you could be saving money on your policy.