Maintaining a home takes a lot of work. From regular cleaning and landscaping to appliance maintenance and safety precautions, home upkeep is enough to make homeowners long for more hours in the day (or at least the weekend).
Unfortunately, this work is essential to keep your home comfortable, safe, and less prone to property damage.
We wanted to see how seriously homeowners take this mandate, so we surveyed them. What we found was kind of surprising: 55 percent of homeowners only sometimes or rarely do home maintenance, and 37 percent lack basic security measures like a security alarm, motion-activated outdoor lighting, or water detection systems.
Let’s look at the results in full and unpack why these measures really matter.
Only 45% of homeowners do home maintenance tasks seasonally (i.e., cleaning chimneys and gutters, checking the foundation, making small improvements, etc.).
37% of respondents don’t have any of the following safety measures in place: security alarm, motion-activated outdoor lighting, automatic water detection & shut-off, hurricane shutters, secured outdoor furniture, or impact-resistant windows.
Almost a quarter of respondents (24%) would prioritize adding a centrally monitored security system if they had the budget.
Most respondents (52%) primarily care about home safety to keep themselves / their family safe.
Home maintenance is risk management
You might not think of keeping your home in good condition as risk management, but it is. A well-kept home is less likely to experience accidental losses and damage. For example, if you regularly trim trees whose branches hang over your home or powerlines, you’re less likely to experience roof damage or service interruption when a windstorm knocks limbs down.
Also, a well-maintained property reduces opportunities for visitor injuries. For example, say you notice your home’s outdoor handrail is loose. If a visitor falls off your porch steps because of that pesky handrail, they could sue you over their medical expenses. But if you fix that handrail right away, you proactively limit the chance of those accidents.
If homeowners want to keep their families safe, regular maintenance is essential. As we cover in our Ultimate guide to home maintenance, homeowners should do seasonal maintenance to limit the chance of:
- Fires caused by unkempt dryer vents, unmaintained HVAC units, or blocked chimneys
- Water damage caused by blocked gutters and downspouts, frozen pipes, or malfunctioning sump pumps
- Foundation damage caused by plants growing too close to the home
- Roof damage caused by downed tree branches
- Visitor injuries caused by blocked entryways, neglected steps, uneven walkways, or ungated pools
60% of burglars said the presence of a security alarm in a home would cause them to abandon that target.
Safety updates don’t have to break the bank
While home safety measures usually require some investment – either time or money – we’d like to make an argument for it. First, some security improvements can reduce your insurance bill, such as:
- Centrally monitored security systems
- Water detection and shut-off systems
Secondly, these measures can prevent costly thefts and damage later on. Take a security system for starters. A 2012 study from UNC Charlotte found about 60 percent of burglars said that the presence of an alarm in a home would cause them to abandon that target. It also found most burglars would try to determine if an alarm was present before attempting a burglary, which is why alarm signage and cameras can be a powerful deterrent.
Though less prevalent than home security alarms, smart water detection systems are on the rise, and rightfully so. These are proof that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Sensors start at about $50, but considering that even an inch of standing water in your basement can cost $4,000 for water removal alone, you can imagine the savings if you are alerted to a leak well before it gets out of hand. That’s just one of the reasons Kin partners with service providers who make homes safer. An investment in these preventative measures now may help you save on insurance – and potential headaches – down the road.