6 Ways to Protect Your Home from Unfortunate and Unexpected Dangers

Guest post by JT Ripton, Contributor to HomeInsurance.com

Your home is likely your largest investment, and full of sentimental value. Unfortunately there are instances when your precious property will face unexpected dangers and risks. Some of these you can prevent by being proactive now.

Cracks appear in the foundation of a home after landslides during a winter storm. Photo By Laura Lee/FEMA News Photo

Cracks appear in the foundation of a home after landslides during a winter storm. Photo via Laura Lee/FEMA News Photo

1.) Have Your Home Inspected for Structural Damage

Maintaining your home is critically important to preventing expensive damage in the future. To do so, ensure you have a proper home inspection that points out any problem areas. Then, address any issues with professionals. Key areas to monitor on an ongoing basis include your roof, the home’s foundation, insulation, windows, and heating and cooling systems. Don’t let the value of your home drop because you are not providing preventative maintenance to these systems.

2.) Maintain Plumbing Systems and Keep an Eye Out for Moisture

Water damage is one of the most devastating types of damage that can occur in and around a home. Moisture easily leads to the development of mold, bacteria, and viruses. Keep your home protected by ensuring your drainage system works properly, including sewer lines, faucets, and water lines. Don’t let a small leak or a running toilet go unchecked. If you notice any dampness in your basement, you should have a professional check it out. Hire a licensed plumber to inspect your home for these risks on an annual basis to reduce the risk of hidden problems.

3.) Control Pests

Termites can eat away at the foundation of a home for years, often undetected, until they cause significant damage. You’ll find that other pests, including everything from ants to birds to mice can infiltrate your home and cause damage to the structure, while also putting your health at risk. An annual inspection from a licensed exterminator will reduce these risks. It can also help to keep wood piles and compost bins away from the home and make sure all water basins are draining properly. Be vigilant as well. Look for signs of infestation and get expert help when you find them.

It pays to ensure that your home's electrical wiring is up to code.

It pays to ensure that your home’s electrical wiring is up to code. Photo via Amanda Bicknell/FEMA

4.) Inspect Wiring and Install Smoke Alarms

You can reduce many of the fire risks to your home through prevention. Ensure the electrical system is up to code by calling a licensed technician to upgrade and inspect it. Install smoke and fire alarms throughout the home so that if there is a risk, you can get out of the home fast. You’ll also want to invest in proper inspection of each of your home’s appliances, as well as the fireplace if you have one. Keep candles away from children or in other at-risk locations. Prevention is the best way to prevent against fire risks.

5.) Install Secure Locks and Light the Home at Night

Though many people think they won’t be a robbery victim, it occurs in all types of neighborhoods. But there are certain things you can do to reduce some of the risks associated with it. An alarm system offers peace of mind and protection for most homes. The installation of security windows and doors, especially with theft-proof locks on them, can reduce the risks to your home as well. It’s important to keep the house lit, and keep doors locked. Make your home a hard target for any criminal by adding these protective features.

Home flooded after Tropical Storm Fay.

Home flooded after Tropical Storm Fay. Photo via Barry Bahler/FEMA

6.) Invest in Proper Insurance Policies

While you should focus on reducing risks to your home, you should also consider the risk to your financial situation if one of these events occurs. Flooding, tornadoes, heavy thunderstorms and blizzards, as well as hurricanes and earthquakes can uproot your life and change everything if your policy isn’t comprehensive enough.

The best way to protect yourself is to invest in adequate homeowner’s insurance. While you’re shopping for policies, it’s important to remember that the region in which you live will have a heavy impact on the type of coverage you’ll need, as well as the associated costs. Home insurance in Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico, for instance, are at a higher risk of fire, while Ohio, Indiana, and Oklahoma are at higher risk of tornadoes and flooding. Make note of the specific weather patterns that threaten your region, and keep them in mind when you make coverage decisions.

Homeowners can prevent both physical and financial loss to their home with these effective preventative measures. By investing in quality home inspections, an outstanding homeowner’s insurance policy, and ongoing vigilance and maintenance, you can maintain your home’s value over the long term while also reducing the risk to you and your family living there.

About JT Ripton

JT Ripton is a freelance writer out of Tampa who occasionally writes for homeinsurance.com, covering a myriad of topics, real estate and home improvement being a couple of them. You can follow him on Twitter @JTRipton.