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How To Avoid Homeowners Insurance Hazards This Fall

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Insurance companies keep records of everything, including what kinds of claims occur each month. This information helps us identify seasonal hazards that lead to insurance claims and understand how to avoid them.

Data from the recent Farmers Insurance Seasonal Smarts Digest reveals several potential home insurance claims  that are commonly filed in the fall. In this episode of the DarrasLiving podcast, we discuss three fall hazards you may encounter and what you can do to avoid them.

Home theft

Farmers' data shows that approximately 1 in 5 theft and vandalism claims (21 percent) are filed in the fall each year. Thieves know that many homes are empty and stocked with gifts during the holidays, making it the perfect time to strike.

According to ASecureLife.com, a burglary happens once every 15 seconds, and the average loss per burglary is U.S. break-ins is $2,230.

Prevention tips

Homeowners can take a few simple steps to deter would-be thieves:

  • Use a timer for indoor lights and motion detectors for outdoor lights
  • Update your security system; today's systems can notify you remotely if there has been an intrusion, detect vehicles approaching your home, automatically lock doors, etc.
  • If you cannot afford a comprehensive security system, consider a smart doorbell with an intercom and security camera to screen callers and interact with visitors  when you are away

Fire damage

Ready.gov estimates property losses from fall fires total more than $7.3 billion each year. Smoke also causes an increase in insurance claims; Farmers' data shows nearly 30 percent of fall claims involve smoke damage.

Prevention tips

  • Inspect your chimneys each year and clean them regularly, according to amount of use
  • Before using the fireplace for the first time in the fall season, ensure the flue is open
  • Be mindful of lit candles; keep them away from children, pets, flammable decor, and clothing
  • Beware of overloaded electrical outlets

Water damage

Water damage is the most common type of loss reported year, and the rise in these claims begins in the fall.

According to Farmers' data, freezing pipes and water damage account for 20 percent of their claims in the fourth quarter. Frozen and burst pipes caused by dropping temperatures are often responsible for these rising claims.

Prevention tips

  • However, policyholders can lessen their chance of sustaining water damage in their homes by having a professional perform a comprehensive plumbing inspection
  • Shut off the main water valve when you leave for vacation
  • Install passive leak detectors, which are inexpensive standalone devices that emit an alarm and/or flashing light when moisture is detected
  • You could also install active leak detectors, which signal a leak and shut off the water source

Liability claims

Homeowners have a responsibility to keep their property safe and are subject to premises liability. If a person slips, trips or falls because of dangerous or hazardous conditions, the homeowner may be fully responsible. The risk of these accidents increases during the boom of holiday get-togethers.

Standard homeowners insurance, known as "no-fault medical," can offer protection if a guest has a small injury and files a lawsuit. In this case, a small claim can be made against your home without you getting sued.

For bigger injuries, most homeowners insurance plans cover around $100,000 in claims. If necessary, you can add extra liability coverage through an umbrella policy.

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