Simple ways to avoid the most common home insurance claims

Whether you’re determined to keep your claims-free discount or you just don’t want to deal with the hassle that comes with completing repairs to your home, there are plenty of reasons why you’d want to avoid having to make a home insurance claim. Luckily, you can take some simple steps as a homeowner to protect your property and avoid the most common claims.


Water damage is the leading cause of home insurance claims, making up about half of all Economical claims across the country. Whether the culprit is a backed-up sewer, broken or burst pipes, heavy rain, or the spring thaw, water seems to make its way into even the smallest nooks and crannies — and it sure can make a mess. To prevent hefty water damage claims, keep these tips in mind:

  • Keep your pipes clog-free and running smoothly by throwing bacon grease and other oily substances in the compost instead of down the drain — over time, they can build up and create blockages that can lead to sewer backups
  • Make sure your sump pump is in good working order (or consider installing a sump pump if you don’t already have one), and consider getting a back-up battery in case your power goes out
  • Consider installing a backwater valve to help prevent sewer backups
  • Turn off your home’s water supply and drain your indoor pipes to prevent them from freezing and bursting if you’re planning to be away for a while in the winter
  • Clean out your eavestroughs at least once a year and repair any leaky areas (it’s usually a good idea to do this when you’re preparing your home for winter)
  • Make sure there’s nothing blocking your downspouts, and angle them at least six feet away from your house (consider adding extensions if your downspouts are too short)
  • Inspect your roof annually and repair or replace damaged shingles or worn-out skylight seams
  • Keep an eye out for icicles hanging from your roof, as icicles can be a telltale sign that an ice dam has formed, which may allow water to enter your home and may be causing damage to your roof
  • Seal any cracks in your home’s foundation and basement floors before the next spring thaw or a heavy downpour — if it’s leaked before, it’s likely to leak again
  • Store valuable or irreplaceable items in a dry, elevated place
  • Take a look at even more ways to prevent flood damage in your home

Did you know that not all home insurance policies come with coverage for damage caused by sewer backups or water that enters your home from other external sources? Learn more about flood insurance and contact your Highcourt Breckles Insurance Broker to find out what’s covered by your own policy.

Hail and wind

Damage caused by hail (and the wind that goes along with it) is the first runner up. When it comes to wind-related damage, the wind itself is only partially to blame. It’s the objects that are picked up and tossed around your property that tend to be the problem. Here are a few ways to keep those pesky hail and wind risks at bay:

  • Safely secure or store any patio furniture, planters, or outdoor tools that could be damaged by the hail or moved by the wind
  • Inspect your roof at least once a year, and have any missing or damaged shingles replaced by a professional roofing contractor
  • Keep your trees and shrubs trimmed, and be sure to remove any loose or dead branches that could become airborne in a storm and break through a window
  • Avoid personal injury by staying indoors and keeping kids and pets away from glass windows and doors that could be shattered or broken in by flying debris
  • Learn more about how to protect your family and your property before, during, and after a hailstorm or a windstorm occurs


Although common, fire is one of the most preventable causes of home insurance claims. To keep your home fire-free, don’t forget to:

  • Install smoke detectors on every floor of your home and test them each month (and while you’re at it, make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors, too)
  • Extinguish candles or other open flames before leaving the room
  • Avoid kitchen fires by rolling up your sleeves, placing lids on bubbling pans, and turning pot handles away from curious kids and pets
  • Learn how to safely extinguish a kitchen fire before one happens
  • Have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional every year
  • Keep your fireplace safe: open the damper before lighting it and keep the flue open — and always use a fireplace screen to keep your floors free of embers If you smoke, take it outside and park your butts in a can of water or sand
  • If you have a wood stove or pellet stove, take the necessary precautions to keep it in good working order
  • Keep a home fire extinguisher on hand and make sure you follow the maintenance guidelines so it’s in good working order if you ever need it
  • Keep these simple tips in mind to prevent dryer fires and electrical fires
  • Always hire a properly licensed professional for electrical work in your home
  • Clean out the lint trap of your dryer thoroughly after each use and vacuum inside and around where the lint trap is installed once a month
  • Have a metal container with a lid on hand for cigarette butts — cigarette butts that fall through a crack on a wooden deck could ignite any dry plant material underneath
  • If you’re painting, always make sure to dispose of paint or solvent soaked rags by following the manufacturer’s directions as these rags are known to self-combust
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