Spring home maintenance can prevent damage your insurance won’t cover

Spring is just around the corner and for many that signals the start of outdoor projects to enhance lawns, gardens and home exteriors. 

Spring also is an ideal time to inspect in and around your home for wear and tear and safety hazards.  From cracked foundations to clogged gutters to worn shingles, improperly maintained homes can lead to expensive repairs down the road – and many of those repairs are not covered by your Homeowners Insurance.
Homeowners Insurance is designed to protect you from sudden and accidental losses such as fire, windstorm, theft or a broken water pipe. It’s not intended to cover maintenance-related issues such as water damage from a leaky roof or a cracked foundation.  Each homeowner is responsible for conducting regular preventive maintenance.

NW Insurance Counciloffers the following tips to help you conduct home exterior maintenance and reduce safety hazards.
  • Check and clean gutters to prevent water from backing up into your attic.
  • Check the roof.  Look for worn, curled or missing shingles and replace them.
  • Repair loose or damaged siding.
  • Examine soffit boards (horizontal surfaces under eaves).
  • Make sure downspouts slope away from the home and carry water at least five feet from the foundation walls.
  • Have a professional inspect your air conditioning system.
  • Make sure sprinkler heads are directed away from the house to prevent water build-up near foundation walls.
  • Remove clutter from storage areas to reduce fire hazards.
  • Examine decks, porches and balconies for weak or broken railings and posts.  Railings should be spaced no more than four inches apart to prevent children from slipping through.
  • Caulk and reseal window and door flashing, seals or weather stripping.
  • Check the attic for moisture and surface discoloration.
  • Check fire extinguishers in your kitchen and garage to make sure they are full and work properly.
  • Install special outlets equipped with ground-fault circuit interrupters when outdoor electrical outlets are located near water sources.
  • Be sure exterior walls are well painted and sealed.
  • Inspect your lawn for rocks or other objects that could be launched from your lawnmower and injure others or damage property.
  • Contact your insurance company or agent to review your Homeowners policy to be sure you have the coverage you want and need.
To order a free copy of our Maintenance Guide for Your Home, call NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942.  For more information about insurance, visit www.nwinsurance.org.

 NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.