Yes, you have the homeowners coverage to reimburse you for damages and losses, but one of the best ways to maintain affordable homeowners insurance is to avoid making claims altogether. And one of the best ways to do that is to make your home more disaster resistant. Some of the steps you take may even help you qualify for a discount when looking for homeowners insurance quotes.
Do you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes? Protect your windows and glass doors with the highest rated storm shutters you can afford. Or have a professional install permanent bolts next to door and window frames, then have outdoor-quality plywood cut to size with pre-drilled bolt holes. If a storm is eminent, bolt down the plywood. Update your roof with hurricane clips, special fasteners that add stability. Consider replacing any hollow-core or glass exterior doors with solid wood or hollow steel types. Be sure you have dead bolts installed, too, and check all hinges for integrity. Yard furniture, toys, tools and even vehicles can become dangerous projectiles during any high wind. Park your car in the garage and safely stow anything that can be picked up and blown around.
Does it snow where you live? Take time before winter storms hit to clear debris from rain gutters and downspouts so that ice and snow don’t backup and cause interior water damage. Clean the fireplace and make sure your chimney is in good repair and properly vented. Insulate exterior pipes to prevent bursting. Leave the heat on to keep interior plumbing and toilets from freezing up. Better to pay a little more on your utility bill than risk extensive water damage.
Are you in earthquake country? In addition to purchasing special earthquake insurance, you can maintain affordable homeowners insurance with a few precautions to prevent the need for claims against your coverage. Use special straps, brackets and bolts to secure furniture, pictures, mirrors and water heaters to wall studs. Child-proof latches on cabinet doors will keep objects secure when things start to shake. Ask your plumber to install flexible fittings on all gas appliances.
Other general hints that will help you avoid homeowners insurance claims and maintain affordable homeowners insurance: Know where your shut-off valves are for electricity, gas and water so you can act quickly; regularly check and replace batteries in smoke detectors; and protect expensive electronic equipment by investing in uninterruptible power supply devices.