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10/05/2021

Is Your Home A Serious Liability? Time To Find Out

 

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We tend to think of brick and mortar as being the gold standard for secure assets. Nothing can harm our homes, we tell ourselves. They’re fixed assets - something that we can rely on for life. 


However, that’s not true. While our homes don’t change much from day to day, over the course of several years, they can deteriorate rapidly. 


Have you ever asked yourself how long it would take nature to fully reclaim your property if you just left it with no maintenance? The answer according to Alan Weisman - the author of The World Without Us - is about five years. Within 20 years, he says, all the major skyscrapers would start falling down. And within around 200 years, the whole surface of the planet where most humans live would be covered in trees. 


When you put it that way, you soon realize what’s happening here. Nature is continually looking for opportunities to reclaim our homes and establish its own dominance instead. 


So what’s the solution? Glad you asked. It turns out that you can prevent your home from becoming a serious liability. It all depends on taking the right actions at the right time. 


In this post, we take a look at some of the most common and expensive home liabilities and what you can do to prevent them. Read on to find out more. 


Wind Damage


Wind damage is a major issue in many parts of the world. High speed gusts typically roll in off the coast and make their way inland, causing extreme devastation along the way. In many cases, families can lose everything as, sometimes, insurers won’t cover the cost of repairing the damage. 


Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to prevent damage. The first is to prune back trees in anticipation of storms and strengthen your windows. Putting railings across windows, for example, stops objects from flying into them, causing smash damage. 


You can also prepare a plan for what to do if a storm hits. So, for example, you might spell out how you might protect your home in the event of a disaster in a sequence of steps. 


Lastly, if you can’t mitigate the damage, double check your insurance to make sure that it covers you against wind. Also check that it provides liability protection, just in case a part of your property damages someone else’s. 


Internal Water Damage


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Homes can also dramatically lose value due to internal water damage. Heaters, cooling units and washing machines (not to mention regular faucets) can all spring leaks, causing structural issues that are costly to repair. 


The best approach is prevention. Look for ways to replace worn out parts so that your units are unlikely to fail in the future. For instance, if you have a Whirlpool washing machine, use a Whirlpool spare part to replace any components that might lead to a leak. 


Second, prepare for disaster. Find out where your home’s stopcock is in the event of an emergency. This will let you turn off mains water, minimizing the damage that any persistent leak causes. 


Lastly, you’ll also want to insure against this hazard as well. Internal leaks are much more common than most homeowners realize, but can cost thousands of dollars to clean up when they occur. 


Hail Damage


Hail storms usually only last around five minutes. However, they can wreak dreadful devastation on homes, particularly as particle sizes grow. 


The problem with hail storms is that the hail itself forms high up in the atmosphere. It then falls for thousands of feet, often gaining mass as it descends. When it hits a surface, it imparts a huge amount of energy, leading to colossal damage. 


To prevent hailstorm damage, you’ll need to prepare well in advance. If you have shades and shutters, begin by closing them at the slightest sign of hail. Ideally, your home will have an electronic shutter closing system that you can activate at the touch of a button. Alternatively, you’ll need to run around the house, closing windows one by one. 


The next step is to bring all your patio and lawn furniture inside. Again, hail can seriously damage this. 


If you have vehicles outside, bring them under shelter - either a garage or a carport. If you don’t have either, you can try erecting a gazebo. Just make sure that you tie it down properly to prevent high winds from blowing it over. 


You can also invest in impact-resistant material for your roof. These materials won’t shatter like regular tiles - great for areas that see a lot of hail. 


Frozen Pipes And Leaky Roofs


While internal water damage is a risk, so is water that comes in from the outside. The most common entry point is your roof. Water can leak through into the attic by going around tiles and seeping into the surrounding woodwork. Over time, it causes damp, rot bad smells and structural weakness. It can also attract creatures. 


To prevent this, ensure that you adequately maintain your roof. Get a service once every five years so that a professional can check it for problems. Most roofs will last for at least 20 years in regular conditions. 


Frozen pipes are another big issue, particularly in the winter. When pipes freeze, water expands, damaging the surrounding pipework. Eventually, the pipes crack, so when the ice thaws, leaks occur. 


To prevent this, set your boiler to maintenance mode throughout the winter. Make sure that you set the minimum temperature for your home to 10 C. This way, you can stop freezing from ever occurring.


Theft


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Lastly, theft is another serious home liability that affects all too many people. Break-ins don’t just steal your possessions, they also put you in personal danger. 


To prevent theft, make sure that your home has plenty of lighting around the entrances. Also take part in neighborhood watch schemes and other programs designed to help local people club together and stop criminality. 


Lastly, you’ll want to insure your property’s contents against theft, should the worst happen.


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