As summer winds to an end and the days get shorter, there are some important things you can do to ensure your home is prepared for the changing weather- no matter where you live: Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Vermont. Any time these changes occur, it’s a good idea to review your home insurance policy in a different light. The last time you reviewed your policy might have been in the spring or summer, so your focus was probably on the potential risks immediately facing you during the hot seasons. But just as there are different home maintenance tasks appropriate to the fall, like raking up falling leaves, there are some loss exposures unique to the season that you should consider within your home insurance policy.
One of the primary considerations during the autumn is the accumulation of leaves and dry, dead vegetation. In some areas of the country, autumn brings on the rainy season as well, so it’s important to clear your rain gutters of those dead leaves. Clogged drainage systems of any sort can cause water backup issues that result in expensive damage to your home. And remember, damage due to homeowner negligence and lack of maintenance is typically not covered in home insurance policies. In other areas of the U.S., though, autumn means hot, dry weather. In those areas, the accumulation of brush can mean increased fire danger. In either event, it’s never a bad idea to clear away the unwanted vegetation.
Another thing to keep in mind is that with the cooler months, animals and insects start searching for winter shelter, which could mean some potential unwanted visitors in your home. According to the National Pest Management Association, there are a number of steps you can take to keep the pests at bay, which is especially important as damage caused by birds, vermin, rodents, or insects is not usually covered by the home insurance policy. We recently published a blog post explaining the problems with damaged caused by animals within the context of the typical home insurance policy, so take the necessary steps to keep these critters from infiltrating your home.
Autumn is also a good time to consider all of the winter weather issues that are just around the corner. Consider autumn as the season that allows you time to prepare for winter. Have your heating system inspected and also inspect your windows and doors for any leaks. The escaping heat from within your home or the intrusion of outside cold air can have a huge effect on your heating expenses. Remember that damage caused by freezing pipes is generally not covered unless you have taken care to maintain heat in your home. By the time the first freeze happens, it might be too late to have the systems inspected and repaired.
Lastly, pull out your home insurance policy and review it carefully. A good place to start reviewing your policy is to read the exclusions section that details losses not insured. This is where you will find some good ideas about how to prepare for uninsured damages. Fortunately, many of the exclusions deal with issues that are easily avoidable through proper preparation and maintenance. The policy can therefore also act as a reminder of items you need to monitor before they result in an uninsured loss.