The kids are out of school and it's hot out here, that could only mean it's summer. Which means time for dips in the pool, backyard BBQ and summer vacations.
We'll jump right in and let you know that rising temps also means rising homeowners' insurance claims filed with us. Homeowners should be prepared to deal with property damage, accidents and financial losses... obviously we're suggesting you have enough coverage! There are also some ways to keep your insurance costs low and your home protected.
Outdoor Grill Fires
Outdoor BBQs are synonymous with summertime. However, manning the grill comes with big responsibilities. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that there are roughly 5,700 grill fires in the United States every year, causing roughly $37 million in damage, 100 injuries and 10 fatalities.
To keep everyone safe, keep a fire extinguisher close. Keep the grilling outdoors (not under anything flammable) and always keep children away from open flames. Preparation and cleanup are very important. Wait until the grill cools down before putting it away and check regularly to ensure that there aren’t any leaks or blockages.
Pools are notoriously nightmares for insurance companies, they're wonderful to enjoy but are high risk. The Insurance Information Institute recommends that homeowners with pools raise the limits of their liability coverage to $300,000 or $500,000. We advise you make your pool accident proof by adding a self-closing gate around the pool in your backyard or other child-proof safety technology. Also, keep an eye on the kids whenever they’re near the pool and set rules that keep them from running or fooling around and hurting themselves. Adults should limit their alcohol intake since drinking and swimming can be dangerous. Ensuring that safety equipment (such as a first aid kit or flotation device) is available is also a good idea.
Mildew and mold
The hot weather has a big impact on HVAC and plumbing systems. Be on the lookout for leaks and conditions that could cause mold or mildew to appear. Mold-related damages are usually only covered by homeowners insurance if they’re tied to a covered peril. If the damage is the result of poor ventilation, neglect or an issue that could have been prevented, your insurance company may reject your claim.
One way to keep mold and mildew from growing inside of your home is to reduce the amount of moisture in your house. Use air conditioners, fans and dehumidifiers to keep your home dry. Clean air conditioning filters and install leak detectors in your kitchen, laundry room and bathroom at the beginning of the summer. Check faucets to ensure that none of them are dripping. If you’re going on a trip, consider changing the setting on your water heater to vacation mode or dial it down a few degrees. If there are any plumbing problems, get them fixed right away.
Bugs & Critters
It's time for mosquitoes, spiders and stink bugs to enjoy the summer weather as well. They thrive in hot humid weather so look for signs of a termite infestation and damage from other pests this summer. Take some time in the beginning of summer to prepare your home from pests by spraying insect repellent. You can hire a professional or purchase over-the-counter insecticides from a home improvement store.
In order to keep bugs out of your house, you’ll also want to keep your home clean. Vacuum thoroughly every few days. Minimize clutter and wash linens every two weeks. Check window screens for holes or tears. For outdoor areas, consider buying citronella candles. Keep firewood, leaf piles and standing water away from your home. Those are places where you’ll likely find bugs.
Review your policy
While you can take every precaution to keep your home and family safe, things happen when we least expect it so make sure you have the right insurance policy in place. Think of insurance like sunscreen for your home. After all, we all need a little protection.
If you have any questions about your home insurance reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling at 512-447-7773. We’re here to help!