Home maintenance

As the weather warms up and flowers start to bloom, homeowners everywhere are seizing the opportunity to spruce up their yards and spend time maintaining their homes. However, many may not realize that maintenance is not included in a homeowners insurance policy and some may not even know their responsibilities when it comes to repairs if they have home insurance. While an insurance policy can protect your finances if your home were to be destroyed or damaged from weather, it won't help you out when it comes to repairs from a lack of basic maintenance.

"Homeowners insurance is designed to protect you from sudden and accidental losses, that could be a fire, windstorm, theft, a broken water pipe," Karl Newman, Northwest Insurance Council president, told Komo News. "It's not intended to cover maintenance-related issues such as water damage from a leaky roof or a cracked foundation."

What homeowners insurance covers
In a typical home insurance policy, your coverage will protect you in the event of theft, fire, hail, windstorm, vandalism or lightning. In most cases, flood insurance and earthquake protection are not included in a generic policy, though you can typically pay for these additions separately. Here are some of the specifics that a typical homeowners insurance policy will cover:

Personal property: When you sign up for a policy, you will list your belongings and assess how much it would cost to replace them or their total value. If they are damaged, destroyed or stolen, your insurance policy will reimburse you for the loss. It is important that you get a policy that will reimburse you for the amount it would take to replace all your personal items, otherwise you could be left paying more out of pocket.

Dwelling and structural: This coverage will pay for the amount it will cost to repair or rebuild your home in the event of a covered loss, such as a fire. Structural coverage may apply to additional structures you may wish to include in your policy, such as a garage, shed or cottage on the property. You will need to ensure you have enough coverage for the cost of a rebuild.

Liability: For homeowners, this type of coverage is one of the most important. You will want liability protection in the event of a lawsuit if you or your family members are responsible for injury to a person or damage to someone else's property.

Home maintenance checklist
After the snow and ice clear away, you should perform a few maintenance routines around your home to prevent more expensive repairs later on. Home maintenance is not part of home insurance policies, and you will need to perform regular maintenance to keep your home in ship shape. Here are a few easy tasks to complete this spring:

  • Check your roof for damage
  • Clear any debris from gutters for clear drainage
  • Trim your trees and keep healthy brush away from utility wires
  • Test home smoke and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Inspect your home fire extinguisher
  • Check the water heater for leaks or corrosion
  • Change air filters and clean the dryer vent

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