LOSS PREVENTION AND MITIGATION TIPS FOR COMMON RESIDENTIAL CLAIMS
This common cause of loss can be costly and can cause a large amount of damage. There are some things you may want to do to prevent water damage:
Check the seals or caulking around tubs, showers, toilets and hot water heaters often. Make sure there are no cracks developing or grout decaying.
Keep shower doors and curtains tightly closed to keep water from exiting the shower/tub.
Shut off water if going to be away for more than a few days.
Replace the hoses on washing machines and refrigerator water lines regularly.
When traveling or leaving for extended period of time, have someone check the inside of the home for leaking pipes or faucets. Be sure to leave them a contact number for you in case of emergency.
If you do happen to experience water damage it is important to take action right away. Here are some tips to help reduce the effects of water damage:
Contact your Wornicki DelVecchio Insurance, Inc. or your insurance company directly and report your claim immediately.
Turn off the main water valve to prevent additional damage (if necessary).
Get rid of as much water as possible by using a wet vac, mopping or sweeping. Do not let water stand if it can be avoided.
Dry and put furniture on blocks to allow airflow to dry the bottom and underneath the furniture.
Remove wet rugs or mats.
Open furniture drawers, closet doors and cabinets.
Spread out/open books, art and photos in safe and dry place.
Remove wet clothing/curtains and dry them as soon as possible.
Contact a 24hr water restoration service.
Position fans to help dry floor and walls.
Contact a qualified plumber, if necessary.
Lower the a/c temperature to help remove humidity.
Do not throw any items away before the claims representative has a chance to inspect all damage. If any pieces of property pose a health concern, place outside under covered area.
THEFT OR VANDALISM
Theft and vandalism can be scary and/or frustrating to deal with. Fortunately, there are some things we can do to help prevent it from happening:
Make the house look like someone is home.
Set timers on interior and exterior lighting.
If planning to be away, have someone pick up mail, newspapers and packages daily.
Have someone check the house often for broken windows or signs of forced entry
. Provide someone with our contact information in case of an emergency.
Sometimes things may happen, even if we do our best to prevent them. If your home has been vandalized or burglarized be sure to do the following:
Call the police immediately and file a detailed report with them that includes a list of the property taken or damaged.
Contact our office or your insurance company’s claims department directly to report the claim.
The claims representative will send you a contents inventory form to fill out. List all items stolen or damaged on this list.
If the home was damaged, be sure to secure it as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
House fires may seem like a distant threat to the average person. The truth is, it happens more frequently than you would think. The good news is that most of the common causes of fires are preventable. Here’s some tips to help prevent a house fire:
Do not run electrical cords under rugs or carpets.
Use certified power strips and extension cords.
Turn off the lights and put out candles before going to bed or leaving the house.
Never leave stoves or ovens unattended when they are in use. While in use, keep flammable materials away from the stove oven.
Make sure to have A, B & C classified fire extinguishers in several easy to access areas of the house.
Upgrade fuses to circuit breakers. Upgrade knob and tube to modern wiring. Old wiring is a major cause of fires. All electrical work should be done by a licensed electrician.
Plug major appliances (fridge, stove, washer, dryer, air conditioners, etc.) directly into the wall. Never use an extension cord.
Check lamps and light fixtures for the recommended wattage of light bulbs that should be used.
Discard or replace electrical cords that have frayed or exposed wires.
Consider having an electrician install arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) in your home. They automatically shut off electricity when a dangerous condition occurs.
Always remove lint from clothes dryer after each use.
Never leave space heaters unattended when in use.
Never leave a lit fireplace unattended.
Never leave coffeemakers, irons, toasters or other small appliances unattended when in use.
Properly extinguish smoking materials. Never smoke in bed.
Purchase surge protectors for expensive electronic equipment such as computers or gaming consoles.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the number of home fires your household can expect in an average lifetime is 5! And the chances you will have a reported home fire in an average lifetime is 1 in 4! In the event you experience a house fire remember to do the following:
Get out of the house and stay out! In a fire emergency, outside is the safest place to be.
File a report with fire department.
Once safe, call Wornicki DelVecchio Insurance, Inc. or your insurance company directly to file a fire claim.
Make a list of everything damaged and do not throw anything away.
Keep track of all of your living expenses (meals, hotel stay, etc.)
Keep home secure until damages have been repaired. There are companies that can help fence off the property from looters.
Storms aren’t the only things that can cause a power outage or power surge. High winds, animals coming in contact with power lines, short circuits or even power surges. There are some key points you may want to put into play now so you can be prepared in the event you experience an outage:
Keep your computer files backed up regularly.
If you have space in your refrigerator and freezer you can fill plastic containers with water, leaving and inch at the top for expansion when frozen.
If the power goes out, the chilled or frozen water will help keep food cold longer.
Always keep at least a half tank of gas in your vehicle. Gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. Drive only if necessary as traffic signals may not be working, creating congestion and possible confusion.
Prepare a power outage emergency kit with flashlight, radio, extra batteries, at least one gallon of water and some canned and/or dry food goods to last at least 3 days.
If you have medication that requires refrigeration, check with your pharmacist now for guidance on proper storage during and extended power outage.
If you have experienced damages or losses due to a power outage/surge you will want to do the following:During the outage, unplug computers, stereos, televisions and other electronics. This will protect them from a possible power surge when the power comes back on.
Never use your oven as a heat source. If you do not have alternative heat, make plans to go to another location (relative, friend, or public facility) to keep warm.
Keep battery operated lanterns, safety glow sticks and flashlights easily accessible. They are much safer than candles for light.
Call your insurance agency to file a claim for the damages caused by the surge/outage. Do not discard or get rid of any damaged items until inventory has been done by you and your claims representative.
LOSS PREVENTION GENERAL SUMMARY
It may seem like there’s a lot to remember to prevent losses we’ve discussed. Here’s some main points to take away: DAILY:
Take the lint out of your dryer after each use.
Blow out candles before you leave the room or get in bed.
Buy a surge protector and keep expensive electronics plugged into it when they need power.
o Check your circuit breaker for damage.
o Check your HVAC’s air filter and replace it as needed.
o Take a look at the caulking around your faucets, toilets and bathtubs. Repair any cracked or separated caulking.
o Check your dishwasher, washing machine and hot water heater for leaks.
o Check air conditioning and heating systems’ air filters and replace as necessary.
o Inspect fire extinguishers to ensure they are fully charged.
o Inspect the main circuit breaker and electric panel.
o Inspect hot water heater’s exterior seams, drip pan and water connections to ensure no leaks.
o Have a licensed professional come out to clean your chimney and its flashing.
o Have a licensed roofing contractor inspect your roof and replace any shingles that may have sustained damage.
o Clean out your gutters.
o Re-caulk your doors and windows, repair the weather stripping on your doors and re-grout your floors and countertops as needed.
o Check your home’s siding for any signs that insects, rot or mold could be a problem. Also check your painted or stained surfaces for cracking or discoloration. Repaint and re-stain as necessary.
o Inspect grout around any tile floor and touch up.
o Trim all trees that could cause water damage to the siding or roof.
o Make sure batteries in all smoke detectors are still working. Replace if needed.
TAKE INVENTORY OF WHAT YOU HAVE
It’s good practice for all homeowners, renters and condo residents to keep a current home contents inventory. Why? This will help to ensure your claim is handled as quickly as possible. Plus, after you’ve experienced a loss, it’s very difficult to remember all that you owned. Especially if there’s no trace of those items anymore. You can help by making an inventory of your damages and any loss of personal property. Here’s what to remember when listing out your personal property:
The list should not be kept in paper form only. Keeping a list on a contents inventory app for your phone or emailing yourself the list is strongly encouraged.
The inventory should be room by room, giving complete descriptions of the property.
The description should include as much information as possible, such as brand names, model numbers, age, purchase price and the place of purchase. Include any and all receipts or invoices.
Keeping receipts (or electronic pictures of receipts) for your expensive belongings is recommended.
Stay on top of your list as you purchase additional items.
TALK TO YOUR TEAM OF AGENTS AT DELVECCHIO INSURANCE, INC.
Your needs and your home’s needs change all of the time. It’s important to visit with us at least annually to make sure you’re covered properly and are taking any necessary precautions.