Homeownership is one of the cornerstones of achieving the American dream. But with what is usually the largest purchase we make as adults, there comes great responsibility!
As with anything in life there are many common mistakes that homeowners make that lead to expensive home insurance claims and even legal issues. As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
Here are a few of the most prevalent issues to guard against:
1. Man’s Best Friend
Although pets are loving and sweet to their owners their behavior can be unpredictable when a stranger approaches or an unfamiliar situation presents it’s self. It is VERY important to guard against a pet biting, attacking or threatening others. Insurance companies list the following breeds of dogs as “higher risk” pets:
- Alaskan Malamute
- American Bull Terrier
- American Staffordshire Terrier
- Chow Chow
- Doberman Pinscher
- Pit Bull
- Any wolf-hybrid breed
Prevention: A fenced in yard is ideal, but even a small fenced area for a dog in the yard is an important precaution. Always have dogs on a leash when walking or roaming in unfenced areas like the front yard, street or through the neighborhood. Leash laws are more common than not for a good reason! Proper training and socialization are also always a great way to avoid a disasterous situation.
2. Attractive Nuisances
Many of the wonderful ways that we entertain and enjoy ourselves at home can unfortunately result in accidents, injuries or even fatality. This is no different for those people who visit our homes who may suffer a mishap. Unfortunately, homeowners claims or lawsuits can be a result EVEN if someone was on the property without permission or while the owner is away! Some of the most important attractive nuisances to be aware of are:
- skateboard ramps & bicycle jumps
- pools & saunas
- tree houses
Prevention: Take care of any repairs to equipment or structures as needed and be sure in all cases equipment is used properly and safely. To prevent trespassers properly maintain fence, have a spring-loaded door that automatically shuts and keep the gate locked. Post a warning sign on fence at entrances and when on vacation ask a friend, neighbor or family member to check on the house or stay while you are away. More often than not some simple deterrents can be very successful in preventing a terrible situation.
3. Deferred Maintenance & Poor Construction
Many times expensive homeowner’s claims and liability issues could have simply been avoided by keeping a home properly maintained and repaired.
Prevention: Be sure to do routine maintenance to your home a carefully screen contractors before having work done.