Last year, Allstate policyholders filed more than 870,000 insurance claims for damage to homes. Of these, more than 400,000 claims were for non-catastrophe or fire damage, including broken water pipes, cracked washing machine hoses and leaky roofs. Here are simple ideas from Allstate for keeping the outside of a home in shape:
Check roofs and windows. Look at roof valleys, chimneys, skylights and vent flashings. Temperature changes from summer to winter can cause expansion and contraction, which may lead to cracking in some roof cement and window caulking materials, creating potentially damaging water leaks. Include exterior caulk maintenance with spring cleaning.
Look over the yard. Check the grading to ensure it drains away from a home’s foundation. Wet and snowy winter weather can cause soil to settle in plant and flowerbed areas adjacent to a home’s foundation wall. This can cause water to build up next to the foundation. If needed, re-fill or re-grade depressed areas.
Basement window wells should be cleaned. Covers can prevent rainwater buildup and leaks.
Repair driveway and walkways that are cracked, broken or uneven to provide a level walking surface.
Remove all dead trees and keep healthy trees and bushes trimmed and away from utility wires. Call the proper utility company to request assistance removing tree limbs from power lines.
Inspect gutters. Gutters should be inspected for debris and proper mounting. The expansion and weight of ice and snow from winter storms can sometimes loosen gutters, changing pitch and water flow.
Condition air conditioners. Check the drainage pan and lines. The drainage pan and drain line should be free of dust and debris. An obstructed pan and line can lead to an overflow and water damage.
Test pumps. Test sump pumps to make sure they are working. Be sure the motor, float switch and check valve are working and water is draining from the chamber.