As the saying goes, there’s no place like home! We consider our homes to be a sanctuary. It’s where we spend most of our time, and it’s where we feel the safest. However, there are some things that can go wrong, such as damage from bad weather, fires, and even theft. Homeowners insurance helps you plan for the unexpected. Here are some of the most common home insurance claims that we see – these can happen to anyone at any time!

Hail or Wind Damage

Hail and wind are the most common causes of homeowner insurance claims in the United States with property damages resulting from tornadoes, hurricanes, and other severe weather conditions. Most homeowners’ policies include coverage for wind damage, although many carriers may require wind deductibles along the coast. Wind deductibles can apply to all wind damage, named storms only or just hurricanes. These deductibles can be between 2-5% of the dwelling value, so on a $700,000 home your deductible could be as much as $35,000 for wind damage. It is important to know what your policy includes – not all policies are equal!

Water Damage and Frozen Pipes

If you live in the northern parts of the country, such as here in New England, you know all too well the dangers that wintry weather poses! One potential hazard to homes in the winter is the possibility of your pipes freezing, which may cause pipes to burst and water to flood the home. Fortunately, water damage caused by a bursting pipe is covered by homeowner’s policy.

Experts advise taking steps to reduce the likelihood of frozen pipes in winter. For instance, insulate your pipes wherever possible and make sure to run warm water through the system from time to time. For you vacation home, you should maintain heat or drain the pipes in the winter. And always be diligent in repairing leaks or drips.

Ice Dams

If you lived in New England in 2015, then you know all about ice dams. More than  $2.4 billion in insurance claims were filed as a result of the 110 inches of snow we had in 2015. The majority of those claims were ice dams.

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof that prevents melting snow from draining. Water that backs up behind the dam can leak into your home. We had one claim that caused over $60,000 of water damage in the 3,000 square foot home. The best way to reduce your risk is to make sure you have sufficient insulation in your attic, consider heat cables along your roof and make sure you rake snow from the edge of your roof after a storm.

Theft

Property crimes continue to rise in most metropolitan areas and FBI crime statistics estimate there were over 2,159,878 burglaries in 2010. Of those reported crimes, as much as 74% involved private residences. It is important to know your insurance policy. Most policies limit coverage for silver, artwork and jewelry caused by theft. You should review your policy to see what limitations might apply and consider adding a rider to the policy for any items of higher value. In addition to seeking insurance coverage, add a home security system, purchase a safe, ensure doors and windows are always locked, and alert neighbors, when you’ll be away from home.

Damage from Lightning and Home Fires

These incidences are less frequent, but, when they do occur, they usually cause extensive damage. Looking at lightning and fire claims for the period between 2009 and 2013, the average claim was $37,153. That number is $17,687 higher than the average claim for bodily injury and property damage and $29,412 higher than claims for hail and wind damage. While you can take steps to protect against accidental fire, a lightning strike or poor wiring may still result in a fire. Make sure your policy covers you for the full cost of rebuilding your home in the event that a fire consumes the entire residence.

It’s important to read through your homeowner’s insurance policy to determine exactly what coverage you have. You don’t want to find out your lacking coverage after the damage has occurred!