Your Gulf Shores home insurance should be among the items you review now that the new year is here. Since home maintenance is linked so closely to insurance it's probably a good idea to consider the following checklist to make sure your home is as safe as possible.
Maintenance and Gulf Shores Home Insurance
Alarm testing. Home alarms such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, burglar alarms and fire alarms should be tested at least quarterly. Check the batteries and any other connections to make sure they are working properly. Use this time as an opportunity to review your household emergency evacuation plan. Make sure your family knows what to do and where to go in the event of a fire or weather-related emergency.
The roof and gutters. It's a good idea to check your home's gutters. Leaves, tree branches and other debris can accumulate in your gutters. When that happens rain won't travel down the spout from the gutters. That can cause problems with water leaking into your home's ceilings and walls. Water damage is a common, but preventable, Gulf Shores home insurance claim. Don't forget the roof. Take a look at the shingles to make sure none are damaged or missing. Inspect your attic and ceilings for potential leaks that may have gone unnoticed.
Your home's foundation. One area many homeowners frequently ignore is their home's foundation. Take a walk around the outside of your home. Look for noticeable cracks or separations in the foundation. Small cracks are a normal occurence as homes settle over time. Still, it's best to use caulk to seal them to prevent further damage. Keep an eye on them in the future to see if any other separation occurs.
Sealing doors and windows. When air passes through gaps around doorframes and windows, it costs you money. That's because higher heating or cooling bills result from air escaping your home. Inspect the spaces around your doors and windows and seal them. Remember, keep warm air inside and cool air outside — and vice versa.
Heating and cooling systems. While you're at it, check your heating and air-conditioning systems. Having a licensed expert inspect your systems is recommended, but there are preliminary steps you can take. Make sure your vents are clean and unobstructed. Change your filters regularly to ensure proper air flow.
Create an inventory list for Gulf Shores home insurance purposes. Write down everything in your home and the approximate value of each item. Many homeowners include a video checklist of their possessions in their home inventory. The more information you can give your insurance company the more likely your claim can be processed as smoothly as possible in the event of a fire or other disaster. Be sure to store the home inventory in a safe place like your office, a safe deposit box or a fireproof safe.
It's important to understand each aspect of your Gulf Shores home insurance policy and the factors mentioned above. If you have questions or are unsure of what is covered, call your insurance agent. Take time to review your coverage amounts, too. With rising home values you may need to increase coverage. Plus, you may qualify for new discounts if you've made certain improvements to your home.