How to Minimise Your Home Insurance Risk

It can be intimidating thinking about the range of risks your home is exposed on a daily basis. From natural disasters to man-made threats, many of these elements can leave you vulnerable to high repair, replacement or compensation costs. Here are 5 common threats, along with effective recommendations, to help protect you from devastation and minimize your home insurance risk.

1. Protect Your Home Against Theft

It is unfortunate but the times we live in demand we take extreme precautions against break-ins and theft. Physical protection such as fences and burglar proofing are a good place to start, but in order to make an airtight claim, additional measures may be required. To protect your home against theft we recommend the following:
– Install an alarm system connect to a 24/7 security service
– Install exterior surveillance cameras
– Install motion sensor lights at entry-points
– Acquire a safe to store valuables such as jewellery or large sums of cash
– Insure the contents of your home so stolen items can be replaced

2. Protect Your Home Against Fire

The smallest spark can destroy your home within a matter of minutes, which is why it is essential to take the necessary steps to mitigate the risk of fire, as well as limit its capacity to spread. To protect your home against fire we recommend the following:
– Use fire-resistant materials to build or renovate your home
– Install smoke detectors, taking care to replace the batteries as instructed
– Purchase a fire extinguisher and place it somewhere that is easily accessible
– Keep your home’s surroundings free of debris and combustible materials
– Insure your home’s physical structure and contents for the actual value so you can rebuild and replace items lost in a fire

3. Protect Your Home Against Flooding

 

Our first piece of advice as it relates to flooding is to avoid living in flood prone areas. However, if you have no other option, there are steps you can take to reduce the damage should a flood occur. To protect your home again flooding we recommend the following:
– Build your home on stilts if your property is located in a low-lying area
– Apply “dry flood-proofing” coatings and sealants to your walls, foundations, windows and doorways to prevent water leakage through cracks
– Install electrical outlets and switches at least one foot above the anticipated flood level to prevent electrical damage
– Insure the contents of your home so damaged items can be replaced
– Purchase flood insurance if you reside in a flood prone area

4. Protect Your Home Against Hurricanes

Despite our belief that “God is a Trini” it is always best to prepare for the worst. While our geographical location in the southern Caribbean makes us less susceptible to hurricanes and tropical storms, Trinidad and Tobago is not immune to these natural disasters. As such, it is necessary to take calculated steps to minimize the damage that can be caused in the event of a hurricane. To protect your home against hurricanes we recommend the following:
– Observe all weather warnings and closely following the Office of Disaster Preparedness for updates
– Install removable wooden shutters on all windows and glass doors
– Secure your roof using hurricane clips or straps
– Trim your trees to remove any dead branches that may pose a threat to your home
– Insure the contents of your home so damaged items can be replaced

5. Protect Your Home Against Earthquakes

Earthquakes are unpredictable forces of nature that strike without warning and often include aftershocks that exacerbate the initial damage done. While earthquakes are difficult to predict we can still plan and prepare for them. To safeguard your home against extensive earthquake damage, we recommend:
– Make the necessary repairs to vulnerable areas of your home, such as cracked walls and/or foundation or as well as loose roof tiles or galvanize
– Identify external elements that pose a threat, such as trees, and either remove them completely or trim dead branches
– Reinforce your foundation and ceiling to brace your house for fallen electrical wires and power lines
– Restrain large pieces of furniture such as bookshelves and entertainment centers to miminise risk of collapse
– Insure the contents of your home so damaged items can be replaced
– Purchase earthquake insurance

Home ownership is a wonderful accomplishment but with it comes great responsibility. Taking the necessary precautions can offer you a great deal of comfort in the good times, and much needed financial support in the bad times. If you heed these words of advice, rest assured you’ll significantly minimize your risk against the aforementioned natural and man-made disasters.