How to Get Out of Paying Your Home Insurance Deductible

Rising gas prices, the ever-increasing cost of food, and regular mortgage payments (whether they’re for a reasonably fixed or an increasingly painful adjustable-rate loan) are already causing enough of a strain on your bank account. If you’re afraid that bankruptcy is right around the corner, or even if you’ve been able to make ends meet until now, the last thing you need is to get hit with expensive property damage. You’re already making the regular payments for your insurance premiums, you don’t want to have to meet the deductible – the amount you pay before your insurance company picks up the rest – for your costly home repairs. And the best way to get out of paying your insurance deductible is to not make a claim in the first place.

If your house is damaged, you need to get it fixed. But smart homeowners will do everything they can to minimize the risk of that damage. They won’t have to file a claim on their homeowners insurance because they’ve taken steps to reduce the possibility of an accident. Yes, the maintenance and upkeep of your property costs money. Paying to fix or replace things after a catastrophe will end up costing you even more. And if you talk with your insurance agent, you may find that agreeing to a higher deductible for your policy means that you won’t pay as much for your premiums. That extra savings could be put towards keeping your home accident-free.

Here are five things you can do to reduce the chance of having an accident on your property:

Trim your trees: You can try to cut down dead branches and remove overhanging limbs yourself, but this might be something best handled by the professionals. It’s important to keep your trees trimmed because they can do some serious damage in the right weather conditions. Worse yet, since it usually takes a storm to knock down a tree, you’ll end up with water damage from all the rain streaming through that new hole in your house. With possible tree damage, it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.

Check your pipes: Water can cause just as much damage to a home as fire. Worse yet, a slow leak from an older pipe can go undetected for much longer than a fire, giving it a chance to do even more damage. It’s important to make sure that all the pipes in your home are in good working condition, and that you’re not risking damage and decay from an unnoticed water source inside a wall. Sometimes it’s the water sources you never think about, like the hoses for your washing machine, or the line for your ice maker, that end up causing problems you’ll never forget.

Watch your back: not all claim-worthy accidents are natural disasters. Keeping an eye on your home’s security is a good idea as well. Take steps to install bright lighting around your house, especially motion-sensing floodlights, because a well-lit home can deter intruders. Also be sure that you have locks on all your doors and windows, and that they’re in good working order.

Stop putting off small repairs: You might know that your third step is loose, but the pizza boy might not. Anyone who visits your home can sue you for damages if they get injured on your property. Fix broken walkways, replace loose railings, and make sure that any possible cause of a slip and fall accident has been taken care of. The last thing you need is a Jehovah’s witness with a broken hip taking you to court over a missing flagstone.

Make sure your wiring is in order: Faulty wiring can cause blackouts, blown fuses, or devastating fires. Be absolutely sure that your home has been wired correctly, that and that the insulation is in good repair. Don’t just limit your attention to what’s inside the walls, either. It’s also important not to overload your electrical outlets.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but these steps will all reduce the risk of having a catastrophic, claim-worthy accident happen to your home. You may want to talk with your insurance agent to see if there’s anything else you can do to reduce your risks, or if your maintenance will make you eligible for a discount. And since some insurance policies offer a discount for every year that passes without a claim, you’ll end up saving even more money. More importantly, you’ll build relationships with service professionals in your area now, giving you experts you can trust if the unthinkable happens and you have to repair emergency damage later.

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