Common Homeowners Insurance Claims & How to Avoid Them

Living in the Midwest, weather and water-related claims are continuing to rise due to hail, water backups, and service line collapses. Here are some of the most common claims in our area along with mitigation tips.

Water Damage

Water damage can result from various sources, such as burst pipes, plumbing issues, service line collapse, or leaks in the roof. “Homeowners who have never had water issues in the past are starting to have problems. Being proactive and taking preventative measures can save a homeowner from the costly damages and hassles associated with water backup claims,” according to Mike Muir, owner of Muir Insurance Group.

Here are a few ways to prevent water backup issues:
  • Ensure the sump is working, install a battery backup system, and check them both regularly. Check the sump pit to make sure it’s free of debris.
  • Elevate appliances and valuables stored in the basement.
  • Install a leak detection system for water notifications.
  • Things to invest in. Sump pump, battery backup, install a backwater valve.
  • Have a plan in place for when the power goes out. Map out and tag the water shut valves. Educate every household member on what to do.
  • Have three water mitigation companies that could be at your house in the event of a claim.

Wind & Hail Damage

Illinois can experience severe weather, including hailstorms, “thundersnow,” and tornados which can damage your roof, siding, and windows. To mitigate this, ensure your roof is in good condition, reinforce windows, consider storm shutters, and use impact-resistant materials where possible.

Weather-related claim tips:
  • For hail claims, do not sign with a public adjuster unless you absolutely need to. They will take a percentage of your claim payout and the homeowner will be left to pay the difference out of pocket.
  • Signing with Storm Chasers to handle your insurance claim can cause headaches and take money out of your pocket. If your home is damaged, you will get a payout from the carrier. Click here for additional Storm Chaser tips.
  • If structural damage occurs, take your time and do your due diligence before choosing a roofer. There is no reason to sign a contract before you meet with the insurance adjuster.
Other common claim types include:

Freezing Pipes and Ice Dam Damage: Cold Illinois winters can lead to frozen pipes and ice dams on roofs. Insulate your pipes and attic, keep your home adequately heated during cold spells, and allow faucets to drip to prevent freezing.

Fire Damage: Fires can be caused by various factors including electrical faults and accidents. Keep your electrical systems maintained and use caution around open flames and space heaters. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home and maintain them regularly. Educate your family on fire safety procedures, have an evacuation plan in place, and keep fire extinguishers handy.

Theft and Burglary: Property theft is a common claim. Invest in a home security system with monitoring services. This can deter burglars and alert you and the authorities in case of a break-in. Protect your home by installing a security system, deadbolt locks, and motion-activated lighting. Additionally, be cautious about sharing vacation plans on social media.

Liability Claims: Liability claims can result from injuries sustained by visitors on your property. To prevent accidents and liability claims, keep your property free from hazards, such as uneven walkways or loose handrails.

To avoid these common claims and ensure you’re adequately protected, here are some general tips:
  • Before filing a claim, discuss with your agent beforehand to ensure the best outcome.
  • Periodically review your homeowner’s insurance policy to ensure it adequately covers your home’s current value and your possessions. Consider adding optional coverages, such as flood insurance, if you live in a flood-prone area.
  • Keep an inventory of your personal belongings, including photographs and receipts. This will help with the claims process in case of theft or damage.

Contact the local experts at Muir Insurance Group to discuss the risks associated with living in our area and let us tailor your homeowners insurance policy. Call 847-550-9900 or email Muir Insurance Group for a free consultation.

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