1) Kitchen fire – The majority of fire losses originate in the kitchen due to food that is left unattended on the stove, or ignition of grease. Never put a grease fire out with water. Use baking soda or flour instead.
2) Careless smoking – Always pay attention to how cigarettes are discarded. Do not discard in trash cans where other debris can ignite.
3) Candles – Never leave a room with an unattended, lit candle.
4) Fireplace ashes – Never discard ashes in a combustible container or store in or around the house or garage. Ashes can remain active for days and combust when fuel and air are introduced. Store in yard away from your home, or introduce water into the container to insure that the embers are extinguished.
5) Dryer fire – Every year you should clean the lint build up from under your clothes dryer. The motor can ignite the lint when an accumulation occurs.
6) Washing machine hose – Annually check the washing machine hoses for dry rot, cracking and tightening. Hoses should be replaced every couple years. Water should be turned off to unit when not in use.
7) Refrigerator ice maker line – Often these lines become pinched and start to leak causing damage to the flooring material and cabinets. Check lines annually.
8) Valves to sinks and toilets – As your home ages, you should continue to check all plumbing fixtures and connections. Look for corrosion and rust around valves. If your home is over 20 years, consider having a plumber check and replace all connections and hoses.
9) Theft of property from vehicle – Do not leave valuable items in plain view inside your vehicle. Use the trunk instead.
10) Ice dams – Make sure your gutters are free of debris in spring and fall to insure that water can run off the roof and down gutter drains. If you have several inches of snow on your roof consider shoveling back the first few feet to allow the snow above to melt and drain from the gutter. Be safe and do not endanger your health by doing this from the roof. Use a ladder instead.
Most homeowner claims result from negligence or as the result of a component of the home deteriorating. Your best bet in preventing a claim is to perform routine maintenance and never ignore a developing problem.