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Protecting your Assets – Tips for maintaining your property and understanding your cover

Article provided by Marsh

Property owners should always keep an eye on the condition of their buildings and grounds to ensure good maintenance.  Extreme changes in weather can cause damage over time; seasonal high winds or other dangerous weather conditions could also make a bad situation worse.

Although property insurance policies/Building Insurance provides protection against many kinds of damage, policyholders should know their limits and exclusions.

Tip #1 – Be proactive

Be mindful that insurance is not a substitute for timely and appropriate repairs to your property.  Building Insurance policies are not there for maintenance.  Rather, they are intended to protect policyholders in the event of natural disasters or unintended accidental damage.

Property owners should regularly inspect buildings and grounds for trouble spots and do the necessary maintenance in order to prevent more serious problems from occurring during a strong storm for example.  (Remove old, rotting vegetation from near the buildings, ensure gutters and downpipes are clear of leaves and debris, ensure drains and drainage pipes are unblocked)

Tip #2 – Know your policy

Make it a best practice to review your policy at least once a year— your broker can help you understand the endorsements and exclusions particular to your document. 

For example, you may have submitted a number of claims for burst pipes or geysers on a particular building and, as a result, Insurers may have included a compulsory excess or even excluded further claims of that nature completely. 

Make sure you understand your excess structure up front.

Know and understand limitations and exclusions.  With the help of your Broker, this could save significant problems from coming to light at a time when your resources,  and nerves, are already stretched to the limit.

Tip #3 – Choose a remediation contractor ahead of time

Another important step you can take right now is to find a good remediation contractor – a contractor that specializes in repair from storms or other environmental disasters such as flooding.

Shopping for a contactor during a crisis event is difficult.  A predetermined, trusted contractor can save you time and money.  A company that is familiar with local loss adjusters and insurers is ideal as they know and understand how the claims process works, which can help make the whole situation flow more smoothly. 

If you experience a damaging weather event, you will be working closely with this contractor to restore your home to its pre-claim glory.  In fact, it is recommended that you invite your contractor to the initial walk-through with the claims loss adjuster.  This helps everyone have eyes on the same damage and discuss an implementation plan in partnership.  In the meantime, an initial inspection can help you spot potential problems or issues before they arise.

Tip #4 – Balance your risks

There is no denying that it is difficult to plan for every event.  For this reason, you have to balance your risks when deciding policy details, including costs and coverage.  The important thing is to have a well thought out strategy.  Discuss various scenarios with your Broker.  Note where your biggest risks or concerns are, and think about how to address them.

It is very difficult, if not impossible, to predict the cost of repairs/replacement following severe storm damage.  However, a good combination of coverage, preparation, and resources can help you survive even the worst setback.  

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