Guiding consumers since 2009

11 Maintenance Tips To Help Prevent Insurance Repudiations

By Staff Writer

It is often said that home is where the heart is, yet most people unconsciously overlook important aspects of home maintenance without realising that this could have serious insurance repercussions.

Homeowners who fail to maintain their homes properly may be exposing themselves to unnecessary risk of having an insurance claim rejected. Damage caused by unforeseen events such as fire or theft are typically covered under most homeowner insurance policies, however if the damage is caused by a lack of maintenance, the insurance claim may be declined.

It is critical that homeowners prioritise their expenditure towards their most important asset. In order to avoid potential insurance claim rejections, consumers should pay attention to the following key areas of the home:

The Roof

The roof is one of the most important parts of the home, so it is crucial to ensure that it is checked on a regular basis for any leaks. Climb onto the roof and see if there are any cracked tiles that need fixing or, in the case of corrugated iron roofs, ensure the waterproofing around the screws that hold the drain in place are still working to avoid leaks when it rains. Look for signs of water spots, standing water or strange moulds. Damp ceilings and walls can be a sign that leaks have already started.

Hidden leaks can go undetected for months before the damage is noticed. By that time the repairs involved can be a very costly affair; therefore it is better to take adequate precautions to avoid bigger problems.

The Gutters

It is essential to ensure all gutters are regularly cleaned as a build up of leaves or other debris can cause water puddles on the roof, resulting in both rotting and leaks. Clean gutters will also ensure that water effectively drains away from the house.

The Fireplace

It is vital to maintain a safe fireplace and chimney in the home. Regularly check the chimney for loose or missing mortar and make sure flammable materials - such as wooden beams - that could be exposed to the heat are located a good distance away from the fireplace. It is also worthwhile to have the chimney cleaned by certified chimney specialists every year to detect any issues as they arise.

All debris and flammable materials should be cleared away from the fireplace. It is advised that cardboard boxes, paper or any trash is not thrown into the fireplace, instead rather use dry, seasoned wood.

Safety equipment

To ensure the safety of all living areas in the home, it is crucial to ensure that smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers are in working order. It is also vital to make sure that all alarms are functioning at optimum levels.

When it comes to gas installations in the home always ensure they are installed and inspected by a certified gas installer. Remember to conduct annual checks of all gas appliances to ensure they meet safety requirements.

The Air conditioner

If a home has an air conditioner installed, it is very important that the filter is cleaned on a regular basis or even replaced at least once a month. The lifespan of the air conditioner may also be lengthened if it has weatherproof covers on it.

The Plumbing

Conducting a regular visual inspection of possible plumbing leaks in the kitchen, bathroom and even the laundry room, is a must for all homeowners. When taps are leaking from the spout it is probable that the washers may need to be replaced. Remember to cut the water supply when working on leaking taps to avoid unnecessary water damage or flooding.

Geyser maintenance is also crucial. By draining the geyser, one is able to remove any residue from the bottom of the tank. It is advised that a plumber is used to drain the tank, as a leak in the geyser can potentially cause structural damage to the home.

It may also be a good idea to cut the water supply to your home completely when you are on vacation or when you are going to be away from home for an extended time.

The Kitchen

The kitchen can be the most dangerous area in the home as the stove and cooking accidents are the main causes of home fires and related injuries. If a fire does occur when you are cooking with oil or grease, never use water to extinguish the fire as it will worsen the situation and can result in the fire spreading to kitchen cabinets. Always store a chemical fire extinguisher nearby.

Windows and doors

Unsecured doors and windows are an open invitation to burglars. Ensure that all windows and doors are tightly closed and locked when you are away during the day.

Windows and doors are also subject to wear and tear caused by weather conditions, as exposure to the weather can cause doors and frame materials to weaken and fail.  Replace seals on doors and windows to keep the cold winter outside. This will also add to the resale value of the home.

The Garage

For many homeowners, the garage has become a room to store junk and unwanted goods. This can make the garage an ideal place for fires to start, especially when flammable chemicals are present. Be aware of how tools and other equipment are stored in the garage. Dangerous and sharp objects need to be out of the reach of children to reduce the potential of accidents.

Electrical wiring

Faulty electrical wiring is one of the leading causes of fires in homes so it is imperative that homeowners check that all electrical wiring is in working order and ensure that any electrical wiring problems are fixed immediately.


Always ensure the swimming pool and borehole pumps are kept clean of leaves and sand at all times to avoid damage to the pump. By conducting this simple check homeowners can save a lot of money in the long run.

By following these simple home maintenance guidelines, one can ensure that the home is always in a good condition, while also greatly reducing the risk of a home insurance claim repudiation.

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