Spring is a time of year when the real-estate market is booming. It is also a popular time for many homeowners to plan how they will invest their yearly renovation and home maintenance budgets. While keeping up with the latest decor trends may be every homeowner’s dream, a new survey by Leger, conducted on behalf of Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, indicates that home maintenance tasks should perhaps be top of mind. According to the survey, 58 per cent percent of homeowners say they are planning to renovate in the coming year. Specifically, almost a third (32 per cent) say the work will take on cosmetic projects.
“Picking out a wallpaper pattern is much more fun than having to remove it after-the-fact, so taking a step back to see if there are risks brewing under the surface and taking care of those first may help avoid a lot of headache and heartache,” says André Parra, Regional Claims Director at Allstate Canada.
The survey also showed that a quarter of homeowners (25 per cent) say they ran into issues after purchasing their property. Of those, over half (56 per cent) had repairs exceeding $1,500 in expenses. Almost a third (31 per cent) of homeowners say they would go about things differently if they could redo their house-buying experience. Homeowners and potential home buyers should be aware of and monitor common risks to help prevent any potential damages and invest in maintenance wisely.
Allstate Insurance Safe Homeowners Study Shows Which Areas are Most at Risk
According to the Allstate Insurance Safe Homeowners Study, which analyzed Allstate household incident claims data, there have been notable increases in certain types of claims in Quebec homes over the years. Damages due to water, especially burst pipes, are the most frequent and costly home insurance claims in Quebec. Other common damages are due to electrical fires, kitchen fires and water infiltration.
”It can be challenging to learn all the ins-and-outs of home maintenance, especially for first time or soon-to-be homeowners. We would like to help them understand some of the basics of what to keep an eye on, and remind them to call on the experts to do inspections and maintenance to help avoid dealing with a big mess down the road,” adds Parra.
Homeowners and Property Hunters, Watch Out!
The Allstate Insurance Safe Homeowners Study can help inform current and future homeowners of some of the most common risks to their homes before they develop into costly incidents or home disasters. Here are some of the risks and what to include in your home maintenance checklist this spring:
Water sources – Water claims due to burst pipes are the most frequent (53 per cent) according to Allstate data, followed by toilet and shower leaks (35 per cent). Some leaks are often readily apparent, such as a burst pipe which can quickly cause major water damage, but other leaks like toilet drips or leaks from the supply tubes can go undetected for years if the source is not clearly visible. Older hot water tanks can also result in leaks and other problems, such as poor water quality, inefficiency, and breakdowns.
What to look for: Check if the toilet valve constantly emits a hissing or gurgling sound when the toilet is not in use. Verify the valve is still functioning properly and call a plumber if repairs are necessary or you are unsure. Take a look at the age of your hot water tank by checking the serial number. You may want to consider replacing your tank after 10 to 12 years. Have a specialist check for signs of rust, cracks, corrosion, leaks and sediment build-up.
Roof infiltration – Extreme temperature changes, wind and precipitation often cause roof damage, which can impact the frequency and volume of water infiltration into your home. With the amount of precipitation the province received this past winter, and the ups and downs in temperature from one season to the next, there could be signs of damage when snow melts. Roof infiltrations are the most frequent (53 per cent) in the wind and hail claim category according to Allstate data.
What to look for: Check for missing, curled or worn shingles. Pay special attention to the valleys, where two sections of roof meet, as these sections will deteriorate more quickly than other parts of the roof. Inside the house, look at ceilings in rooms on the upper floor for water damage (cracks, buckling or yellowing stains). If you see any of these, call a roof inspector to assess the damage.
Kitchen fires – Fires in the kitchen are more frequent than anywhere else in the home, according to Allstate data. Cooking with oil is particularly dangerous. An appliance with a worn or frayed cord could send heat onto combustible surfaces like curtains and rugs that can start a fire.
What to look for: Make sure electrical appliances are in excellent condition. Clean the interior of the oven and the cooking surfaces on a regular basis. Look under range hoods to check for grease build-up and clean as needed. Never leave cooking unattended, and avoid wearing loose clothing whenever cooking, as it can brush against heating elements and easily catch fire.
Electrical wiring and other fire hazards – Faulty wiring is one of the most frequent causes of electrical fires according to Allstate numbers. Sometimes fires are a result of poor workmanship and other times it’s from wear and tear. Problems may also result from appliance failure or from overloading electrical outlets or extension cords. Other fire risks include overused or uncared for fireplaces and clothing dryers.
What to look for: Check the electrical panel in your home to ensure it is not overused. Look for warning signs like too many different coloured fuses in your fuse box. Call an electrician if you come across any of these warning signs. Avoid using faulty outlets and appliances. Don’t run power cords under rugs, and never place portable space heaters too close to combustible materials such as curtains, beds, clothing, upholstery and rugs. Also look for clogged dryer ducts in the laundry room and clean them to help avoid dryer fires.
Allstate has developed an informative video series called “Who knew?” which discusses some of the most common household risks and how to avoid them. The videos are available here.
About the Léger Survey
The survey was conducted by Léger between March 27, 2017 and March 30, 2017 via omnibus online survey among a representative sample of 662 Quebec homeowners aged 18 and over. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of 662 respondents would have a margin of error of ±3.8%, 19 times out of 20.
About the Allstate Insurance Safe Homeowners Study
Allstate Canada conducted an in-depth analysis of the company’s property claims data to determine the most frequent cause of damages in Quebec households. The study is released annually and compares data over a 10-year period of claims experience. Households claims frequency refers to a percentage of homes insured by Allstate Canada involved in a property damage that resulted in a claim.
To ensure the data provides a realistic outlook for what is happening in the province and highlight any trends, claims information from all communities are analyzed in charts looking at 10 years of insured property data split between seven types of general perils. Each peril is then divided in up to 20 possible causes of loss.
Claims data is limited to damages for which there was a payout. The data ranks frequency of damage, not severity of loss. The study itself does not include personally identifying information of Allstate customers.
About Allstate Insurance Company of Canada
Allstate Insurance Company of Canada is one of the country’s leading producers and distributors of home and auto insurance products, including usage-based insurance, serving Canadians since 1953. The company strives to keep its customers in “Good Hands®” as well as its employees, and has been listed as a Best Employer in Canada for five years in a row. Allstate Canada is committed to making a positive difference in the communities in which it operates and has partnered with organizations such as the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada), United Way, Junior Achievement, and Old Brewery Mission. To learn more about Allstate Canada, visit www.allstate.ca. For more safety tips and advice, visit www.goodhandsadvice.ca.
SOURCE Allstate Insurance Company of Canada