Have you been to a business or social gathering in the last thirty days? I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that some time during that activity, someone mentioned the weather. It’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue; the heat, excessive wind & hail, the lack of rain, the condition of your yard and garden, even the crops in the fields, right? But is anyone talking about the condition of their house? – Probably not – but they should be.
Unyielding heat waves and lack of rain can cause significant damage to your home. While shingles are now designed to withstand more severe weather than just a few years ago, the average age of the roofs in the states of Illinois and Indiana is over 20 years. Shingles that were manufactured 20 years ago even though they have a 30 year warranty are deteriorating at a much faster rate due to the excessive heat making your roof more vulnerable to damage by wind and hail. Radiant barriers under the roofs do help in reducing this impact but are not common to older roofs.
Lack of rain can create an environment around your foundation that makes it more susceptible to water damage inside the home when the rain finally comes. As the dirt around your foundation dries, it pulls away from the concrete creating an opportunity for ponding of water. The most miniscule crack in your foundation can result in seepage inside the home. This is most prevalent in newer homes as the foundation is still settling.
Gutters and down spouts become blocked with hard packed debris that normally would have been washed away during average rain falls and normal temperatures. Blockage accelerates rusting of the gutters and causes water to spill from the sides of the gutters instead of following the downspout which is design to guide the water away from the foundation.
As a homeowner there are steps you can take to prevent or at least reduce the possibility of damage to your home due to weather. First and foremost, LOOK UP and LOOK DOWN. Missing or cracked shingles are often visible from ground level. Have your roof inspected periodically. Every six months to a year, you should inspect your gutters and downspouts to assure that they are not blocked by debris. Place a garden hose in the gutter to see if the water flows out smoothly or overflows from the sides. Downspouts should be extended at least 5’ from the foundation. Walk the perimeter of your house to see if there is a visible gap between the soil and foundation. If this has occurred, add clay based soil to create a slope away from the foundation tamping it down with a heavy piece of wood such as a 4” x 4”.
Unfortunately the most diligent homeowner may suffer damage due to weather as there is no true defense against Mother Nature. In most cases, this damage should be covered by your homeowner insurance. However, home insurance rates are sky rocketing with every major insurance company in the country due to excessive claims related to wind and rain. In 2011, thunderstorms caused over $25 Billion in damage which is more than double the previous record. In addition, insurance companies have begun surcharging for roofs that are more than 20 years of age. The good news is that they are also giving discounts for new roofs.
As you complete the annual inspection of your home, take the time to inspect your home insurance policy too. Ask a qualified insurance professional to review your policy to make sure that you are covered should any of these weather related issues cause damage to your home. Always notify your agent regarding any significant changes or improvements to your home such as a new roof or furnace as these can result in a reduction of your premium. For a free, no-obligation insurance quote, call The Boulevard at 877-365-6177 or click here to contact us. The Boulevard is a wholly owned subsidiary of Standard Bank. We are a fully staffed independent insurance agency with access to many highly rated insurance companies.
Insurance products are not deposits, not FDIC-insured, not insured by any federal government agency, not guaranteed by the Bank, and may go down in value.
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Oh and if you see a little chicken running around screaming that the sky is falling, don’t panic – it’s just rain – finally.