Security and Safety

What Home Liabilities Are Hiding on Your Property?

By Emily Laskowski 3.2.20

It’s part of the American dream to own a home — even better, a piece of land. Property insurance is there to help prevent it from becoming a nightmare. There are many risks that could be hiding on your property. It’s important to be aware of what could potentially be the cause of a loss so that you can ensure you have adequate insurance coverage.

“Property insurance should do more than just satisfy your mortgage,” says Ashley Oatman, a Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent in Llano. “It’s there to offer you peace of mind. The goal of purchasing insurance is to make you financially whole after an uncertain loss.”

Here are a few of the many risks to look out for. 

Where Risks May Be Hiding

Outdated Wiring: This is especially common in older homes, Oatman says. Consider all the ins and outs of the structure of your home — all the wires and electrical outlets and fuses that are unseen or just out of mind. Unfortunately, every wire and cord and electrical connection poses a potential fire hazard.

Swimming Pools: Swimming pools in a backyard that may not have proper safety measures like a fence and a self-latching, self-closing gate are particularly risky. “If a small child were to wander into your backyard and drown in your swimming pool,” Oatman says, “you are liable for that loss — especially if you do not have the proper safety measures making that swimming pool inaccessible to the public.”

Landscaping: From improper drainage to dead trees, another common property insurance risk is your landscaping. “Improper drainage can lead to issues with your foundation,” which can lead to a multitude of damaging risks, Oatman says. “Dead trees can go unnoticed until springtime, when they fail to come back to life,” she adds. “A bad storm can cause that unnoticed dead tree to fall and do significant damage to your home.” 

How to Catch Them in Time

There’s simply not enough time to fix these issues when you most need to — when you smell smoke in the house or when the tornado sirens go off. “Without property insurance, you are financially responsible for those losses,” Oatman says. “And it’s not if a loss will occur but when.” 

To reveal the potential risks your property might be hiding, Oatman says it is a good practice to self-inspect your home and property frequently — including when the seasons change, after a bad storm, and before and after leaving on vacation.

The Right Coverage 

When determining coverage, Oatman notes that there are certain benefits you may be unaware of but which are helpful when you need them most.

“Loss of use coverage protects you if you ever must vacate your home due to a covered peril,” Oatman says. “This helps cover hotel expenses as well as meal expenses, because the last thing you should worry about after a loss is where you are going to stay and how you are going to afford it.”

There are also certain types of loss that normal property insurance does not provide for, including some flooding and wind damage. “You may also find that your homeowner’s policy does not provide you with the adequate amount of liability — to where you may need an umbrella policy that will pick up the excess coverage needed,” Oatman says.

To uncover every potential risk on your property, Oatman recommends annual 360 Reviews with your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent to ensure everything is up to date and that you are adequately protected. Call your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent today to review your property insurance coverage.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2020 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance