Many homeowners purchase home insurance policies with the hope that they will never have to file a claim. Unfortunately, accidents and storms are practically impossible to avoid. Understanding why people file home insurance claims can help you avoid common dangers in your household.

1. Wind and Hail

Wind and hail often come together during bad spring and winter storms. Even small hail can cause immense damage to your roof or windows. Wind can also cause damage by loosening shingles and throwing objects into your home, such as broken tree branches.

You can avoid severe wind and hail damage by inspecting your roof and windows after storms, installing storm shudders and impact-resistant glass, invest in a hail-resistant roof, etc.

2. Water Damage

Water is a large reason your home may suffer damage. Unfortunately, most water damage is not covered by a basic home insurance policy. It is important to keep up maintenance on your home to avoid water gathering after and during a storm. Be sure to clean gutters and drains, check for leaks, and make sure water drains away from your home rather than pooling at its base.

3. Theft, Vandalism and Other Property Damage

Criminal acts are unfortunately a source of loss for homeowners’ property as well as damage to the home itself. Vandals and thieves may break windows, spray graffiti and/or steal your valuable items while you are away from home. Make sure your home insurance policy covers your most valuable items, as expensive belongings often have limited coverage under a basic home insurance policy. You can help prevent some of this damage by purchasing an anti-burglary alarm system. Even having a sign out front with the alarm system’s brand can often deter would-be thieves. Also, keep your valuables locked in a safe or somewhere else secure. It can also help to have motion sensor lights on the outside of your home to light up normally dark areas.

4. Fire

There are different sources for house fires. While some may come due to an accident by the homeowner, such as leaving a candle burning, many house fires are actually caused by other reasons. Electrical fires and fires caused by lightning cost thousands of dollars in house damage every year. While it isn’t possible to predict a lightning strike, you can take certain measures to lessen the impact. Make sure the electrical wiring in your home is up to code and ensure that all family members have a plan in case of a house fire. Be sure that your home’s smoke detectors are working and, if possible, keep a fire extinguisher nearby.