Following some simple guidelines can safeguard your property, keep your family protected, and lower your insurance premiums. Here is a useful checklist to help you examine your home room by room.
Bedrooms • Keep candles away from bedding and curtains. • Limit or eliminate extension cords and never run them under carpets. • Keep cords against the wall to protect against trips and falls. • Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Change their batteries once every six months and replace after five years. • Install window locks to keep out intruders and window guards keep children from falling. • Keep a flashlight next to the bed in case of an emergency or power outage. • Keep bedroom and bathroom pathways uncluttered to avoid falls in the dark.
Living Spaces • Limit or eliminate extension cords and never run them under rugs. • Maintain a fireproof screen in front of your fireplace. • Keep paper, fabrics, furniture, and other flammable items away from the fireplace or stove. • Install surge protectors to protect electronics. • Use non-skid backing or adhesives under rugs to prevent slipping.
Stairs and Hallways • Keep walkways free of obstacles to prevent trips or spills. • Install sturdy handrails. • Install adequate lighting and avoid overhead shadows on stairs. • Make sure stairs meet code requirements for how steep and deep they are.
Kitchen • Check the dishwasher hoses for loose connections, clogs, or leaks, and replace if needed. • Keep the dishwasher drain clear and free of clogs. • Check the water line feeding the icemaker in your refrigerator to be sure it is free of leaks or kinks. • Clean the range exhaust filter with soap and water to prevent grease and dirt from caking and to keep air flowing freely. • Test ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets regularly. • Unplug electric appliances when not in use. • Check hoses and pipes under the kitchen sink for leakage. Repair leaky faucets. • Seal around countertops and sinks to prevent water from seeping behind cabinets and walls, creating mold. • Have an up-to-date, working fire extinguisher that is right for all types of kitchen fires. Keep it in a visible place.
Attic • Keep the attic well-insulated and vented to prevent ice dams and/or moisture buildup. • Install adequate lighting. • Put in a proper floor to prevent accidents. • Keep pipes well-insulated to prevent freezing.
Garage • Clean up oil and liquid spills on the floor. • Avoid fires by putting rags soaked in oil, gasoline, or solvents in a jar of soapy water or a metal can designed to let air flow around rags. Ask your local landfill how to safely discard them. • Keep cleaning supplies, garden chemicals, paints, and thinners out of reach of children and away from heat sources or sparks. • Check and maintain safety mechanisms on automatic garage doors to prevent accidental closing. • Keep a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible. • Stow tools and sports equipment to prevent falls.
Insurance and General Protection • Maintain a written, video, or photographic inventory of all your possessions. Keep it in a fireproof safe or outside of your home. • Consider purchasing added insurance for jewelry, furs, and expensive artwork. • Review your insurance policy and insurable items annually. • Keep insurance premiums current. • Have a first aid kit and emergency telephone numbers handy. • Establish at least one escape route from your home and practice it with your family. • Schedule a regular walk-through for your home — say, on the first of every month — and do a quick check to ensure that your home is still as safe as possible.