Your home, your haven, your refuge…if only you could believe that it will stand the test of time and be there for you no matter what. Sadly, many people lose their homes to disasters every year, or suffer through property losses, damage or theft. Really, it’s no surprise when you consider just a few of the threats your home might face:
Earthquakes—Not every home in the U.S. sits in a quake zone, but for those that do, even a small quake can do foundation damage.
Fires, internal—According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 369,500 home fires in the U.S. in 2013, resulting in 2,755 deaths and $6.8 billion in property damage. Fires can start within your house for all kinds of reasons, from faulty wiring to a candle left burning unattended, or even a kitchen fire.
Fires, external—Then there are the fires that originate outside of your home but still threaten it, such as wildfires, fires started by lightening, a neighbor’s house catching fire and spreading to yours, etc.
Burglars—Those who would like to exploit your prosperity by stealing from you also threaten your home, taking not only your property but also your peace of mind…and potentially causing damage to your home if they force entry through a door or window.
Pests—Carpenter ants, powder post beetles, termites, oh my! We live in house built in 1890 that had such extreme pest damage, we had to rebuild one-third of the house. The insects had destroyed floor joists, walls, ceilings, framing…you name it.
Water—Which brings me to water, by which I mean leaks: Even the tiniest leak can lead to extensive damage to your home. In our situation, the pests were drawn to the wet wood that was the result of water getting in through poorly maintained windows and siding. That was on the south side of the house. On the north side, leaky kitchen plumbing had rotted out almost the entire floor.
Flooding, internal—Another kind of water danger is flooding caused by something with the home, from burst pipes or a water heater gone haywire.
Flooding, external—Then there’s the flooding caused by nature, such as the basement flooding in a heavy rainstorm, or flooding from rising waters. No matter the reason for the flooding, your home is going to get damaged!
Falling trees or branches—Then there are the gravity-driven events, like trees falling over or branches breaking off…and falling right onto your roof.
Collisions—OK, so this one is a bit of a stretch, but it can and does happen: Your house could be hit by a car, a truck or even an airplane!
Lightening—Lightening is another less common threat to your home but it is still a threat and you must be ready to react if something happens.
Vandals—Another less common threat to your home but a valid one is the obnoxious vandal, the teen spray painting your fence in the dark of the night or breaking windows while you’re off at work.
So why pull together such a depressing and frightening list? Only to make the point that we as homeowners should all do everything we can to protect our homes, property and family, because you never know what kind of man-made or natural disaster might strike. Keeping up with home maintenance, investing in a home security system that includes fire and flood detection, and taking steps to make your home less inviting to outsiders are all proactive ways to protect what you can to the best of your abilities.