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Disaster-Proof Your Home with This Insurance Checklist

30th November 2016

Insurance is there to help you if things go wrong but ideally you want to do your best to prevent ever having to make a claim.

We’ve put together this insurance checklist to help you identify any potential disasters your home could be vulnerable to, so you can take action to prevent them happening.


Fires can have a devastating impact and yet preventing them only requires a few simple measures. To minimise the chances of your home going up in flames, ensure you check the following:

  • You have a smoke alarm which works. Did you know you’re four times more likely to die in a fire if you don’t have a working smoke alarm? Smoke alarms are cheap and easy to install and local fire service can offer advice on the best approach to take.
  • Electrical appliances in your kitchen are kept away from water and curtains, so they can’t easily catch fire.
  • Old cooking appliances are in good condition.
  • Outlets or circuits aren’t overloaded by plugging too many appliances into adaptors for example. High powered appliances like washing machines need a single socket to themselves.
  • All appliances have a CE mark for safety standards.

Read our resource for more tips on fire safety and find out how Harris Balcombe can help you if you need to make a fire insurance claim.


According to police.uk, homes without security measures are five times more likely to be burgled than those who take simple steps to stay secure. Here are few checks you can go through to minimise your chances of being burgled:

  • Keys are stored out of sight and away from the letterbox, so a device can’t be used to fish them out.
  • An alarm is installed, if you live in an insecure area.
  • Valuable items are kept out of sight. Go outside and peer through your own window. How many valuable items can you see at a glance?
  • All the entrances are secure, if you live in a shared building.
  • The area immediately outside your home, like your porch for example, is well lit, so it doesn’t provide cover for burglars.
  • High value items like jewellery are kept in a safe.
  • Side gates are kept locked.
  • Fences are in good repair.

Find out how Harris Balcombe can help you, if you need to make a claim for theft.

Weather damage

Keeping your home well maintained will make it less susceptible to damage from harsh weather conditions caused by storms, snow and strong winds for example. These simple checks will reduce your home’s vulnerability to damage:

  • Central heating is in good condition to prevent pipes freezing and bursting, leading to damage from water escaping.
  • Flood defences are in place if you live in an area which is at risk.
  • Bricks are pointed when necessary.
  • Broken or loose roof tiles are fixed. This is on of the leading causes of rook leaks.
  • Plumbing in good condition
  • Guttering is clear.

Find out how we can help if you need to make a claim for flooding or storm damage.

Accidental damage

Accidental damage, such as ruined carpets or broken valuables is one of the most common reasons for making a home insurance claim. Such damage is often caused by children and pets.

You won’t be covered for damage caused by pets so make sure they are house trained.

Keep valuable objects out of reach from children, or where they can’t easily be toppled over.


Subsidence happens when the foundations of your house shift with the land beneath it. This can be caused by the soil drying out, or becoming too moist, to the extent the ground becomes unstable. Houses built near caves, or mines, or on clay soil, are more vulnerable to subsidence.

To work out if you may have subsidence, try the following:

  • Monitor large cracks in your wall, which may be a sign of subsidence. Not all cracks mean you have subsidence though. Check if they’re larger than 50 pence at one end, or if they’re expanding.
  • Check for tears in wall paper which aren’t caused by damp.
  • Cut down large trees which may destabilise the foundations of your property.




At this point, you would hope that your insurance company is there to help but unfortunately this is not the case. We have known families who have felt intimidated by insurers and have been treated as though they have done something wrong, or are in some way to blame for their situation.

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