Fixing maintenance problems will save you home insurance cash


A collapsed roof is probably covered by home insurance, but only if you did not ignore maintenance issues. Image: Flickr / pastorchrisbishop / CC-BY-SA

Home insurance is intended to help lessen the financial blow when something unexpected happens to your home. One thing many homeowners neglect to acknowledge is that not making basic repairs could negate insurance coverage.

The cost of basic home maintenance

Owning a home means paying for a certain amount of basic home maintenance. Homeowners insurance usually does not cover the basic things that go wrong with a home in the course of normal usage. This could be costs such as replacing the water heater when it wears out, repainting or re-siding the house, or even just cleaning the bathroom on a regular basis. Most financial advisers suggest setting aside between 1 and 3 percent of a home’s cost, every year, for basic maintenance. This means a $100,000 home should have between $1,000 and $3,000 set aside each year in a maintenance fund.

The insurance effect

When you discover a big piece of home maintenance that needs to be done, it can feel like a huge surprise. Floor joists that are rotting from the inside out, an incorrectly installed shower surround or a million other small pieces of maintenance. Most basic homeowners’ insurance does not cover basic maintenance such as this. However, choosing to not maintain your home could have unintended effects. Homeowners’ insurance is intended to cover the costs of sudden, unforeseen or accidental home damage. If something sudden or unforeseen happens, however, because you have not maintained the home, then you could find yourself in a very tough spot.

[Installment payday loans can help fill in the gap when you encounter expensive, unexpected repairs.]

For example, if a tree falls on your house during a storm and the roof falls in, then homeowners insurance will likely cover the repairs. However, if your roof falls in because you neglected to keep the roof in good repair over many years, then homeowners insurance may not cover the damage. Keeping your home in good repair is part of the deal of having an insurable home.

Hire a handyman

If you are not a handy sort, then the price of not maintaining your home could still be far too high. Taking the risk of not maintaining your home could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars if something goes wrong and the insurance company judges it as your fault. Handyman services often charge between $30 and $90 per hour, depending on your location and if the cost of materials is included. Have a specific job, ask for an estimate, and always be sure to check references. The cost of a handyman or basic home repair will always be less than an expensive surprise when something goes very wrong that could have been prevented.


Handyman Edge
SF Gate

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