Survey Shows This Overlooked Part Of A House Could Lead To Catastrophe
It may be difficult to believe but many people who own homes have never even been in their attics, and according to a new survey from the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, that can mean disaster. Why? Because there are many hazards that can find their way into a homeowner’s attic and the damage they cause can, and often does, spread to other parts of the home.
The Chubb survey targeted 1,000 adults and found that more than half of homeowners (52 percent) discovered rodents like bats, mice, bees and squirrels, living in their attics. And that was just of the 90 percent who’d actually spent time in their attics. Around one in 10 had never even ventured up to get familiar with these and other risks living over their heads.
What’s the big deal about rodents and bees, your clients may ask?
Well for starters, they can cause structural damages that lead to bigger problems. Chubb adds that rodents in the attic “can be a nuisance at best, and if they are not eradicated quickly, they can become home wreckers, as squirrels and rats have been known to chew through electrical wires in attics.”
The sparks caused by such gnawing can also prevent a fire risk.
Considering the sheer number of vitals that run throughout your attic — exhaust fans, electrical junction boxes, plumbing, and central air conditioning systems — a kink here and there can build to a bigger problem for the living space. “Homeowners should regularly make sure that any system that is connected to an electrical or water source in their attic is in good working condition, as a burst pipe or a clogged drain in the attic could lead to widespread water damage on the floors below,” Chubb noted in a statement.
An additional cause for concern that most homeowners face with their attics is this: the space above the home often serves as a storage area for expensive items like art, memorabilia, seasonal clothes, and luggage to name a few. It is also a place where many homeowners put their irreplaceable items — old family photos, yearbooks, other mementos, etc. Using the burst water pipe above as an example, there is no replacement for the loss of these types of objects.
Chubb urges homeowners to consider storing these types of valuables in another part of the house — somewhere not subject to extremely cold or hot temperatures. “Client attics also should be equipped with alarm systems to detect smoke, water leaks and extreme temperatures,” the company notes.
As an agent, you should advise your clients to do the following:
Carefully document and consider the worth of their valuables. Too often homeowners focus simply on what the home would cost to rebuild. They don’t give enough thought to the house’s contents.
Store wisely. As Chubb notes, if they can find a less volatile place in the house to store their things — particularly objects that respond negatively to extreme temps — then they should do so at once. What’s more satisfying than getting a claim fulfilled fully and efficiently is not having to file one at all.
Focus resources and fixes on the parts of the house that could be catastrophic. If there is a rodent of some kind in the attic, a homeowner shouldn’t slough it off. These small animals can expose big problems, and often those problems aren’t apparent until it’s too late to minimize the damages.
The attic is an oft-overlooked part of the house, but it’s a place where a lot can go wrong. Make sure that your homeowner’s insurance customers know the risks and the dangers and that they have a plan to prevent the worst from happening.