Natural dangers are everywhere and can lead to serious property damage. Knowing what the dangers are and how to protect your home can help you avoid insurance claims, devastating damage, and even loss of a home. Below are some of the things you need to know to protect your property.
Know the Dangers
Many natural dangers exist in Colorado Springs. Below are some of the worst.
Wildfires can happen year-round, and Colorado's climate makes wildfires a particular threat. In the last 10 years, wildfires have burned thousands of acres and have done hundreds of millions of dollars in damage.
Windstorms are a particular threat in winter. High winds can blow debris around a property, causing trees to fall or drop limbs. In January 2017, wind gusts of up to 80 miles per hour tipped trucks and knocked over trees in Colorado Springs.
Flash flooding is one of the most common natural disasters in Colorado Springs. Floods occur when thunderstorms cause runoff from mountains, filling streams and rivers. The people in the most danger of these floods are usually far from the storms causing the floods. Flash floods tend to occur in spring, summer, and early fall.
Plant Trees at a Safe Distance
Trees planted close to the house can be dangerous in times of high wind. If you plant trees on your property, keep them a safe distance from your home. Keep medium-sized trees at least 15 feet from your house and large trees about 20 feet (or more) from your home.
Find out the expected size of your tree before putting it in the ground. Consider both the height of the tree and the crown's width. Do not plant the tree close enough that the branches will be able to hang over the edge of the house.
Inspect Sick Trees
Sick trees can lose branches that can go flying in high winds. Sick trees also fall over during the most dangerous storms, causing property damage and serious injuries. If you suspect that your tree is sick or dying, have a qualified arborist inspect it. Here's what to look for:
- Lack of leaves, either on one side or all around the tree
- Mushrooms growing on the trunk
- Loss of leaves early in the season
- Presence of pests in or around the tree (including insects and underground vermin)
- Damaged leaves
If you notice that your trees look unhealthy, contact an arborist as soon as possible. The arborist will be able to tell you what's wrong, what you can do to save your tree, or whether you need tocut the tree down.
Clear Out Dead Trees
Dead trees are a hazard during storms and wildfires. Clear dead trees off the property as soon as possible. Contact a contractor or a landscaper to find out more about how this can be done.
Keep Shrubs Away From the House
Shrubs are also a fire hazard during wildfire season. Shrubs planted close to the house can easily catch fire, causing the fire to spread to your house. Keep shrubs at least 5 feet from the house. Use non-flammable ground cover like patio pavers and decorative stones to make the area around your house attractive.
Water Your Lawn Regularly
Water your lawn during summer. Dry grass can burn easily during a wildfire. If you don't want to spend the time or money watering your lawn, replace your grass with xeriscaping.
Inspect Your Roof After Windstorms
After a storm with high winds, check your roof for missing or damaged shingles. If you notice problems, schedule an appointment with a roofer to have them evaluate the condition of your roof. Wind damage can occur to old and new roofs, so don't assume that your roof is safe just because it's newly installed.
Improve Drainage Around Your Home
Poor drainage around your home can be especially problematic during floods and wet weather. Watch your lawn for signs of poor drainage like standing pools of water and swampy areas. Talk to a contractor to find out what you can do to improve drainage around your property.
Evaluate Your Homeowners Insurance Coverage Annually
Look at your homeowners insurance every year before renewing your premium. Know what is covered and what is not. Most standard homeowners insurance policies do not cover floods, for example. To find out more about flood insurance, talk to your real estate professional.
Know your deductible and make adjustments as necessary before renewing your policy. Having an affordable deductible will help ensure that you can start repair work right away after a disaster strikes.
Know How to Make a Claim
Talk to your insurance agent about how to make a claim. Know the process so that when you need to get help from your insurance company, you're ready. At L.A. Insurance, we're happy to answer your questions and give you information about making an insurance claim. Contact us to find out more about how you can protect your home from natural disasters.