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Use this January home safety checklist to prevent damage and insurance claims

Start your year on the right foot by keeping your home and family safe and claim-free.

This year, let a home safety checklist give you the right start for keeping up with your New Year’s resolution to be better to yourself. Taking the right simple steps can prevent a range of expensive and dangerous problems. You can keep yourself, your family, and your home safe from the need for a homeowners insurance claim.

This January, check of each of these winter home safety steps to give you peace of mind.

Start outside with your home safety checklist. This includes steps to take for your roof, the rest of the structure and the remainder of your property. Use the following to get yourself started:

• Make sure your home numbers are visible – This lets first responders find you quickly.
• Check your eves troughs – As long as it is safe to do so, check your eves troughs and gutters for leaves and other debris as well as ice dams, icicles and other potential leak risks. If there is a great deal of snow or ice on the ground, it is not safe to climb on your roof. Look at the situation from the ground only.
• Check your attic’s insulation – Take a tape measure and check the depth of the insulation in your attic. It needs to be at least 12 inches thick. If you have less insulation than that, have a professional install more. Otherwise, you’ll pay through the nose in lost energy efficiency and you’ll cause your furnace to work too hard.
• Check your outdoor lighting – Make sure your outdoor lights will effectively illuminate any walkways to prevent falls and to deter thieves from attempting burglaries.
• Consider a security camera or system – Winter is peak burglary season due to the new electronics and other expensive items given during the holidays and because of the longer dark hours. Protect your home and avoid having to make a claim with your home insurance company.