Your Place: In springtime, our fancy turns to insurance claims

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

So far, what has passed for spring in the Philadelphia area this year has been relatively calm and much too dry.

Yet Farmers Insurance reports that examined claims in 2013 and 2014 showed that spring accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners’ claims nationwide during that two-year period.

April, May and June saw a 52 percent increase in homeowners’ claims over January, February and March, the claims showed.

Twenty-five percent of all homeowners’ claims filed during the spring in Pennsylvania were for water-related issues.

The second-leading cause of claims in Pennsylvania during the spring months was wind (21 percent).

Other weather causes, including power outages or surges, were the third-leading cause of claims at 17 percent of the state’s total, Farmers reported.

In New Jersey, 38 percent of spring homeowners’ claims were wind-related, which was the second-highest percentage in the country.

The second-leading cause of home insurance claims in the spring months was water, at 23 percent.

Other weather claims, which cover damage from power outages or surges, accounted for 15 percent.

To minimize wind damage, Farmers suggests the following:

Take the time to reinforce roofs. Hurricane straps or clips can be installed to secure the roof-to-wall connections. Reseal any loose shingles to prevent water damage to roof decking.

Reinforce garage doors with kits that attach to the concrete slab below the door and the framing around it, to provide two additional support points.

Secure windows with storm shutters.

If your property has sustained wind damage and it’s safe to do so, you can make small emergency repairs to prevent further damage, even if an insurance agent or adjuster hasn’t yet visited. For instance, check for and safely remove any broken branches before they can cause additional harm.

And always beware of signing contracts or paying a repair contractor the full amount up front for damage repair.