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Home  »  Risk Management 101: Property Risk Assessment Checklist

Property Risk Assessment

Your home (as in your primary, owner-occupied home) is probably the most used thing you own, if you really stop to consider it.

You sleep there, make your meals there, shower, do laundry, entertain guests, and many other things. You run the air conditioner or heater, the water, and the electricity on a consistent basis. And yet, your risk is still fairly low because you theoretically will return home at the end of almost every day and confirm that the house is still standing, nothing is ablaze or flooded, and everything is as it should be.

However, as we move away from an owner-occupied dwelling, we see higher risk situations.

A tenant-occupied dwelling is considered a higher risk because insurance carriers assume the tenants don’t maintain the house as well as the owner would. In some cases, they’re certainly right and in other cases, they are not. Unfortunately, the process of risk management and insurance precedents comes from decades of claims histories that show moderately unfavorable losses.

We also see the risk skyrocket when considering a property that is entirely vacant with the owner having no concrete plans to rent or sell. A vacant property of any kind causes hesitance with insurance carriers because if a fire starts or a pipe bursts, the damage can become widespread throughout the whole house. This means a larger payout and, ultimately, much more to fix.

As a way to help see what kinds of peril you might be exposed to as a property owner, review the checklist below and see how to minimize your risk.

When was the last time your heating/cooling, electrical, or plumbing was updated or replaced?

Replacing and updating major appliances in your house is not only better for you in the long run, as they will save you money on your utilities, but less goes wrong with newer models. Breakdown of household equipment due to wear-and-tear over time is NOT covered unless a carrier offers a specific endorsement for it, so replacing something now is worth the cost.

How old is your roof?

An old roof is prone to leaks and flyaway shingles if the wind picks up too much.

Do you live near a body of water?

If you live by a body of water, you might be at risk for flooding. Make sure to know if you’re in a flood zone and, if so, that you have a flood insurance policy that will cover any damages done.

Do you have functioning smoke alarms in all bedrooms?

Functioning smoke alarms aren’t just practical; they’re actually a necessity if you ever try to sell your home. Whether you want to or not, installing smoke alarms in all the bedrooms of your home is necessary for preventing risk.

Do you have a security system?

A security system helps to prevent a break-in from turning into a burglary. An alarm that can alert you to an intruder in your house while simultaneously alerting the authorities is a great deterrent for someone who came in search of valuables to steal.

Do you have standard safety features such as a deadbolt, fire extinguisher, and smoke detectors?

Once again, basic safety features can be the difference between a break-in and a burglary.

Are you responsible for the upkeep of the sidewalk in front of your house? If so, is the sidewalk cracked or uneven?

Depending on the neighborhood, you may be responsible for making sure the segment of sidewalk in front of your property is maintained. This means no cracks, raised edges, or holes which people can trip on or over. A trip and fall that’s on your property or property you’re supposed to be aware of could mean a lawsuit.

Do you have any broken handrails or steps inside or outside of your home?

When an insurance carrier agrees to insure your property, they do their due diligence and send someone out to inspect your property. If they see broken features on the outside of your home, they will insist on the repair of those issues.

Is your yard overgrown or cluttered with objects?

An overgrown or cluttered yard is not just unsightly or a hazard to people trying to navigate it. It is also the perfect habitat for raccoons, possums, rodents, and various other creatures to get very comfortable being in close proximity with your home and potentially make themselves at home. Raccoons and squirrels are skilled at breaking in and squeezing through some very tricky spaces. Once they’re in your home, getting them out is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Only some damage caused by raccoons and none of the damage caused by squirrels is covered by your homeowner’s policy, so removal can be more of a hassle than just cleaning up your yard.


How can we help you manage the everyday risks you face?

At, we pride ourselves in taking the necessary preemptive measures to protect your home, vehicles, loved ones, and businesses through our extensive knowledge of risk management. If any of the above questions made you start to consider your own coverage a little more closely, why not just ask our experts? It’s what we do every day, and we’ll be able to give you an honest answer to your questions and make recommendations based on the risks you’re exposed to.

Contact us today for a free risk assessment and any one of our licensed agents will be glad to help you with all of your insurance needs.