For many people, buying a house is the most important investment they will ever make, so protecting your home is a very logical move that helps ensure you are safeguarded against unexpected circumstances which could result in damage to this all-important investment.

Home Protection in Meridian, Idaho as well as in other parts of the country can mean more than one thing. First, having adequate homeowners insurance is a very real way of protecting your property from disasters that can damage or destroy it as well as protecting your financial equity in the property. Most insurance companies typically allow customers to customize home protection coverage for catastrophes that are more likely to happen in certain areas of the country like earthquakes along the west coast, hurricanes on the east coast and tornados in the mid-west.

Modern technology has also made protecting your home with a home security and fire alert system more affordable and commonplace. In the past, home protection plans to optimize the safety of your family and security of your house were costly and complicated. These days, however, security systems for home protection are easy to install and, in some cases, having one will make insuring your home with an insurance policy less expensive.

In order to protect your home properly, the old rule of “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds very true.

Taking active measures to keep your home protected is important. There are numerous areas that you can take extra measures in to protect your home. Definitely have emergency contact(s) available in the event something unfortunate occurs. It is helpful to list them as I.C.E. (in case of emergency) contacts in your cell phone. They can be family, neighbors or friends.

Prevention of Home Fires

A few simple steps to protect your Meridian Idaho home could also include the prevention of house fires.

According to federal statistics, 85% of all U.S. fire deaths occur in homes; it is important that you have a home fire defense plan and that you discuss it with all that are living in the house. Often times, fires are caused by cooking, neglect or just not taking responsibility seriously.

Below are some common-sense prevention tips that can help your home in Meridian Idaho or anywhere for that matter:

1. If you don’t already have them, install smoke detectors in numerous locations throughout your home and replace the batteries annually. If possible, consider hard-wiring your detectors and linking them together so if one is triggered by smoke, they all sound the alarm in every room in the house.  This is code for new construction homes but you always want to make sure your home has them. And if they are older than 10-15 years they should be replaced.  Also, make sure you have a Carbon Monoxide Detector as well!

2. Replace any wiring or electrical cords that you have noticed are worn, frayed or have wire ends exposed.  Wire ends should always terminate in an electrical box.

3. Avoid overloading circuits, extension cords and outlets which will also protect circuit breakers as well.

4. Keep a fire extinguisher in or very near to the kitchen and also one in the garage as most fires originate in those two places.

5. Clean and inspect your fireplace annually to ensure that it works correctly and is properly vented. If it is a wood burning unit, have the chimney inspected regularly and cleaned often. 

6. Never leave candles burning unattended. Do not burn anything next to flammable items.

7. Don’t use combustion type space heaters at all but if you absolutely must, keep them away from walls, drapes or anything that could catch fire. Turn off heaters when you go out of the house or to sleep at night.


Prepare for Severe Weather

A very important home protection measure you can take is to prepare for bad weather.  Here in Meridian Idaho, that means that we need to prepare for high winds, occasional heavy rains, or sometimes harsh snowstorms in the winter. You are able to protect your home and loved ones with some simple precautions:

1. Take an inventory of the valuables and contents in your home, including art and jewelry.

2. Take pictures or a video and keep these securely in a fire proof box or safe-deposit box or send a copy to a family member or friend for safekeeping.

3. Be sure you keep all important documents such as your mortgage papers and all insurance policies, in a safe-deposit or fireproof box.

4. Make sure you have adequate insurance coverage, including the correct replacement value for your home and be sure to carefully read so that you understand your homeowner and car insurance policies, especially their deductibles and disclosures. 

5. If you live in a flood zone, you will be required to carry flood insurance. Your agent will help you determine if you are at risk and help you obtain adequate coverage.

6. Keep an emergency kit easily accessible at all times. Be sure to include a battery-operated radio, a few days’ supply of food and water, blankets, flashlights, a first-aid kit and a generator if possible.

Preventing Water Damage

1. Make sure your roof is in good condition and that no shingles are missing as well as checking that the roof flashing, siding and exterior doors are all weathertight.

2. Make sure you know where your water main shutoff is in case you have a pipe leak or burst and need to turn it off quickly.  Make sure this valve is quickly accessible and not behind a stack of boxes.

3. If your refrigerator has an icemaker make sure you inspect the water line and fittings at least once a year to make sure they are not starting to drip.  This is the number one water damage insurance claim cause.  It is especially important if you have hardwood floors!

4. If you live in a freezing climate like Meridian, Idaho then you will want to disconnect your hose from your hose bib in the fall so that it can drain.  Keeping the hose attached in freezing conditions will freeze it back into the wall or in the crawlspace and potentially crack the pipe and then when it warms up you have a huge mess.

Protecting Your Home with Insurance

If you take out a mortgage on your house, the lender will require that you also have an insurance policy in place protecting your home so the lender is protected if the house burns down or some other disaster befalls it. Even though there are no laws that require home protection in Meridian through insurance if you own your house free and clear, it is still wise to buy a policy for the same reason a mortgager insists on one.  Protecting this large of an investment is not an option!

When it comes to insurance policies, not all home protection plans are the same, and most are adeptly written to only pay out if damage is incurred under specific circumstances. Investopedia explains that the verbiage in insurance policies usually restricts coverage to damage that happens accidentally and suddenly. That means a basic policy will typically cover damage from fire, hail, high winds and theft, but won’t necessarily cover a roof that collapses because of its age, or damage that happens from a slow and unknown roof leak rather that from storm damage. Also, if you have any outbuildings that aren’t attached to the house such as a shop or garage, you should make sure your policy addressed those structures, too.  If it doesn’t, damage to those buildings may not be covered.

While insurance policies don’t normally cover destruction from earthquakes, floods, mold infestation, neglected repairs, or acts of terrorism or war, you can typically buy home protection plans with additional coverage called “Riders” that addresses any or all of those specific instances. Mortgage lenders even require protecting your home with extra coverage in some cases, for instance such as stipulating that you must buy flood insurance if your house in a flood zone.

Insurance for home protection in Idaho goes above and beyond insuring just the replacement cost of your house and its contents. In today’s litigious society, liability coverage is more important than ever.  If someone trips on your porch and breaks an arm, you are liable but homeowners insurance with liability will cover the cost of medical care.  If a neighbor’s house is damaged because of your neglegence, such as from an unattended charcoal fire resulting in fire, the liability coverage kicks in. Even if your pet causes injury or damage, liability insurance should cover the cost.  You can also take out what is called and umbrella liability policy that covers very high amounts of liability.  These policies are typically very inexpensive for the coverage that you receive.

Angie’s List points out that almost all Homeowner’s insurance policies can be purchased to cover more than just home protection. If a disaster occurs that causes you to have to live elsewhere because of damage to your house, the right policy will ensure you don’t have to worry about alternative housing costs. Insurance for additional living expenses will pay for restaurant and hotel bills among other expenditures you might have while your home is being prepared.  If the home is an investment property then it can even cover your loss in rents during the time that your renters can’t live there due to repairs and/or reconstruction. 

One more optional type of insurance that some may want to consider adding to home protection plans would cover a home business.  According to the NEA website, your homeowner’s policy may offer some coverage but, especially if customers and clients will be coming to your home, you should ask your insurance agent about adding on an endorsement to cover a home-based business. It is an expense you can pay for and write off through the business, and you will be happy for the extra coverage if someone is injured on your property while there on a business-related matter.

Ensuring the insurance policy you have is sufficient for protecting your home requires more time than clicking a few boxes on a website and entering your banking information for electronic payment.  It is better to make and appointment with an insurance agent at the property being insured and spend some time talking about your specific needs and which home protection plans fit those needs.  An agent can help make sure you get the best coverage that fits your budget and will walk you through the factors that affect what you will pay for home protection in Meridian Idaho. For example, your premium will depend on where you live, how much your home and its contents are insured for, what additional endorsements you purchase and even what your credit score is. Don’t be afraid to shop around. Do talk with more than one agent and get multiple quotes for comparable coverage, but don’t jump at the lowest rates. Dig a little deeper and find out about the reputation of the company and how well they pay on claims in addition to what kind of coverage and rates they offer.

Home Security for Home Protection in Meridian

Overall, Idaho is considered a very safe place to live, and Meridian even ranks among the safest cities in the nation with a crime rate 56 percent lower that the national average, according to AreaVibes. However, no place is entirely free from crime making home security a vital part of protecting  your home.  How far you go for home protection is a personal choice, and can be as simple as securing all entrances with new locks and adopting a pet that can double as an alarm system and bodyguard for the family.

On the other hand, even with a dog on the premises, you may fee safer protecting your home with a security system. Considering that the U.S. Department of Justice reports that , on the average, 3.7 million households are burglarized each year, beefing up home protection with cameras, monitors, and alarms understandably provides homeowners with extra peace of mind.

Let’s face it, burglaries happen. By limiting access, maintaining your property , and making sure you eliminate hiding places, you are not only protecting yourself and your family but your belongings and home too.

You should open yourself to all aspects of knowledge on how you can enhance the security of your home and property.

Visibility, sound, and time, are three factors that are to be considered when trying to prevent theft from a home. Some items to think about are:

1. Are all doors locked?

2. Are windows shut and locked?

3. Is my property lit well at night?

4. Are any valuables visible from the street?

5. Is my routine easy for a potential burglar to recognize the least likely time to get caught if attempting to enter?

Fortunately, home security systems are getting better than ever and getting easier to install with some do it yourself installations. Cutting-edge technology puts advanced equipment at your disposal, and it is all surprisingly reasonably priced. What makes security home protection plans even more affordable and attractive is that having one installed can get you a break on the price of homeowners insurance as well as increase the value of your home if and when you want to sell it. In fact, according to Home Advisor, installing a home security system ranks up there with finishing a basement or redoing the kitchen when you want to increase the sales price of a home, but it’s far less expensive than those construction projects. 

There are a variety of types of systems for home protection in Meridian Idaho. Some companies sell packages and base the pricing on what each one includes. Examples of some features are alarms on each entrance including the windows, security cameras, different types of keyless entry options such as numerical keypads or fingerprint recognition, and monitoring services.  Most homes only require a basic system, but each homeowner chooses the options that appeal to them for convenience as well as home protection in Meridian.

Door and window sensors: In addition to a locking system, door and window sensors are an essential part of any basic home security system package.

Security Cameras:  Wireless security cameras thanks to internet, smaller camera sensors, and cheaper WIFI chips have become much more affordable.  The latest technology is an internet-connected video doorbell.  These doorbells offer all the features of a wireless security camera while also alerting you if someone rings the doorbell. A really nice feature is that you can talk to them via an app on your phone.

Keyless entry systems: Digital locks can be set apart from standard locks by how easy they are to use.  There are some digital locks that work with your smartphone and some have digital keypads, some have both.  There are a number of ways to activate them. You can set them to unlock when you come within a certain distance to the lock or you can give a command from your cell phone. This means that even if you forget to arm the house before you left, you can still do so. A convenience of digital locks is that you can grant temporary access to family, friends or neighbors or save yourself some time with the touch of a button. Smart locks also use a Bluetooth to automatically lock doors once they sense that you have left the home. Home sensors can be good for detecting motion. When armed, motion triggers can be sent to you mobile device. Then, you can be notified instantly if someone is trying to break into your house.  The types of technology are endless!

The Chicago tribune points out that monitoring isn’t required for the alarm system to work, but it’s a valuable addition to any system. Remember that the more coverage you have, the more you can expect to pay.

Many systems are now incorporating fire, flood, and carbon monoxide detectors along with intrusion alarms for protecting your home against dangers not related to break-ins.  Additionally, you can have cameras installed in areas other that entrances to help you keep an eye on your children or pets. On top of it all, many systems are wireless, meaning no major construction or drilling holes in walls is required to install the system you want. Smart security systems are highly customizable and available as do-it-yourself kits or as full-blown setups that include professional installation and monitoring.

When you have a home security system professionally monitored, advertise this by displaying window stickers and yard signs.  This lets thieves know that chances are high that they will be notice and their attempt will most likely fail.

Your home can be one of your largest assets. It is helpful to protect it from unexpected events by keeping detailed records.

Keep your insurance information such as the insurance company’s phone number and your policy number in a fire/waterproof safe in your home that is easy to get to in a hurry.  You will also want a way to take photos of everything as soon as possible either with a cell phone or a digital camera. Another important step is to remember to keep all your receipts for water, food and clothes that you buy after a disaster. Those are all costs that can be recovered.

You also want to make a complete and up-to-date inventory of all your possessions. Video everything in every room and make a written list too. Store this information away from your home, either in a safe deposit box or digitally. Once you have something happen, it’s very hard to remember what you had. Good records will make the process much easier and you are likely to get reimbursed properly.

Making small improvements can make a big difference in protecting your home, saving money on insurance premiums and bettering your emergency preparation. Where high winds can be an issue, roof wind clips designed for high-winds can help.  It would also be wise to consider wind-resistant shingles when roofing as well as requesting impact-resistant glass when replacing sliding glass doors or windows.  If you live in a hurricane prone area, you may want to consider precautions such as hurricane resistant shutters and garage doors. If you live in wildfire prone areas, flame-retardant shingles are a very smart addition as well as routinely keeping brush cut back by the fire code required distance from the house. Removing dead limbs and any combustibles from the yard will also help. 

There are a lot of ways to provide home security. Most are common sense, everyday habits that we already practice, while other approaches need more planning. Planning for home security may feel like a lot of work and it may cost you up front, but is well worth it to ensure safety and to prevent unnecessary stress later down the line. Just remember that a safe home is a happy home!

If you are getting ready to buy a new home in Meridian Idaho, you’ll want to keep issues for your new home protection in mind as you view homes and make your all important decision. Be on the lookout for structural concerns or locations far from fire protection that might affect insurance rates, and take note of homes that already have security systems installed.

The professionals at Stewart Realty have the experience to help you with all matters vital for protecting your home. Their home inspectors are also the finest in the industry! To find out more about Meridian Homes for Sale or the rest of Southwestern Idaho, give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call for a personal tour of the area and some great homes that fit your style and budget.

The team at Stewart Realty knows homes and they know Southwest Idaho real estate. To find out more about real estate in the Boise Region give Jeff Stewart at Stewart Realty a call to set up your personal real estate search, a personal tour of the area and find some great homes that fit your needs and budget.

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Jeff Stewart, Broker/Owner 208-602-1993 or