Prudent Property Management has overseen the management of a remarkable waterfront property in Tiburon for a number of years. However, last Fall brought an unexpected turn when the insurer issued a Notice of Cancellation citing the need for roof replacement. Surprisingly, their decision seemed to hinge on dubious evidence, possibly gleaned from 1960’s lunar photographs rather than a recent inspection. Despite efforts to clarify that the roof was merely a decade old, the insurer remained unmoved. In a bid to salvage some form of coverage, an appeal was launched, leading to what could only be described as minor and possibly unnecessary repairs. Nevertheless, some insurance is better than none at all!

The plight of this waterfront property is not an isolated incident but reflects a broader trend of insurers departing from California. Initially, industry giants such as State Farm and Allstate hinted at a temporary “pause,” only to signal their permanent departure later on. Even smaller insurance providers, once thought to fill the void, are now following suit. While there may be various factors contributing to this exodus, a crucial lesson emerges: homeowners should exercise caution when filing claims, as they run the risk of denials or outright policy terminations. It seems insurers are actively seeking reasons to discontinue coverage, underscoring the importance of avoiding minor claims whenever possible.

As we embrace the arrival of Spring, it presents a good moment to undertake preventive measures to safeguard our homes and investment properties against potential hazards… and ultimately, insurance claims. Here’s a checklist of springtime tasks aimed at mitigating fire and liability risks:

• Gutter Maintenance: Following a particularly wet winter, it’s imperative to clear accumulated debris from gutters to prevent roof damage or weakened eaves.

• Fireplace Inspection: Schedule a professional cleaning and inspection of the fireplace to maintain its safety and efficiency.

• Dryer Vent Cleaning: Ensure the dryer vent exhaust remains unobstructed to reduce the risk of fire caused by blockages.

• Window and Door Caulking: Reapply caulking around windows and doors to prevent water infiltration and enhance energy efficiency.

• Faucet and Hose Bib Checks: Inspect outdoor faucets and hose bibs for leaks or misuse, which can lead to water damage and increased utility costs.

• Hood Range Maintenance: Regularly change filters in the hood range over the stove to prevent grease buildup and maintain air quality.

• Furnace Maintenance: Similarly, change the filter in the HVAC system to prevent fire or poor functionality.

• Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Testing: Test and replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are in working order.

• Defensible Space Creation: Follow CalFire guidelines to create defensible zones around structures, reducing the risk of wildfire damage.

By proactively addressing these Springtime tasks, homeowners and investors can significantly reduce the likelihood of costly damage and insurance complications down the line.

If you need referrals for professionals to help with any or all of these maintenance items, please don’t hesitate to reach out!