Homeowners Insurance | Boizelle Insurance Partnership

How to Prevent Home Water Damage

When water backs up, overflows, or floods, it usually goes where it doesn’t belong.

Are you concerned about water ruining your home? If that is a worry that you have, the following list can help you spot and fix some of the most common home water damage problems. Some you can take care of on your own, while others are definitely best left to the experts.

Since problems are never 100% avoidable, extra insurance coverage can help if water still seeps into your home. One of our experienced, licensed insurance professionals will be happy to assist with any questions you may have concerning your homeowners insurance. One way to expand your coverages on your home policy is by adding the Extended Water endorsement offered by Erie Insurance.

This endorsement features coverage for:

  • Basements and other rooms that flood during a storm or various flooding events5
  • Water that backs up from sewers or drains (separate Water Backup endorsement required in North Carolina)
  • Repair or replacement costs for both your home and personal property5
  • Additional living costs associated with temporarily relocating while your home is being restored1
  • Flood avoidance reimbursement (up to $10,000) to help proactively protect your home before flooding occurs

How Can You Protect Your Home From Water Damage?

The problem: Plumbing failure from frozen, rusted or leaky pipes

The solution: Remember, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Look for any telltale signs of leaks like unusually high water bills, mold or mildew growth, water stains on walls and warm spots on your floor. To prevent frozen pipes, keep your home’s temperature no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Level of difficulty: Easy – if you know what to look for and stop a minor problem before it becomes a bigger one.

The problem: Plumbing drain system failures

The solution: Drain system failures are more common when your local storm water system is tied to your home’s sewer system. To prevent problems, install a backflow prevention assembly in your drain system. Also, remember to refrain from pouring grease down your drain; instead, let it cool before bagging and disposing of it.

Level of difficulty: While grease disposal is a no-brainer, it’s best to seek professional help installing a backflow prevention assembly.

The problem: Weak washing machine hoses

The solution: Replace hoses every five years and choose a reinforced steel-braided hose over a less durable rubber hose. And if your washer has seen better days, it might be time to replace the whole thing to prevent bigger issues.

Level of difficulty: Replacing a hose is a moderate job if you’re somewhat handy. Otherwise, call your plumber.

The problem: Water heater failure

The solution: Replace the sacrificial anode rod that diverts corrosion away from the tank at least once every two years. Also, flush your tank every six months to prevent sediment buildup.

Level of difficulty: Relatively easy. If you’re not handy, call your plumber.

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Electrical Safety At Home

Electricity has within itself the power to do both great and terrible things. It can provide light in darkness, but can also cause shock and potential fires. Fortunately, in most homes, a simple walkthrough can help you identify and avoid the most common risks. Having the proper homeowners insurance coverage can help to provide peace of mind as well.

Outlets and Switches

Outdated or mis-wired outlets and switches are not only annoying, but can be dangerous. Here’s what to do to avoid a dangerous situation:

Make sure all outlets and switches are covered with faceplates. Faceplates provide cover to exposed wiring that can shock and cause fires. Replace any missing faceplates, even if they are behind furniture or otherwise out of the way.

Protects children. All outlets should have safety covers. Or better yet, consider an upgrade to tamper resistant receptacles, which offer built-in protection against curious little ones.

Check outlets for signs of wear. If an outlet has burn marks or is hot to the touch, that’s not a good sign. Consult an electrician to get to the bottom of the problem. It could be a bad outlet or a sign of an underlying issue.

Make sure switches are outlets function properly. You can test with a portable lamp or a nightlight. If an outlet isn’t delivering power or a switch isn’t working consistently, it may be a sign of something serious. An electrician can help you make sure that you correct any unsafe wiring, often as simple as a loose screw or worn-out switch.

Extension cords and power strips

When it comes to extension cords and anything that allows you to expand how many things are plugged into a single outlet, use them sparingly. Here’s what you can do:

Avoid extension cords. If possible, relocate items close enough to outlets to avoid extension cords altogether. If you can’t avoid them, make sure to use them sparingly and temporarily. Extension cords are not meant to be used long-term, so you may want to consider adding extra outlets to your rooms. And don’t forget to unplug the cord when it’s not in use.

If you really need one, know what to check. If an extension cord can’t be avoided, make sure that it’s in good working order and free of visible damage. Don’t run extension cords under rugs or put heavy weight on top—they can be crushed and become fire or shock hazards. Also make sure that your extension cord is not wrapped tightly around or secured to anything i.e. with staples or nails.

Use power strips cautiously. Never plug multiple power strips into one outlet, or into one another. Don’t overload the power strip and watch out for heat. If your power strip is hot, reduce the number of items plugged into it. Experts recommend that power strips should be for temporary use only.

The kitchen

Most house fires start with the kitchen, which may not surprise you. But while most of us think of a splatter of grease or an overcooked roast as likely sources of flames and smoke, your electrical appliances can also be culprits. Here’s what you can do:

Steer clear of the sink. Relocate small appliances, i.e. coffee makers and blenders, away from the sink. If they are plugged into an outlet and are splashed with water, this presents a potential shock hazard.

Watch your wiring. Make sure that large appliances are plugged in correctly and properly wired. Plugs should reach outlets without stretching or straining and insert firmly. If anything is off if you’ve ever received even a light shock from touching an appliance such as an electric stove or dishwasher, talk to an electrician immediately.

Unplug items you are not using. Unattended appliances, such as a toaster or juicer, can lead to fire, even when no one is using them. To reduce your risk, simply unplug unused items until you need them.


With moist air, and running water in a tight space, bathrooms can be dangerous when it comes to electricity. Here’s what you can do:

Unplug it.  Just like in the kitchen, you should unplug appliances that are not in use, such as an electric toothbrush or hair dryer. In addition to the risk of fire, these can be a major shock threat if knocked into a sink or bathtub while plugged in.

Avoid portable heaters. The presence of water, steam and a variety of conductive metal materials make these a real danger in a bathroom. Having a fixed heating fan installed is a safer bet.

Add GFCIs. Since most bathroom outlets are not far from running water, GFCIs are a must.


Other spots in and around your home—think basement, garage and outdoor areas—can have their own electrical hazards. Here’s what you can do:

Check your fuse box or circuit breaker. Make sure that all fuses or circuits are in place and that fuse are the correct size.

Consider arc fault circuit breakers. These are a good fit for bedrooms to help you rest easy at night. They act in a similar fashion to GFCIs by sensing a short or overload and quickly shutting off the power.

These your GFCI circuits, especially outdoors or near water sources. Simply use the test and reset buttons to make sure they are working properly, particularly if you have outlets that are exposed to the elements.

Know when to call a pro. If you frequently blow fuses or trip breakers, contact an electrician to find the underlying problem.

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What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?

Homeowners insurance typically covers a range of risks and liabilities associated with owining a home. Here are some common coverages:

Dwelling Coverage: This covers the structure of your home in case of damage or destruction due to covered perils such as fire, windstorms, lightning, hail, vandalism, and theft. It typically pays for the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home.

Other Structures Coverage: This extends coverage to strucutures on your property that are not attached to your main house, such as detached garages, sheds, or fences.

Personal Property Coverage: This protects your personal belongings, including furniture, clothing, electronics, and appliances, from covered perils, both inside and outside of your home. However, certain items like jewelry, artwork, and collectibles might have coverage limits, so you may need additional coverage for these high-value items.

Liability Protection: This provides coverage if someone is injured on your property or if you accidentally damage someone else’s property. It typically includes legal expenses and medical bills if you’re found liable for the injury or damage.

Additional Living Expenses or Loss of Use Coverage: If your home becomes uninhabitable due to a covered loss, this coverage helps pay for temporary living expenses such as hotel bills, rent, or restaurant meals while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.

Medical Payments to Others: This covers medical expenses if a guest is injured on your property, regardless of who is at fault. It’s usually a smaller amount compared to liability coverage.

It’s important to note that homeowners insurance policies can vary in terms of coverage limits, exclusions, and optional coverages. It’s advisable to review your policy carefully and consider any additional coverages you might need based on your specific circumstances, such as flood insurance or earthquake insurance, which are typically not covered under a standard homeowners policy.

With ERIE, if you purchase the Plus or Select bundle with your ErieSecure homeowners insurance, you will be covered in the case of damage to your underground service lines. This coverage protects you against damage to cable lines, Internet lines, electrical wiring, natural gas pipes, propane pipes, and sewer pipes.

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How to Prevent Rodent Infestation In Your Home

Removing rodents from your home can be challenging, but there are several effective methods that you can use.

1 . Identify Entry Points: Seal off any entry points where rodents might be entering your home. Common entry points include gaps around pipes, vents, doors, and windows. Use materials like steel wool, wire mesh, or caulk to block these entryways.

  1. Traps: Set up traps in areas where you’ve seen rodent activity. There are different types of traps available, including snap traps, live traps, and electronic traps. Place traps along walls or in areas where rodents are likely to travel, such as near food sources or along known pathways.
  2. Baits and Poisons: Rodenticides can be effective in controlling rodent populations, but they should be used with caution, especially around pets or small children. Follow the instructions carefully and place baits in areas inaccessible to children and pets.
  3. Keep Food Sealed: Rodents are attracted to food sources, so it’s important to keep food stored in airtight containers. Clean up crumbs and spills promptly, and avoid leaving pet food out overnight.
  4. Remove Clutter: Rodents like to hide in cluttered areas, so keeping your home clean and clutter-free can help deter them. Remove piles of debris, old newspapers, and other items that provide hiding spots for rodents.
  5. Maintain Outdoor Areas: Trim back vegetation around your home and keep outdoor garbage cans tightly sealed. Rodents often nest in outdoor areas before making their way indoors.
  6. Ultrasonic Repellents: Some homeowners use ultrasonic repellents, which emit high-frequency sounds that are unpleasant to rodents. While there is some debate about their effectiveness, some people find them to be a helpful deterrent.
  7. Professional Pest Control: If you’re dealing with a severe infestation or if your efforts to control rodents on your own have been unsuccessful, consider hiring a professional pest control service. They can assess the situation and implement a comprehensive plan to eradicate the rodents from your home.

It’s important to be persistent when dealing with a rodent problem, as it may take time to fully eliminate them from your home. Additionally, taking preventative measures to seal off entry points and eliminate food sources can help prevent future infestations.

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