Don’t Be an Alarming Statistic: Keep Smoke and CO2 Detectors Functioning to Save Lives, Property, and Money

Posted by on Sep 28, 2017 in Life Insurance


Fire at Nice House

Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are rarely top of mind in our daily routines. But not having these devices — or having ones that don’t work or are out of batteries — can have life-altering consequences. Consider the following:

The statistics are shocking, especially when considering such catastrophes are often preventable. Having the right types of disaster mitigation devices in your home makes sense on many levels: It can save lives, prevent massive property damage or loss, and even reduce homeowner’s insurance rates.

House fireAccording to the Insurance Information Institute, homeowners can typically save at least 5% for having operational smoke detectors installed. Savings can go up to 15 or even 20% for those whose homes have more sophisticated sprinkler systems and fire alarms that automatically notify fire departments. These upgraded systems are costlier and not every type qualifies for the insurance cost reduction, so before making the investment, discuss your options with an experienced insurance agent who understands the link between mitigation devices and policy discounts.

Even if you don’t upgrade your system, it’s vital to maintain operational detectors. In most cases, it’s even the law. As of January 2017, 38 U.S. states have enacted legislation pertaining to carbon monoxide detectors in homes, according to the NCSL article, and smoke detector laws are also enforced on a state or local level. There are many combination alarms available that detect both smoke and carbon monoxide, so it’s relatively easy to meet all requirements with one unit in each recommended or required living area.

What can homeowners do to ensure detectors function optimally?

  • Replacing Battery In Smoke AlarmTest the batteries in each detector monthly.
  • Change the batteries in each detector every six months — even if a test says the batteries are still good. Mark a reminder in your calendar or make a point to change the batteries when you change your clocks for daylight savings time.
  • When changing batteries, also clean each unit. Use a vacuum attachment to remove dust, and follow manufacturers’ cleaning instructions.
  • Replace entire units every 10 years. Mark each unit with the install month and year so you know when the unit’s 10-year lifespan is up.

Understand your homeowners insurance policy

Such proactive diligence should also be applied to knowing and understanding your homeowners insurance policy and what is covered if you do sustain a house fire. The amount and type of coverage may depend on your situation, which is important to consider as you shop for the right policy.

  • Be sure you understand what is covered, as policies can vary greatly. If you can’t live in the home after the fire, does your policy cover “loss of use” and pay for your hotel and meals while displaced? If your home needs to be completely rebuilt, will your policy cover the full replacement cost? Are all your personal belongings covered or do you need additional coverage to protect costly items like jewelry?
  • If available in your state, fire dwelling insurance may be a better option if you own a home but rent it out to others. Many homeowners insurance policies will not cover damage to a home that the insurance policyholder does not live in.
  • If you rent a home, you won’t qualify for homeowners insurance, but renters insurance will cover your belongings.

Just as having the right detectors installed can save lives and property, having the right insurance in place can dictate financial outcomes should disaster strike. Partner with a knowledgeable insurance agent who can help you navigate your many insurance options and find the best policy for your unique needs.

Contact a Concklin Insurance expert today to better understand your policies and ensure you have the insurance coverage you need.