Wis. Commissioner Advises Residents on Maintenance Prevention

December 16, 2003

Winter weather that chills residents to the bone can be equally harsh on their home. For this reason, the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) is encouraging all Wisconsin residents to prepare their homes for winter.

“Homes, like cars, require routine maintenance,” said Phil Kress, OCI Property and Casualty Section Chief. “It’s easy to forget or put off doing odd jobs around the house, but that procrastination can be costly. Homes that are not maintained are more apt to experience winter weather damage, thereby increasing one’s chances of needing to file an insurance claim for damage to their home.”

While unforeseen, necessary claims are a part of any insurance experience, Kress stressed that some claims can be avoided with a little planning and a little work.

“Basic home maintenance is a mix of strategic foresight and common sense, and it can save you from having to spend a lot of money in the future. A thing as simple as having your chimney swept can prevent a house fire,” said Kress. “The objective is maintaining your home so that you lower your risk of filing a claim and having a history of claims that could lead to increased premiums, or, even worse, cancellation or non-renewal of your insurance coverage.”

Consumers having an insurance problem should attempt to work it out with their insurance company or agent first. If that process does not yield a satisfactory result, consumers can contact OCI to lodge a formal complaint by calling 1-800-236-8517 or by downloading a complaint form from the Web at http://oci.wi.gov.

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