Top home claims – and how to prevent them

Sometimes the unexpected happens.

According to the Insurance Information Institute’s most recent statistics from 2016 to 2020, about one in 20 insured homes has a claim each year. The six most common types of home claims are also, on average, among the costliest.

Fortunately, there are actionable steps you can take to help protect your home from damage, and insurance options that will help cover you. See how costly some of the most common claims can be, what you can do to prevent it and coverage options The Hanover offers in the event it happens.

Type of claim


Insurance protection to consider

Fire and lightning

Average cost per claim:
Rank: 1st

Frequency of claim:
1 in 385 homes
Rank: 5th

Have a fire extinguisher on hand, especially in the kitchen, where almost half of home fires begin.

Check smoke alarms monthly. Set a recurring date or day, such as the first Sunday of each month.

In the event of lightning, unplug appliances, starting with computers and phones.

Guaranteed replacement cost coverage insures the full replacement cost to rebuild your home after a total loss with materials and craftsmanship of like kind and quality regardless of rising material and labor costs.

This infographic can help illustrate the importance of insuring to replacement cost.

Bodily injury and property damage

Average cost per claim:
Rank: 2nd

Frequency of claim:
1 in 1,425 homes
Rank: 6th

Keep walkways clear, whether it's snow on your sidewalk or toys in the hallway.

Beware of (your) dog. Nearly one-third of homeowners' liability claims stem from dog bites.

Get rid of the trampoline. Few household items drive more home premium increases – or cause more injuries.

Umbrella coverage is insurance against defense costs, judgments and court costs relating to liability claims that take place on your property.

This umbrella coverage calculator can show you just how important – and how affordable – this protection can be.

Water damage and freezing

Average cost per claim:
Rank: 4th

Frequency of claim:
1 in 60 homes
Rank: 2nd

Keep gutters clean and use downspout extenders. Make sure gutters drain away from your home.

Raise appliances off the floor, including washers, driers, and other heavy electrical equipment.

Periodically run your sump pump and clean it each year before spring.

Water backup and sump pump overflow covers property losses and clean-up costs that result from water backing up through sewers or drains or sump overflows.

Watch this short video on "Water backup" to learn more about how this coverage works.

Wind and hail damage

Average cost per claim:
Rank: 3rd

Frequency of claim:
1 in 35 homes
Rank: 1st

Anchor larger outdoor items, such as grills or patio furniture, to prevent them from becoming potentially damaging projectiles in a wind storm.

Check your roof for loose shingles frequently, and repair promptly.

Trim tree limbs to prevent overhang.

Waiver of deductible coverage applies only the highest deductible when a claim affects multiple properties, such as a home and a car, or two cars.

A short video on waiver of deductible can show you how this coverage can save you money if you have a claim.

Property damage not caused by any of the above

Average cost per claim:
Rank: 6th

Frequency of claim:
1 in 170 homes
Rank: 3rd

Make small home repairs promptly to prevent minor issues from escalating into more costly and time-consuming claims.

Seal any entry holes that may have developed in your home. Damage from rodents and other critters is more common than you think.

Keep it clean. That includes furnaces, lint traps, chimneys and other potential hazards.

Special personal property coverage protects you in incidents, such as misplaced jewelry or broken valuables, which are not typically covered in standard policies.

Watch this short video on scheduled items to learn more about this coverage.


Average cost per claim:
Rank: 7th

Frequency of claim:
1 in 525 homes
Rank: 5th

Strategic landscaping, such as placing thorny bushes near first floor windows, can deter entry.

Don't hide valuables in the master bedroom. It's the first place thieves check.

Keep your vacation plans to yourself. Posting your upcoming trip on social media may alert thieves when to attempt a break-in.

Special personal property coverage is also must-have insurance against theft (as well as disappearance and breakage) for items whose value exceeds the limits of a standard policy.


There's a lot to consider when insuring your home. That's why the best bet is to rely on the expertise of your local independent insurance agent. Together with The Hanover, they'll be able to craft the ideal combination of coverage, value and price.

Source: Insurance Information Institute