Attention to the items listed below has proven to be effective in reducing the potential for a loss or mitigate the cost of a loss, should there be an occurrence.

Dryer Vents
Dryer vents made of plastic, vinyl or metal foil flex are subject to lint accumulation and fires.  These should be replaced with rigid or semi-rigid pipe that is joined together with tape and has as few turns as possible.   Additionally, the vents should be inspected and cleaned annually.

Obtain Certificates of Insurance
Certificates of Insurance should be secured at least annually from all contractors working on your property.  Their limits of liability should at least equal those of your policy.  You should also utilize a Subcontractor agreement including a Hold Harmless clause in your favor and be added as an additional insured on their policy.

Renter’s Insurance
If allowed by law, tenants should be required or encouraged to purchase their own insurance to cover liability and the contents of their unit.

Smoke Detectors
All battery powered smoke detectors should be on a six-month battery replacement program.  A log should be maintained to document the inspection, detector testing and battery replacement for each unit.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in every unit where there is exposure to carbon monoxide from the burning of fossil fuels (oil, kerosene, natural gas, propane, wood).  This includes any possible exposure from vehicular fumes from vehicles in attached or drive under garages.  These units should be tested annually and if battery powered, replace the battery, documenting the work done for each unit.

Circuit Breakers
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFI) electrical receptacles or circuit breakers should be installed in areas where the receptacle is within six (6) feet of a water source / sink such as in all kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms.  These units will help reduce the exposure to electrical shock.

Washing Machine Hoses
Washing machine supply hoses should be replaced with more modern “Burst proof” or burst resistant hoses, which are either thicker or have a steel braided reinforced outer covering.

This information is intended to assist you in controlling and reducing claims.  It is not all inclusive and may not address all potential hazards.  Adherence to any of these suggestions does not mean that your property or workplace is in compliance with any local, state or federal laws or codes.  Ultimately, as the insured, you bear the responsibility for maintaining a safe environment.

Gary J. Edie is with Cool Insuring Agency in Glen Falls, NY.  Reprinted with the permission of the Vermont Apartment Owners Newsletter.

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