The trick to staying on top of home maintenance is exactly what you’d expect; routine checks and proactive inspections.
Remember, this isn’t just about preserving aesthetics – it's about protecting the well-being of your loved ones, safeguarding your property's value and protecting your wallet. Regular inspections and timely repairs now may save you from costly and extensive ones later, all while providing you peace of mind!
AAMI Home Building Insurance protects against unexpected events such as storms, hail or flood1. However it’s important to note our coverage doesn't extend to damage caused by wear, tear, gradual deterioration, or the home not being in good condition. Undertaking maintenance on your building may reduce your chances that loss or damage to your home is not covered under your policy.
Read the PDS for full details of all terms, conditions and exclusions.
What to check
- Plumbing and flexi-hoses
- Gutters and downpipes
- Structural integrity
- Bathrooms and wet areas
- General repairs
- Home surrounding areas
Your roof does a lot of work keeping the outside, outside. This means that over time, it can face a lot of wear – which can lead to big issues down the line.
What to do:
If it’s safe to do so, you could do a visual inspection - though we’d recommending getting in touch with a licensed specialist. Keep an eye out for things like:
- loose shingles or cracked tiles
- overgrown moss
- built-up debris piles
- general rust
- nearby potentially damaging tree branches
- cracked or dislodged tile mortar
- damaged or rusted flashings
- standing water
- debris or moss
- areas that have rusted through, or
If you do find anything or you’re unsure, speak to a licenced specialist. DIY patch jobs won’t do here, and could even lead to further damage.
How often: Organise a professional inspection around every three to five years.
Keep an eye out for leaking taps and regularly check the pipes under your sinks in the bathroom, kitchen or laundry for any damage or signs of wear. Even a small leak can cause a large amount of damage over time.
Since a lot of pipes are tucked out of sight, another way to keep an eye on things is by checking your water meter monthly. This may help you spot any unexpected usage spikes – which may be a clear sign of a leak. If you spot any issues, address them straight away!
What to do:
Keep an eye out for:
- leaking taps
- dampness or water stains around fixtures or water systems
- corrosion or rust on pipes
- patches of dust or dirt left behind by a pool of water that has since dried
- wood rot or mould
- calcification at the base or body of taps, which can cause leaks, or
- signs of damage or wear on your flexi-hoses. These are what connects your fixtures and appliances to the main water supply, and are a common culprit for leaks. Learn more about flexi-hoses here.
How often: Every six months. Inspect more frequently if you live by the coast due to the saltier air.
Your gutters do the job of moving water out and away from the places where it could cause problems. While they might seem like an afterthought, one of the top methods for protecting your home is keeping your gutters clear and draining well.
It’s also worth pointing out that any buildup in your gutters can double as kindling in bushfire season – if you needed any more encouragement to get on top of it.
What to do:
- remove any debris like leaves, moss, or plant matter
- make sure there is no damage or holes in your gutters or downpipes and they haven’t rusted through
- ensure no downpipes or gutters are loose or falling down, and
- organise a repair or replacement if damage has occurred.
How often: Every six months or sooner if there’s lots of vegetation nearby, or in the lead-up to storm or bushfire season.
A key part of maintaining your home against costly damage is ensuring it is structurally sound. We often think of our home as just the house we live in, but it’s important to check all the buildings or structures around our home too.
While you can certainly keep an eye out for signs of potential structural issues, a trained expert can detect problems that might not be immediately obvious to an untrained eye.
What to do:
Keep an eye out for any of the following red flags:
- Cracks, sagging, or leaning walls or roof.
- Uneven floors.
- Gaps between walls, ceilings, and floors.
- Unevenness in the foundation or signs of water damage to stumps.
- Wood rot, decay, or insect damage to supporting posts, beams, and connections.
- Poor sturdiness and stability. Ensure that all railings, steps, and landings are firmly attached and aren’t wobbly or loose.
- Doors or windows that no longer latch or are difficult to open or close.
Any of these signs may indicate existing or potential underlying issues with the foundation, settlement, or structural supports of your home.
How often: As changes occur gradually, set a yearly reminder or as advised by a professional.
Waterproofing and sealants wear down gradually over time. The potential problem areas are the grouting and silicone sealant around the edges of tiled showers. Without well-maintained grout, water may seep into and beneath your tiles. This may loosen them over time – and lead to more complex damage.
What to do:
- Inspect and fix any tile grouting or adhesive that may have broken down.
- Inspect and organise replacements for broken-down sealant around taps, baths, showers, sinks, and windows.
- Check the floor adjacent to your shower bases – water here, especially away from the shower entrance, may indicate a waterproofing issue.
- Check for any unreachable mould behind silicone sealants. If you spot any, you may need professional assistance.
If you find or suspect there’s damage to the waterproofing, get in touch with a professional sooner rather than later – your bathroom and your wallet will thank you!
How often: At least once a year.
Termites, ants and rodents can cause some serious damage if they’re left to it for long enough. Without regular pest control, there may be damage to foundations, walls and floors leading to structural issues – not to mention potential health issues from vermin.
What to do:
Look out for:
- Mud tubes both inside and outside the house – used by termites to avoid drying out.
- Scratches, gnaw marks, or droppings both inside and outside the house.
- Power short-circuiting – this could indicate chewed wires.
- Cracked paint or plaster on your walls – this could indicate termites have made a new home.
If you spot any signs, contact a professional immediately for help on preventing further damage.
How often: Every six months or as advised by a professional.
Mould, bad in it’s own right, can also be a tell-tale sign of undetected water damage or moisture issues, especially in the less well-ventilated parts of your home. Think of wet areas like the kitchen, bathroom or laundry, where the combination of steam and reduced ventilation can create an ideal environment for mould growth.
What to do:
- damp, dull, or musty smells
- allergic symptoms or health issues when in the home
- dark tile grout
- discoloured walls or ceilings, and
- moisture under all sinks.
Be careful – inhaling mould can be bad for your health. If the issue persists after you clean the surface level, this may indicate a deeper problem. This means you’ll likely need a professional to treat the affected areas.
How often: Every six months, but always keep an eye out.
Internal or external, walls tend to take a beating in busy homes. Whether it’s gradual degradation, or one-off impacts that break plaster or dislodge bricks, you’ll want to ensure that you’re patching, repairing and protecting these areas so that they don’t become bigger problems.
What to do:
- Inspect your home for any holes and cracks in walls, floors, and ceilings.
- Seal all identified holes and cracks to prevent unwanted elements like wind, rain, and pests from entering your home.
- Regularly examine your floors for any issues such as protruding nails, warped floorboards, or low spots.
- Fix any floor damage promptly to eliminate trip hazards and prevent serious injuries. This may also protect you from potential liability if someone was to be injured at your property.
How often: Every 12 months, but always keep an eye out.
If there are any trees close by, they may contribute to roof and gutter damage. Not only that, but the debris can become easy fuel for fires. You should also keep an eye out for places where there’s inadequate drainage around your home. Standing water can seep into your property and cause problems in the foundations and house supports.
What to do:
- Check the perimeter of your home for overhanging branches or foliage.
- Ensure water drains away from buildings during rainfall.
- Trim or remove trees that are close to your home.
- Check for lumpy patches in the lawn, raised or sunken pathways or driveways, or trees growing unevenly or tilted. These may indicate tree root damage.
Be mindful that leaks can occur underground when pipes are impacted by the growth of tree roots. Tree roots can also cause foundational damage if left unattended. It’s best to contact professionals before any damage happens, so keep an eye out for signs of gradual changes.
How often: Every twelve months before storm or bushfire season as a part of regular landscaping upkeep.
- Common maintenance issues linked to home insurance claims
- How the home claim and repair assessment process works
- Creating a home inventory list
1 We do not insure you for bushfire, storm, storm surge, flood or tsunami in the first 72 hours of your policy. Very limited exceptions apply. For full details read the PDS.
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 trading as AAMI. Any advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. Please read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before you make any decision regarding this product. The Target Market Determination is also available.
The information in this article, including but not limited to suggested timeframes for maintenance, is intended to be of general nature only and should not be relied upon. You should make your own enquiries and/or obtain independent advice. Subject to any rights you may have under any law (including the Australian Consumer Law), we do not accept any legal responsibility for any loss or damage, including loss of business or profits or any other indirect loss, incurred as a result of reliance upon the information.