How maintaining your gutters helps prevent water damage and pests

Last updated on November 28, 2023
Storm season brings torrential rain and debris that can build up in your home’s gutters. If they’re well maintained, your gutters can be a five-star water damage shield. If not, they may become a five-star rat restaurant and cause damage to your home. We explain some of the potential issues and how you can prevent them.
Illustration of rats eating leaves in a restaurant that’s in the gutters of a house
When was the last time you really thought about your gutters? They may become impossible to ignore during a heavy downpour, but it’s easy to overlook them during fine weather. Behind the scenes, they do an important job in helping to safeguard your home against water damage. However, if they get clogged, they might be rolling out the welcome mat for unwelcome guests.

Gutters are designed to direct water away from your home and towards a drainage system. If they’re working effectively, they can help prevent damage to the structure of your home, especially its roof and walls. When they’re well maintained, they’re your home’s water damage shield. If you keep your home well maintained, your home insurance policy will cover you against damage caused by insured events.

Strong winds and heavy rainfall will likely bring leaves, sticks and even broken branches. Not only will these clog your gutters, they’re also likely to offer tempting treats to insects, rodents and other creatures. With ‘gourmet’ gutters and nesting material available, they may even move in. Keep in mind that your home insurance policy won’t cover any damage caused by insects, birds, and vermin.

That’s why it’s important to regularly maintain your gutters to make sure they’re free of any debris.

person cleaning leaves from the gutter with gloves on
Beyond attracting furry or feathered guests, clogged gutters can cause damage to your home. During storm season, it’s essential that your gutters are working effectively to lessen the risk of leaks and structural issues. Here are some common gutter problems you might want to look out for:
Blocked gutters may overflow during heavy rain. When rainwater isn’t draining properly, it can leak behind the gutter and seep into your wall. This could lead to problems with damp, or potential issues with your home’s foundations.
Water dripping from your roof may be a sign of a leaking gutter. Harsh weather conditions could have caused cracks or corrosion over time. Peeling paint or cracks could be a sign that water is seeping into your home.

Did a mate help you install your gutters one summer? Improper installation might mean the downspouts are in the wrong place. Gutters that aren’t working properly could put your home at risk of water leaks or water damage.

Note: Allianz Home Insurance doesn’t cover damage from wear and tear or lack of maintenance.

These tips can help you maintain your gutters and lessen the risk of water damage this storm season.
Call in the experts. Professional gutter and roofing experts work with ladders and harnesses to check gutters and roofs safely. Home maintenance is important, but you should never put your own safety at risk.
Get your gutters checked at least once a year, as part of your home maintenance routine. You might want to get them checked before storm season, and after any weather events that could have damaged them.
Trim overhanging or damaged branches to help reduce the amount of debris that could build up in your gutters.
Consider adding mesh gutter guards to help prevent debris causing blockages.
Look out for signs of pests, such as mess, droppings, odours, chewed cables or damage to food packaging. Call pest control if necessary.
Check your home insurance policy to make sure you have the right level of coverage for your home.
Regularly maintaining your gutters may help lessen the risk of water damage to your home. However, if unforeseen events do happen, having the right home insurance may help you with any financial impact.
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This article has been prepared by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL234708 ("Allianz"). In some cases, information has been provided to us by third parties and while that information is believed to be accurate and reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed in any way.

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