As the hot days of summer come to an end, and the crisp, cold weather starts to appear, it’s a good time to re-evaluate your home insurance policy. There are some things that can happen to your home in the colder months, leaving you exposed to a few additional risks.
A few common household accidents that occur in the winter are: frozen or burst water pipes, tree branches, home fires, and ice dams.
Frozen or Burst Water Pipes
In most cases, water loss due to a broken pipe is covered by homeowner’s insurance. But if your insurer can conclude that negligence caused the damage, then you’re unfortunately on the hook. Instead of handing over about $7,479, the average claim amount according to Insurance.com, make sure you take these steps to reduce your risk:
· Drain & disconnect hoses.
· Drain sprinkler supply lines.
· Insulate pipes located in unheated space (ex: basement, attic, garages, etc.).
· Apply pipe sleeves or heat tape to the most vulnerable pipes.
· Keep the home warm! If you’re planning to be gone for a while set your thermostat to 55° or higher.
· Don’t leave the garage doors open, keep them closed.
· When it’s really cold, let cold water drip from the faucets.
If you live an area where snow is likely or just ice, you need to be cautious of tree branches. There is a rise in the colder months for homeowner’s claims relating to tree damage. If a branch gets hit with a gust of wind just right, you’re looking at a few hundred, or thousands of dollars in damage. If your home or car does become victim to a fallen tree branch, it’s recommended to wait to make any repairs until the insurance adjuster has had a chance to come out and record all the damage. If your situation puts you out of your home, don’t worry, insurance may cover extra living expenses while repairs are being made. To prevent something like this from happening, go outside every so often and trim the tree branches that look risky, to eliminate any possibilities of home or car damage.
For any auto damage, make sure you have comprehensive coverage because in the event that a tree does fall on your car, you’d be covered! Give us a call at 1-855-771-4510 or visit our website at and we can easily add comprehensive coverage to your car during the colder months. We can even check your current policy to see if you’re covered and find you some savings!
House fires are another common occurrence during cold weather for a few different reasons. There’s an increase in heating and lighting systems, poorly maintained appliances and outdate electrical systems. (Source: Adjusters International)
Maintenance of fireplaces or furnaces (should you have one) are essential. In addition, correct use of holiday decoration, extension cords, space heaters and even- cooking! If you’re not careful, it’s not just fire damage you’ll be dealing with… it’s also smoke and water damage. Nothing says ‘Merry Christmas’ quite like a burnt tree.
Fires are usually covered by homeowner’s insurance. A traditional policy covers the structure of the house and in most cases a garage or extra home structure- but it’s often just insured for the price to rebuild the home, not replace what’s in it.
It’s important to buy sufficient homeowner’s insurance to guarantee your entire home will be covered in the unfortunate event that a fire does happen.
Damage on the outside of your property can quickly cause damage on the inside of your home if not taken care of. Ice dams are continuous chunks of ice that form alongside your roof. When ice dams occur, your roof can be damaged, your gutters compromised- causing water to build up and soak into your roof. This can result in not only a damaged roof, but leak into your attic, exterior walls, ceiling insulation and ceiling finishes.
To prevent this from happening, be proactive by:
· Insulating your home adequately so the heat from your home doesn’t escape.
· Seal up any gaps that may let warm air leak from your house to the attic.
· Make sure your attic is well ventilated so cold air can easily come through. If warm air sits in your attic, it melts any ice on your roof and if it freezes again, you’re left with an ice dam.
Prevention is the name of the game when the temperature drops! Accidents happen and you can’t stop everything. But, you can take the proper precautions and minimize your risk by reviewing your home insurance policy, updating where it’s needed, and pushing your sleeves up by taking on a bit of housework. A few hours of your time are worth it, to prevent what could be thousands of dollars in damage.