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How to Avoid Costly Claims from Winter Storms

Woman in the cold on the phone

Winter storms can do serious damage to your home. In 2021, storms during the winter months caused a record $15 billion in insured losses in the U.S., as reported by the Insurance Information Institute (III). Some of the costliest winter events by insured losses from 1950 to 2021 include:

  • Polar vortex
  • Freezes
  • Blizzards
  • Winter storms
  • Winter damage
  • Cold waves
  • Ice storms

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Damage to My Home from Winter Storms?

Fortunately, many homeowners insurance policies cover different types of winter storm damage, including:

  • Frozen pipes (not caused by maintenance failure)
  • Hail and wind damage (if there is no exclusion)
  • Snow and ice damage (which may not include damage from water seeping into your home)
  • Fire caused by space heaters, fireplaces and chimneys, or central heating systems
  • Slip and fall injuries to visitors because of icy sidewalks up to policy limits

How Can I Avoid Costly Claims from Winter Storms?

Homeowners insurance is a must, particularly in the winter months. However, filing a claim might not be your best option for every winter occurrence, as it could cause your insurance rates to go up. For the greatest cost savings, take steps to prevent winter weather events before they occur.

To Help Prevent Frozen Pipes

  • Drain sprinkler supply lines.
  • Drain and disconnect hoses.
  • Protect the most vulnerable pipes with pipe sleeves or heat tape.
  • Insulate pipes located in unheated areas, such as attics, basements, garages, and crawl spaces.
  • Keep your home heated. If you go out of town, set the thermostat at 65°F or higher.
  • Keep your garage doors closed.
  • In extremely cold temperatures, let cold water drip from the faucet.

To Help Minimize Snow Melt and Prevent Ice Dams on Your Roof

  • Install adequate insulation so heat remains in your home instead of escaping through the ceiling.
  • Ensure your attic is ventilated so cold air from outside can enter. If the attic becomes too warm, it can cause snow on the roof to melt, which can refreeze at the eaves, forming an ice dam.
  • Seal any gaps to prevent heat in the home from escaping into the attic.

To Help Prevent Winter Fires

  • Keep any heating device at least three feet away from any item that could catch fire.
  • Do not leave heaters unattended.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions when using heating equipment.
  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional before the start of the winter season.

To Help Prevent Windstorm Damage

  • Inspect the exterior of your home for anything that may be loose, including shutters and gutters.
  • Bring in or remove anything outside that is not firmly attached, such as outdoor furniture, shade umbrellas, garden ornaments, and children’s play items or equipment.
  • Prune the trees around your home to help prevent flying branches in high winds.

In case of major winter storm damage, it is important to have the right homeowners insurance to cover your losses. Our friendly agent can help you find the coverage you need at the most affordable rates.

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