Calm Before the Storm..Don't Let Common Winter Claims Claim You
Storms Don't Wait Why Should You?
Hidden behind that gorgeous blanket of snow are harsh winter storms waiting to do serious damage to your home. The winter storm season creates the most common and costly claims for property owners. Nearly all insurance claims come from wintery wind, hail, and storm-related water damage.
Preparing for winter incidents and cold weather claims begins with prevention methods and thorough insurance protection. Let’s take a look at the most common causes of claims in winter weather and what you can do to protect yourself from these costly concerns.
Common Winter Claims
1. Wind damage
The most common homeowners claim filed is due to wind damage. Nearly one in 35 insured homes have a property damage claim related to wind or hail each year, according to the insurance information institute. Wind is more intense during the winter months and thus creates a majority of these costly claims.
Prepare for wind damage:
- Remove and store all unsecured outdoor items like umbrellas, furniture, and play items.
- Inspect your home for loose gutters, shutters, and shingles.
- Trim dead or weak tree branches around the house. Tree collapse is the third most costly winter weather claim.
- Be aware of nearby power lines. Trim trees around power lines. Ensure power lines near your property are secure. If not, call the phone or cable company for further fastening.
Wind damage is not always covered by your homeowners’ insurance. In fact, wind and flood are often exclusions on many homeowners’ policies. In this way, you’ll want to talk to your insurance agent before the winter season hits in order to ensure you are fully protected from any costs associated with wind damage.
Hail can do serious damage to your roof, siding, and porch.
You can’t prevent hail, but you can prepare for it:
- Inspect your roof and siding every autumn. Repair loose or missing tiles.
- If you live in an area where hail is common, you can consider installing hail-resistant asphalt shingles. This precaution could even help lower your insurance premium.
Like wind, some homeowners’ policies have hail exclusion. Check with your insurance agent to make sure you’re covered. Discuss the different sorts of claims process and coverage lines with regards to hail.
3. Frozen pipes
If your pipes get too cold, the water inside them will freeze. This ice can expand and burst the pipes, leading to water loss and water damage in your home. Freezing pipes accounts for 18% of all water damage claims. Damages from frozen pipes can include flooding, ceiling collapse, damaged floors and walls, mold, and more.
Interestingly, insurance companies often consider frozen pipes a “preventable problem.” They may say that your negligence caused the damage. This means that you could be stuck with a $10,000 water damage bill without your insurance company stepping in.
Thus, it’s crucial to protect your home against frozen pipe damage:
- Drain and disconnect all hoses.
- Drain the sprinkler supply lines.
- Keep your home warm at a minimum of 65 degrees.
- Insulate pipes in unheated spaces, like basements, garages, and attics. You can use pipe sleeves or heat tape.
- Leave garage doors closed.
- If you have a swimming pool, run the pump during nights where temperatures are expected to go below freezing.
- When it’s especially cold outside, let cool water drip from your faucets. This will keep your water flowing, so they have less chance of freezing in the pipes.
- Know where your water is shut off. If your pipes do burst, the first step is to turn off the water to reduce any further damage.
4. Snow and ice damage
Snow and ice looks pretty, but it can be so heavy that it can severely damage your house. The average claim for snow and ice damage to the home is around $4,700. Snow heavier than 1-2 feet or 4 inches of ice can crush your roof or cause falling tree branches. Water can freeze in and clog your gutters, creating “ice dams” that prevent proper runoff. This can cause a water buildup that can seep into your roof and ceiling.
- Prevent ice dams. Seal any gaps that allow warm air to leak into the attic. Keep your attic ventilated. Insulate your home’s heating system so it doesn’t escape through the ceiling.
- Get a roof rake to help get rid of heavy snow after major storms.
- Inspect your roof before the season for any weak areas that need repair.
- Trim all trees near the house, and get rid of weak or dead branches.
5. Slips and falls
Moreover, snow and ice can cause liability concerns on your property. An icy walkway or driveway could cause slips and falls, for which you will be liable. Even if the person injured on your property wasn’t invited, they could still sue you if they were injured after an icy slip on your property. This same liability applies if they are hit by a falling icicle, dead tree branch, and other winter concerns.
- Always shovel your driveway and walkway after a storm.
- Apply commercial-grade salt to help melt the ice faster.
- Ensure you are fully covered
Fires are also more common in the winter months due to the dry air and increase of fireplace use. The national average for fire and smoke damage is $9,815 but can be up to $30,000. Avoid costly fire claims with just a few precautions:
- Check that all fireplaces, stoves, and heaters are working properly.
- Keep no combustible items near heat sources.
- Get your chimney cleaned.
- Close the fireplace flue when not in use.
Be prepared. Take advantage of the calm before the storm and don't let common winter claims claim you! SERVPRO of Omaha Southwest will work with your insurance agent and make sure your home is taken care of after a storm. Let us take the stress off your shoulders. Call SERVPRO of Omaha Southwest today 24/7, including holidays 402-408-0134.