December 21st is the first day of Winter and it brings many pleasures unique to the season, including holiday get-togethers, warm flannel bed sheets, and football viewing parties. Unfortunately, winter also has its share of risks. Ask anyone who’s ever suffered through the flu or gotten their tongue stuck to a frozen metal pole. Many homeowners face a particular set of hazards in wintertime – potential mishaps that could lead to property damage and insurance claims.
The Most Common Winter Claims
As you might expect, weather plays a key role in many winter insurance claims. Frozen precipitation and frigid temperatures can attack a home inside and out:
- Damaged and collapsed roofs from heavy snow accumulation – average claim: $6,000
- Burst pipes from extremely cold temperatures – average claim: $7,479
- Downed tree limbs that damage homes and property – average claim: $5,000
Prevent Common Perils
When it comes to severe storms, homeowners often find themselves at the mercy of nature. But with due diligence and a little forethought, homeowners can improve their chances of avoiding some seasonal misfortunes.
Keep your roof in good repair – Clean your gutters regularly and replace worn shingles for increased protection against roof damage, which can lead to another common source of home insurance claims: water leaks. Without proper drainage, snow and melted ice have a tendency to seep down into ceilings and walls.
Take a load off – In cases of heavy accumulation on your roof, waiting for ice or snow to melt may not seem like the safest way to go. If you need to clear your roof quickly, use a long-handled snow rake or hire a professional snow removal service.
Protect your pipes – While most common in the Northeast and Midwest, frozen pipes happen in all areas of the country and average about $18,000 per claim. Frozen pipes can lead to expensive repair bills. To help keep the water flowing, set your thermostat at 68 degrees or above, and let faucets trickle overnight when temperatures dip below freezing. Water pipes on the outside of your home, including the garage, should be insulated.
Tend to your trees – High winds, ice, and sleet can send branches – or worse, entire trees – crashing down. Always trim limbs that overhang or touch your house. Regular checkups by an arborist can help identify trees that may need serious pruning or even removal.
It’s also a great idea to be proactive and keep your walkways to your home, along with the surrounding sidewalk, shoveled and salted. After all, the injury you prevent may be your own.
Stay Prepared for What Winter May Bring
We don’t know how long Winter will be with us this season but additional cold and snowy weather may require additional vigilance to keep winter home insurance claims at bay. Think carefully before filing a claim. A single claim could cause your insurance rates to increase and two or more claims within a short timeframe can result in even higher premium increases, or potential policy non-renewal. Still, some winter hazards can pose a real danger to you and your family and it may be safest to use insurance funds to have items professionally repaired.
Take the time to look for potential hazards around your home and try to address them. Preventing winter homeowner’s claims before they occur is likely to be your lowest-cost option. Remember, responsibility never goes out of season. If you do experience any property predicaments this Winter, contact the experts at Xtreme Home Improvement for fast, reliable service. We’re your full-service Restoration and Remodeling company.