Are you and your home prepared for a long, cold winter?

winter weatherThe Farmer’s Almanac has predicted frigid cold and heavy snow across the U.S. for the 2013-2014 winter seasons.  You can prevent winter-related disasters to your home with a few simple steps that can protect your home from freezing temperatures, snow and wind, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Standard homeowners policies cover winter-related disasters such as burst pipes, ice dams and wind damage caused by weight of ice or snow, as well as fire-related losses. Melting snow can inflict significant damage to property and winter storms are the third-largest cause of catastrophe losses, noted the I.I.I. Winter storms caused $38 million in insured losses in 2012, according to Munich Re. An ISO study shows that from 1992-2011, winter storms resulted in about $28 billion in insured catastrophe losses (in 2011 dollars), or more than $1 billion a year on average.

Here are some steps from III.org you can take outside and inside your home to prepare for winter.

Outside Your Home

  • Clean out gutters.
  • Install gutter guards.
  • Trim trees and remove dead branches.
  • Repair steps and handrails.
  • Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations.

Inside Your Home

  • Keep the house warm.
  • Add extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces.
  • Have the heating system serviced.
  • Check pipes.
  • Install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system.
  • Make sure that smoke and fire alarms are working properly.
  • Learn how to shut the water off and know where your pipes are located.
  • Hire a licensed contractor to look for structural damage.

If you are going to be away for an extended period, take special care. Turn the water off and/or have the water system drained by a professional to keep pipes from freezing or bursting. Also, hire someone to check your home on a regular basis so that, if there is a problem, it can be fixed quickly, lessening any damage.

Penny Hanley and Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job

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