The 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
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