5 Winter Home Insurance Tips Everyone Should Know

Winter is around the corner and with it, comes the challenge of protecting your home from snow-related damages. According to the Insurance Information Institute, winter-related claims accounted for 6.7% of the total number of claims in 2016.  However, most of the problems can be avoided or prevented through the following ways:

1. Check on the status of your roof
A weak or damaged roof could result in water damages within your home. Before the onset of the winter, inspect the roof for general wear and tear, missing shingles, and cracks that could cause leaks. Prevent ice dams on your roof by cleaning and repairing the gutters and downspouts. You can go a step further and install gutter guards. Having a professional inspect your roof on an annual basis is highly recommended.

2.  Protect your pipes
Frozen pipes are the biggest source of property damage. Make sure that you disconnect and drain hoses. Drain the sprinkler supply lines if you have any. Insulate the pipes that are in unheated places such as in the garage, attic, crawl spaces, and in the basement. Apply a heat tape or pre-molded foam rubber on the pipes that are most vulnerable.

3. Beware of damages from falling trees
While insurance companies will compensate you against damages caused by falling trees or branches, the coverage is against living trees. It is your responsibility to remove any dead trees near your home and low hanging tree branches. Some insurance companies will also cover the cost of repairing your landscape.

4. Test the detectors within your home
Home fires during the winter are quite common. Therefore, ensure that the smoke alarm is working. The heating appliances used to warm your home produce carbon monoxide. It is vital that you have a carbon monoxide detector to monitor the carbon monoxide levels and alert you should a certain limit be exceeded. Test the detectors and change their batteries regularly.

5. Insulate your home
Insulating your walls will help retain heat without incurring high energy bills. Insulate the sides and top of your water tank to keep it from freezing. Insulate the external faucets as some insurance policies exclude frost damage to outdoor plumbing. Ideally, the attic should be warmer than the outdoors to minimize the formation of ice dams, thus, ascertain that it is well insulated too.

While most insurance policies cover damages that could occur during winter, it would be wise to understand your type of policy.

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