The winter is here, and we all know what that means. For those of us living in the greater American Northeast this means we are subject to: Nor-Easters, Blizzards, Ice Storms, Sleet, Slush, Hail, Snow, Black Ice, Frozen Pipes, Snow-Load, School Closures, Snow Plowing, Driveway Shoveling, Snow-Blowing, Anti-Freezing and all of that fun stuff. There’s one more thing that people often overlook—tree maintenance.
Tree liability is a huge issue, especially during the stormier seasons of the winter. Tree maintenance is a huge way of preparing for wind, ice and snow damage. Weighed-down branches and limbs will break and fall, potentially destroying whatever’s below them. Additionally, trees with weakened or compromised root systems can fall over in circumstances involving heavy wind and snow combined.
There are many ways you can prepare yourself and your trees for high-wind situations.
Tree Services – Tree service is one of the first and seemingly obvious steps to take, and many times people overlook it. Often, insurance companies do not regard tree-related maintenance as claimable, because all property insurance policies exclude maintenance. A good tree service provider will prune and maintain your trees, as well as identify trees that are compromised or need to be removed. Likewise, having a good tree service provider will provide a layer of liability protection, as it will be documented that you take proper care of your trees.
Geography – Your geographical location is more important than you think. Check the elevation of your place of residence, as this will affect flooding and winds. Also, reinforce your house against high winds. This can be done through bolstering your garage doors, preparing plywood to go over windows during extremely windy situations, and by installing commercial-grade shutters. Taking these kinds of precautions will help you when dealing with your insurance company making damage claims as well.
Remember, one of the most important elements to surviving a combination of snow, ice and wind is to carefully maintain any and all trees on your property. Through doing this, you are not only increasing the curb appeal for your home, but you are protecting your property as well as providing an extra layer of liability protection in the unfortunate occurrence that something does happen to your house during a severe weather event.
Remember, staying informed and prepared is essential to making it through storms, and thus surviving the insurance claims process.