Preparing Your Property for Winter Related Damage
The winter season creates the most common and costly property insurance claims for homeowners. The overall percentage of winter related property damage insurance claims has increased at a higher rate than previous decades, likely due to the severity of storms and increase in the number of people with insurance protection.
Preparing for winter related insurance claims begins with prevention methods and relevant insurance policy protection. The following weather and related damages are the most common causes of insurance claims in the winter season.
Common winter related insurance claims
1. Wind damage
The most common homeowner’s insurance property damage claim is due to wind damage. Nearly one in 35 insured homes have a property damage claim related to wind or hail each year. Wind damage is not always covered by your homeowners’ insurance so make sure you examine your policy.
How to prepare your property for wind damage:
• Remove and store all unsecured outdoor items like umbrellas, toys, furniture, and stray tree branches.
• Inspect your home for loose gutters, shutters, and shingles.
• Trim dead or weak tree branches around the house. Trim trees around power lines
Hail can do serious damage to your roof, siding, porch, and vehicles. Similar to wind, some homeowners’ policies have hail exclusion. Make sure you check with your insurance agent to make sure you’re covered.
How to prepare your property for hail damage:
• Inspect your roof and siding every year. Repair loose or missing tiles.
• If you get caught in a storm, take cover at a nearby gas station underneath the awning or pull over and get in the back seat of the car away from the windshield, which could shatter.
• Consider installing hail-resistant asphalt shingles. This precaution could even help lower your insurance premium.
3. Frozen pipes
If your pipes get too cold and turn to ice, they can expand and burst the pipes, leading to water loss and water damage in your home. Freezing pipes accounts for a high percentage all water damage claims. Damages from frozen pipes can include flooding, ceiling collapse, damaged floors, wall, mold, and more.
Some insurance companies often consider frozen pipes a “preventable problem.”
How to prepare your property for frozen pipe damage:
• Drain and disconnect all hoses.
• Drain the sprinkler supply lines.
• Keep your home warm at a minimum of 65 degrees.
• Insulate pipes in unheated spaces, like basements, garages, and attics. You can use pipe sleeves or heat tape.
• When it’s especially cold outside, let cool water drip from your faucets. This will keep your water flowing.
4. Snow and ice damage
The average claim for snow and ice damage to the home is around $4,700. Snow heavier than 1-2 feet or 4-5 inches of ice can crush your roof or cause falling tree branches. Water can freeze in and clog your gutters, creating “ice dams” that prevent proper runoff. This can cause a water buildup that can seep into your roof and ceiling.
How to prepare your property for snow and ice damage:
• To prevent ice dams, seal any gaps that allow warm air to leak into the attic.
• Keep your attic ventilated. Insulate your home’s heating system so it doesn’t escape through the ceiling.
• Get a roof rake to help get rid of heavy snow after major storms.
• Inspect your roof every year for any weak areas that need repair.
• Trim all trees near the house, and get rid of weak or dead branches.
About AAA Public Adjusters
AAA Public Adjusters, LLC, is a property loss consulting firm headquartered in Philadelphia, PA. Additional offices are located throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Florida, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and North Carolina. AAA Public Adjusters have been fighting insurance companies for over 25 years. AAA Public Adjusters, Maximizing Your Claim!