Understanding the Most Common Winter Home Insurance Claims
The joy of homeownership can be overshadowed by the changes of seasons, and entering the winter season proves to be no exception. While the threat of hurricanes and the rainy season may diminish in certain parts of the country, in other regions the threat of snow, hail, and plummeting temperatures ramp up dramatically. Insurance carriers see an uptick of home insurance claims during the winter that are related to the following circumstances, many of which are preventable.
Claims resulting from home fires increase during the winter season. Many homes succumb to fire during the winter as a result of indoor fireplace use, fire-pits, space heaters, unattended candles and cooking accidents. When temperatures drop, many homeowners delight in starting a fire in the fireplace, or gathering everyone around the new fire pit in the yard. Preventive maintenance can help stop these fires. Here are a few steps to take:
- Have annual inspections performed on the fireplace to reduce fire risk.
- Protective screens should be placed in front of the fireplace.
- Space heaters should never be placed near draperies or other flammable items.
- Never leave space heaters or fireplaces unattended.
Few will argue about the beauty of freshly fallen snow. However, a heavy or wet snowfall can be catastrophic to a home. The standard roof is built to withstand approximately 20 inches of packed snow, slightly more if it’s light snow. Homeowners should routinely inspect their roof for signs of damage, including missing roofing, structural shifts and water damage inside the home to prevent damage or collapse from occurring. The age of the roof has much to do with structural soundness. Homeowners should never wait for damage to occur before repairing or replacing a roof that is showing signs of wear and stress.
Keeping walkways, driveways and steps around the home free from snow and ice is extremely important for preventing injury to the homeowner and visitors. Failure to de-ice these areas can cause severe injury. During the winter season, there are increased personal liability claims filed due to falls on poorly maintained access routes around homes.
Wind and hail
Freezing rain, hail and wind are responsible for an uptick in home insurance claims during the winter too. Hail can destroy all types of roofing materials, break windows, damage doors, etc. Here again, proper maintenance of the roof is an important component of protecting your home against damages. There’s not much anyone can do to change the weather, but its impact can be minimized in some instances.
When temperatures drop to below freezing and remain there for hours on end, exposed pipes that run from outside the home to within the walls can actually freeze and ultimately rupture. The water inside the pipes expands as it freezes, causing the pipes to burst. Damages from frozen pipes can include water damage and mold to grow in appliances, flooring, and drywall. Wrapping pipes and hose-bibs that are exposed outdoors can help to prevent frozen pipes. Homeowners can also choose to leave the faucet farthest from the point of water entry into the home on a slow-drip of cold water to prevent pipes from freezing.
Homeowners insurance policies vary in coverages regionally, and consumers should be well-informed about premiums, deductibles and coverage. At NSure.com you can view and compare policies from 50 of the top carriers in the nation. Make sure with NSure!