You can’t make snowmen, have snowball fights or go sledding, skating and skiing without snow. That’s the good part about living where there’s real winter weather. The bad part is shoveling snow, scraping ice and dealing with the damages and hazards winter weather doles out. Since those damages and hazards can bring homeowner insurance claims (and liability lawsuits), here are some tips to help you weather the winter and maybe even save on your homeowners insurance quotes.
Those who can sue will sue. Don’t give them an opportunity. Keep the walkways and steps on your property shoveled and salted to prevent slips. Before the first snowfall, clear away all tripping hazards (toys, tree limbs, garden furniture, lawn care equipment and supplies) that snow can obscure. If there are permanent structures such as fountains, yard art, utility boxes and low walls, mark them with inexpensive landscaping flags. Knock down icicles and clear snow from roofs with a long-handled rake. You don’t want it building up and creating ice dams and potential collapse. And you don’t want it falling off and hurting somebody, either. By the way, if you’re having a hard time opening exterior doors, it could be a sign you’ve got an excess build up of snow weight. Get rid of it. But please, don’t climb on your roof. If you can’t safely reach the snow from the ground, call a pro.
Take care while you’re doing all the heavy lifting and shoveling, too. Snow-shoveling-induced heart attacks are all too common during winter months. Avoid injury and a potential emergency situation by dressing warmly in layers to prevent hypothermia and frostbite. Wear a hat, because a large amount of body heat is lost through the head. Do some warm up exercises and gentle stretches indoors before you start shoveling. Cover your mouth with a muffler or balaclava to protect your lungs from icy air. Drink lots of fluids and take frequent breaks. If you get wet, go back inside and change into dry clothes at once. Soggy wet clothing has no power to insulate you, so you’ll lose body heat rapidly. Even better, if you’re older or in poor health, hire somebody else to clear your snow and ice.
Burst pipes are no picnic. Drain outdoor fixtures, sprinkler systems and spigots, and insulate them from freezing weather.
Always keep your driveway salted. Way too many claims are filed each winter by drivers who lose control of their car on a slippery driveway and end up smashing through the garage door.
Follow these tips for a safe, warm winter and you’ll also avoid costly claims on your homeowners insurance (and maybe your health insurance, too).