You may be cozy inside while winter storms rage, but when the weather outside is frightful just imagine what it’s doing to your home and the impact of winter weather on home insurance. Every year, U.S. snow storms and freezing weather rack up over a billion dollars in homeowner insurance claims. The biggest culprit is water that seeps in through your home’s vulnerable spots. Properly winterize your home to prevent costly damages, the inconvenience of major repairs and, if you avoid filing a claim, you might even save on your homeowners insurance quotes.
First, review you current policy to make sure you have adequate homeowner insurance coverage for damages that result from burst pipes and snow overload on roofs.
As long as you have the camera out for holiday gatherings, tape a visual inventory of your home and possessions, and store it in a safe place. Even better, use a camcorder so you can make audio comments about value, date of purchase, cost to replace, etc.
Now let’s talk prevention:
- Keep your roof cleared of snow build up. Constant thawing and refreezing can create ice dams that compromise the integrity of your roof, ultimately leading to expensive water damage. Check and repair any damaged flashing. Replace worn roof shingles and tiles. And while you’re at it, clear the gutters and downspouts, too. As long as you’re up there, install leaf guards on the gutters and put extensions on the downspouts so running water is directed away from your foundation.
- Check all exposed ductwork and insulate where possible. This will keep air warm as it circulates through attic and crawl spaces, preventing ice build up.
- Windows are another weak line of defense against water damage. Remove and replace old caulk to seal up those gaps around windows.
- Do you have a basement? Cover the window wells with plastic shields to keep icy water from leaking in.
- Insulate all exterior and exposed pipes to prevent freezing and bursting. Insulation is way cheaper than a flooded basement. Don’t forget to drain your air conditioner pipes and turn off the water shut-off valve if your AC unit has one. If you’re going away for more than a few hours, leave your heater on set at about 55 degrees to prevent frozen plumbing and attendant floods. You can also open up the cabinet doors around water heaters and pipes to make sure the warm air circulates to those area. Know where you main water shut off valve is so you don’t have to go hunting for it in an emergency.
A little precaution can save you a lot of money and help keep your homeowner insurance claims and save you money on your homeowners insurance quotes if you take steps to avoid the impact of winter weather on home insurance.