The beauty of the winter weather in the Northeast brings with it a lot of exciting activities. Whether it be making snow angels, skiing, or curling up on the couch with hot chocolate and a warm fire, there is a lot to love about the snowy weather. There are also many things to caution with the cold and snow. Here are a couple helpful tips on how to keep your property safe this winter, and keep informed on how insurance coverage would respond:
Ice Damming - when gutters and downspouts aren’t properly kept clean, water runoff from rain and snowmelt can back up. When the cold weather hits, that water freezes and can cause a damming effect. The ice damming causes damage to your roof itself, collapse, or water can seep into the property causing damage. The good thing is most All-Risk Property Coverage Forms, whether it be Personal or for Business, will respond to such a loss. However, the claims can be denied if the damage is a result of neglect or lack of proper maintenance. Insurance is supposed to be in place for “sudden and accidental” events, not for damage that happens over a long period of time.
It's also VERY important to know if your Homeowners policy has your personal property written on “All-Risk” coverage. If not, ice damming losses may not cover your belongings.
If you are a Commercial Apartment Building Owner, your Property Coverage may have a “per unit” ice damming deductible that could severely increase the self-insured aspect of the loss.
To avoid ice damming:
- Be sure to keep gutters clean from leaves and debris
- Look for rusted nails or deficiencies in the roof and address them promptly
- If possible, remove large amounts of snow from the bottom 3-6 feet of the roof line
Frozen Pipes - the bitter cold nights can cause plumbing to freeze and burst causing significant property damage. Property Coverage policies have specific clauses regarding coverage as it relates to frozen pipes. They state that the property owner must take “reasonable accommodations to maintain heat in the property”. That means if you’re on vacation for a week and turn off the heat in the home to save on your bills and the pipes freeze causing damage, your carrier would most likely deny the claim.
To avoid frozen pipes:
- Maintain heat in the home above 58 degrees at all times
- Wrap pipes in crawl spaces or attics in insulation
- Be sure to disconnect and turn off any exterior hoses prior to cold weather
- Turn on faucets in the home with regularity (flowing water has a lower freezing point than standing water)
These are just a couple quick tips to avoid potential claims during the winter months so you can spend time enjoying the many wonderful things that come along with the winter months! If you have any questions for our Personal Insurance team, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also Read: Preparing Your Home For The Cold