Winter weather can be brutal. Our homes become a place of safety and solitude when mother nature comes calling. Unfortunately, these conditions can cause some serious damage. In fact, half of all home insurance claims are during the winter season. That means that winter claims are fairly common, yet most homeowners are unprepared or underinsured in these situations. Here is a list of some of the top causes of home damage during the winter months.
- About 25% of U.S. homeowner’s insurance claims are due to exterior wind damage.
- Average claims cost $7,000.
- Preparations for winter windstorms can include bringing in any outdoor furniture, toys, or other yard items not nailed down, repairing loose gutters & shutters, trimming back trees and large shrubs around the home, and having tools ready for cleanup.
Snow & Ice
- Average claims cost $4,757.
- The most common damages caused by snow and ice include gutter ice dams and overflow, a crushed roof, deck damage, and trees that are torn down.
- Preventative steps for ice dams include adequate home insulation, sealed air leaks (especially in the attic), and a well-ventilated attic.
- About 3% of U.S. homeowner’s insurance claims are due to hail.
- Average claims cost $7,741.
- It is more difficult to prepare for a hailstorm, but maintenance can help. Inspections should be done every fall and repairs and replacements should be made where needed to avoid leaks.
- Hail-resistant asphalt shingles can be installed for those that live in places where hail is a frequent problem.
- Know your homeowner’s insurance. Hail and wind exclusions may apply so be sure you know what is and is not covered. After storms inspect your roof promptly and file claims right away.
- Average claims cost $7,479.
- Water damage from freezing and broken pipes is the biggest source of home damage.
- Leaks can quickly lead to mold growth if not taken care of promptly.
- Properly winterize pipes and take extra precautions if temperatures are dipping below freezing including letting faucets drip and opening cabinets.
- Preventative steps include keeping heat to at least 68 degrees or above and insulating exterior pipes and other pipes more exposed in basements and attics.
- Know where your main water shut off valve is located in case of a water emergency.
- Excessive rainfall, melting snow, or quick thaws can all cause unexpected flooding.
- Know your homeowner’s insurance. Some types of flooding may not be covered in your policy and may require additional coverage.
We can’t prevent winter storms, but we can do our best to get our homes winter-ready and make sure our home is adequately covered by insurance in the event of damages.
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