How to Keep Your Insurance Costs from Rising?
Winters in Northeast and Midwest can be long with temperatures ranging from mildly to bitterly cold. Losses from snow, ice and freezing temperatures have averaged about $1.2 billion a year and maybe double that amount if the winter is harsh and long. While our agents are here to help our clients with any claim needs; we also want to help clients avoid winter damage to their home. Following are some of the useful tips for homeowners to keep in mind during the winter months.
- Clean out gutters so melting snow and ice can flow freely. It allows water to drain freely and preventing it from permeating in the house.
- Install gutter guards to prevent debris from entering the gutter and interfering with the flow of water.
- Trim trees and remove dead branches. Ice and snow can sometimes become very heavy and could cause weak trees or branches to break free and damage your home.
- Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations to prevent cold air and moisture from entering your home.
How to Avoid Freezing Pipes & Water Damage
- Keep the house warm. Set the thermostat no lower than 65 degrees.
- During super harsh cold weather, turn on faucets so that a trickle of water continues running through the pipes.
- Install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system. This will protect the system against increased pressure caused by freezing pipes and can help prevent your pipes from bursting.
- Add extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. If too much heat escapes through the attic, it can cause snow or ice to melt on the roof. Water then can refreeze, leading to more ice build-up—and even ice dams that can damage your roof.
- Flooding related to melting snow can cause sewer systems to overflow; hence causing raw sewage to back up into the drains in your home. Some carriers offer water & sewer backup coverage. This coverage is not part of the typical homeowner’s insurance policy, but may be purchased as an endorsement.
- Install a Backwater Prevention Valve. A backwater valve is a fixture installed into a sewer line, and sometimes into a drain line, in the basement of your home or business to prevent sewer backflows.
- Sewer backup is NOT covered with flood insurance. Flood Insurance is a separate policy available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Flood insurance covers floods from tidal surge and overflowing bodies of water.
Wood Stoves & Fireplaces
- Remove combustible items placed near any hart sources. This includes wood stoves and space heaters.
- Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Not only do residential fires increase in the winter, but so does carbon monoxide poisoning—so check that your detectors are in working condition on a regular basis.
- Furnaces, boilers, and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year to prevent fire and smoke damage.
What’s in Your Policy?
Most homeowners insurance policies have a deductible that the insured is responsible for paying. And if the claim exceeds the policy’s limits, the insured could be responsible for additional costs. Licensed agents with Pathak Insurance will review homeowner policies at no charge. Winter damage could cause insurmountable damage, so it is important to make sure the right coverages are in place.