As the holidays swiftly approach and we begin welcoming family and friends to our home for small
gatherings (according to state and local Covid-19 safety guidelines) it’s important we take appropriate
care of our homes. Many of us are finding time together with loved ones and friends outdoors on decks,
patios and driveways to do our part in staying safe during the pandemic. If you’ve not winterized your
property yet for the winter season now is the time! Cold weather means risk to your property if the
appropriate actions aren’t taken. Common winter-related home insurance claims include freezing water
pipes, unexpected power outages, gutter ice damming, and slip and fall injuries.
If your pipes in basements and garages are exposed to colder temperatures it’s important to apply foam
pipe sleeves or heating cables to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting during cold spells. Disconnect
all garden hoses, shut off outdoor valves and drain any water left in outdoor faucets. Lastly, if your
home has a lawn irrigation system, be sure it is properly drained and closed for the season.
Power outages are never fun, but a winter power outage can be very dangerous. Extreme weather
conditions like blizzards and heavy snow storms can interrupt power supplies. A generator can help
restore temporary power during power outages and must be used safely. It is extremely important that
a running generator is kept several feet away from the home to avoid dangerous fumes from entering
the home. It is also important to keep warm clothing and blankets close by in addition to water and
non-perishable food.
After winter storms snow and ice will melt from the roof and may cause icicles and ice dams to form. An
ice dam is dangerous and can cause water leaks into your home, ultimately causing water damage. Each
year there are countless insurance claims from ice dams. If you notice icicles, this is an indication that
there could be dam in your gutter. Carefully remove the icicle as it could be dangerous on its own and
use a roof rake clear off as much snow as possible. Prevention is key and waiting too long to remove
snow will allow time for it to melt and have nowhere to go. This tends to result in water getting under
the roof shingles and into your home.
Lastly, be sure to keep your driveways and walkways clear and dry. With several people coming and
going in our driveways, including delivery personnel, we don’t want anyone to slip and fall, which will
not only hurt, but can be a cause for an unintended insurance liability claim! Remove snow and use safe
ice melt materials to keep ice from forming and causing black ice.
With a little care and caution this holiday season we can prevent winter related insurance claims and
also keep our homes, friends, families and neighborhoods safe this year!