According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), wind / hail damage is the highest type of property claim in terms of loss frequency. Water damage / freezing comes in second place on this not so good list. With this in mind, I want to give you some tips to prepare your property for the coming winter months so that you can minimize your chances of becoming a part of this statistic.
Ice, snow and wind can cause devastation. damage to your home. Fortunately, there are several preventative steps on the inside of your home before winter comes to avoid not only the cost but also the hassle that comes from a winter property requirement.
- Check the insulation of your property : If you emit too much heat from your home, it can cause the precipitation on the roof to melt and cool again. This leads to more ice build-up which can place significant weight on your roof as well as potential for ice ponds. Well-insulated basements and crawl spaces also help protect from frozen pipes.
- Maintenance of water pipes : Be sure to confirm that water pipes on attics, crawl spaces and exterior walls are protected with insulation over the pipes. You can also check for cracks and leaks in your pipes. Take the time to also confirm that the water pipes to the external taps are closed to prevent freezing.
- Get service on your heating system : Regular service helps you insulate yourself not only from the inconvenience of your system going out in the middle of winter but also the threat of an oven fire.
- Know your water shut-off locations : Speed is crucial if your pipes freeze. You have a much better chance of containing damage if you can quickly turn off the water to the pipe.
- Reserve power source : In the event of a power failure, continuous current will prevent frozen pipes. Consider buying a generator that will help you ensure safety and perfect temperatures inside your home.
On the outside of your home, proper preparation can also save trouble along the way.
- Clean gutter gutters and / or install gutter protection : Clean gutters allow snow and ice to flow freely. This helps prevent ice dusting, which occurs when water cannot drain out. This water can seep into your home or make the gutter so heavy that it collapses.
- Proper sealing of doors and windows : Taking the time to check your window and door seal can make your home more efficient by stopping cold air from entering. If these areas are cracked, seal them with window / door bolts.
- Repair steps and handrails : Everyone knows that slipping and falling become much more common when the temperature drops due to snow and ice. Take the time to make sure your steps and handrails are sturdy and do not need to be repaired.
Finally, while inspecting the exterior of your home, take the time to inspect and maintain the trees on your property. Look for low hanging branches near your house or road that may need to be trimmed. Confirm that trees on your property do not begin to rot and lose structural strength. This can help protect your home from damage as well as you from any liability to another for damage caused by a rotten tree. It does not matter if the tree or the limb comes from your property or someone else's property . This is because a windstorm is a natural act, there is nothing wrong. You want to confirm that you have insurance coverage to protect you against unforeseen losses like this.
What happens if there is evidence that a property owner has not acted reasonably to maintain a tree that caused damage to another property? Let's assume that a rotten tree on your neighbor's property falls on your property and causes damage that your insurance company can pay for. If your operator considers that a third party is responsible for the damage, it can first pay for your damage, but then also follow the responsible party (so-called subrogation). You can then get back all or all of your deductible after completing the subrogation measure. [i]
How does your home fit in with these preparations in mind? As a Malaysian proverb suggests, prepare the umbrella before it rains.
[i] Note that the standard for notifying a property owner of a potentially rotten tree varies from state to state. Some require a written notice to a property owner of a rotten tree, others oral and others do not need to be notified at all.
The information above is of a general nature and your insurance and coverage may differ from the examples. Read your insurance in its entirety to determine your available coverage.
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