Cold temperatures, snow, ice and other winter hazards might wreak havoc on a local area. Property damage frequently arises from winter storms. Following damage, many homeowners turn to their property insurance to help repair damage.
However, you don’t want to file a claim unless you have to. It’s often best to prepare your property to withstand winter weather before it strikes. Certain steps can help you lessen the chances that your home will sustain severe damage during winter weather.
Preparing Ahead for Winter Weather
Many of us in the northeast have become used to winter storms this time of year. We know to prepare ahead in order to ride out the storm with the knowledge that a home is secure. Property integrity can bring you great peace of mind during winter weather.
- Keep an eye on developing weather conditions. If the forecast begins to call for heavy snow, ice, wind or even rain, you should know how long you have to prepare.
- You might need to buy certain provisions beforehand. This may include:
- Wood for the fireplace
- A space heater
- An electrical generator
- Non-perishable food like bread, dry goods and canned fruit or vegetables
- A supply of water for drinking, cooking, bathing or sanitary purposes
- Candles or flashlights for power outages
- Ice melt and surface protectors for outdoor items
- If you have exposed water pipes in the home, ensure they don’t freeze. Wrap these pipes, and leave a slow stream of water dripping from faucets.
- Check your heating system and furnace for signs of deterioration. You should have the system inspected at least annually and repaired as necessary. It will likely see a lot of use during the storm, and you don't want to overburden it. Sometimes, using other methods of heat like electric blankets, space heaters and fireplaces can reduce the burden on the HVAC system.
- If you plan to use the fireplace, make sure the chimney is clean. Do not build a fire if there’s a chance for a blocked flue or other debris contamination.
- Cut and dispose of any dead foliage, especially tree branches, near the property. This can keep branches from falling onto and damaging the home or other structures.
- Inspect the home’s foundations and roofing. If the structural integrity of either item becomes compromised, it might allow moisture, pests or other damage into the home.
During a winter storm, it is a good idea to take periodic walks around the home’s interior to look for signs of damage. Don’t attempt to go outside to survey the property until after the danger has passed.
If your home sustains significant damage, don’t wait to contact your home insurance agent. The agent can help you determine if your policy will cover the damage, and tell you how to document the claim. If you have questions about your coverage, our website can offer more information or call 800-286-6353.