Kadrie Insurance Agency

CONNECT

Address:

5724 Villa Drive
Shoreview, MN 55126

Phone:

651-785-9224

Fax/Other:

651-784-5960

Are You Ready for Old Man Winter? 

Winter may be a warm and cozy season inside your home: decorating for the holidays, entertaining guests, and snuggling on the couch with a good book in front of a warm fire. However, harsh weather can make winter a hazardous time of year.

Winter storms and cold waves caused $3.5 billion in insured losses in 2015, almost double the 10-year average. In the first half of 2016, another $2.3 billion in losses (only $1.5 billion inured) and 55 deaths were attributed to winter weather.1

Before the cold season arrives, or even if it’s already begun in your part of the country, it would be wise to take some basic maintenance steps to help prepare your home for the icy blasts of Old Man Winter.

Winterizing Checklist

  • Protect your pipes. Set the thermostat at a minimum of 65 degrees to ensure that temperatures inside the walls stay warm enough to prevent pipes from freezing. Install a pressure-release valve in the plumbing system to keep pipes from bursting in freezing temperatures. Most important, know how to shut off your water; quick action could reduce the amount of damage if your pipes do freeze.
  • Add insulation. A well-insulated attic will help keep warm air from escaping through the roof, which can cause a dangerous cycle in which ice or snow melts and refreezes, potentially leading to ice dams or even a roof collapse. Adding insulation to basements, crawl spaces, and unfinished garages also makes it less likely that pipes will freeze and burst.
  • Consider fire safety. Have furnaces, fireplaces, and chimneys inspected and cleaned to help prevent fires; installing a chimney screen may keep animals, birds, or debris from entering your chimney. Wood stoves and space heaters should also be checked for defects. Make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide indicators are working, and keep a fire extinguisher handy.
  • Maintain walkways. Repair broken sidewalks, steps, and banisters, and install new handrails where appropriate. Removing snow is hard work, but it’s essential for safety. Have a snow shovel and rock salt on hand so walkways and steps remain clear and dry.
  • Trim trees. Remove dead branches to reduce the risk that ice, snow, or wind will cause them to break and fall. Heavy tree limbs could cause significant damage to your roof or car; even worse, they could injure someone on your property.
  • Clear gutters. Remove all debris and muck from the gutters to help prevent ice dams, which can cause water to seep into the house. Consider adding gutter guards to block leaves from entering gutters in the first place.

A Protective Blanket
Fortunately, standard homeowners insurance policies cover damage (up to policy limits) caused by many major winter-related problems, including burst pipes, ice dams, wind, and fire. They also help provide coverage for liability claims resulting from personal injuries suffered by others on your property.

However, a standard policy by itself might be insufficient for your needs. Insurance for sewer backups may be included in some policies or available as an endorsement. Coverage for flooding typically must be obtained separately.

Although you cannot control the weather, you can help protect your home and family. Once you've winterized your home, you might feel more at ease when you settle down by the fire with that book.

1) Insurance Information Institute, 2016

 

The information in this article is not intended as tax or legal advice, and it may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. You are encouraged to seek tax or legal advice from an independent professional advisor. The content is derived from sources believed to be accurate. Neither the information presented nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. This material was written and prepared by Emerald. Copyright 2016 Emerald Connect, LLC.