With a relatively mild autumn in many parts of the country, now is a good time to take steps to winter-proof your home and make sure that you have the right type and amount of insurance, according to the Insurance Information Institute(I.I.I.).
Standard homeowners and renters policies cover winter-related disasters such as burst pipes, ice dams and wind damage caused by weight of ice or snow, as well as fire-related losses. Coverage for flooding is available from the National Flood Insurance Program and from some private insurance companies.
Flooding related to snow melting can overburden sewer systems, causing raw sewage to back up into the drains in your home. Backed up sewers can wreak havoc, causing thousands of dollars in damage to floors, walls, furniture and electrical systems. Sewer back-up is not covered under a typical homeowners or renters insurance policy, nor is it covered by flood insurance. This type of coverage must be purchased either as a separate product or as an endorsement.
Water damage and freezing account for almost 22 percent of all homeowners insurance claims, and average $4,024 per claim, according to the I.I.I. In fact, winter storms are the third-largest cause of catastrophe losses, behind only hurricanes and tornadoes, causing $1.9 billion in insured losses in 2013, up dramatically from $38 million in 2012, according to Munich Re. From 1993 to 2012 winter storms resulted in about $28 billionin insured catastrophe losses (in 2012 dollars), or more than $1 billion a year on average, according to Property Claim Services (PCS).
The 2015 Farmers' Almanac predicts "copious amounts of snow and rain" over the eastern third of the country. In fact, along the Atlantic Seaboard active wintry weather is expected for the first 10 days of January and the first week of February with bouts of heavy snow and strong winds
The I.I.I. and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) offer the following tips to prepare your home for the upcoming winter:
Outside Your Home
For more information on preparing your home against damage from Mother Nature, go to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.