Common winter claims and ways to prepare

submitted by Rick Meyers, AAA Insurance Broker/Nichole Meyers, Richboro Office,

According to the Insurance Information Institute, winter storms caused $1.1 billion in insured losses in 2020, which was down from $2 billion in 2019. While the final 2021 number is not yet published, in just the first half of 2021, winter storms caused a record $15.1 Billion in damage!

The previous record was from the 1993 blizzard with $3.6 billon in damages in 2020 dollars. The most common claims arose from snow, ice, and freezing.

Top Insurance Claims:

  • Ice Dams – Melting and freezing snow on your roof can cause shingles to rise and water to leak inside of your home causing damage to ceilings and walls.
  • Roof and Siding Damage – Winds can blow siding and shingles off of your roof.
  • Falling Trees/Limbs – Obviously this can cause structural damage to your home/car, but also loss of power can affect refrigerated items which may be covered on your home policy. 
  • Frozen Pipes – Loss of power and heat, over a period of time, can cause water in pipes to freeze and burst. If you are going to be away – shutting off the water and draining your pipes is a good practice.
  • House Fire – Typically traced back to a secondary heating source, this can also occur from a neighbor in townhomes, condos and apartments.

Ways to be proactive:

  • Clean your gutters;
  • Insulate your pipes;
  • Trim back branches at least 3 to 5 feet from house and cars;
  • Inspect ducts and plumbing- look into a maintenance service contract with a HVAC company.

Review your Insurance Policy:

Most home insurance policies provide coverage for wind/hail and falling debris. Do you know you’re your coverage?

Roof coverage has changed over the years and knowing if you have Actual Cash Value Replacement Cost is important as this could result in a drastic difference in out-of-pocket expense as a result of a claim.

You may be eligible for a substantial discount on your Homeowners policy if you recently replaced your roof or any major plumbing, heating or electrically work, so shopping your policy after a project is also a good practice.

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