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 a record $15 billion in insured losses in 2021. The most common claim arose from wind and hail, while water damage and freezing also caused damage.

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 branches/limbs, leaving three to five feet between house and cars;
  • Inspect ducts and plumbing- look into a maintenance service contract with a HVAC company

Review your Insurance Policy:

  • You may be eligible for a substantial discount on your Homeowners policy if you recently replaced your roof, or have completed any major plumbing, heating or electrical updates, so reviewing your policy after a project is a good practice;
  • ‘Actual Cash Value’ and ‘Replacement Cost’ coverage impact how a payout is calculated. (Actual Cash Value = Replacement Cost – Depreciation);
  • A deductible is the amount of money that one is responsible for paying toward an insured loss;
  • Roof/Siding “Matching” Coverage – Essentially this means that if you have a partial loss, and your siding or shingles are no longer made, and the materials cannot be matched, the policy will cover the cost to replace your entire roof or redo your siding.  

Feeling comfortable and understanding the above areas of your policy can help avoid shock should you face a loss!

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