Filing too many home insurance claims can cause your premiums to increase or a denial in future coverage. The number of claims often rises during winter months due to inclement weather. As a homeowner, consider ways to reduce homeowners insurance claims during winter. Here are a few.
1 – Be Diligent With Snow Removal
If someone slips and falls on your property, this can result in a claim against your homeowners insurance. Although slips and falls can happen at any time of year, they are more common during winter because of snow and ice. You can minimize these hazards by promptly shoveling snow from your driveway and walkways during/after a storm. Remember that Massachusetts law requires you to also shovel sidewalks around your home. Adding salt or sand to those surfaces is also important.
2 – Complete Safety Repairs
Another common source of personal injury are delayed home repairs. Uneven steps, loose hand railings, slippery surfaces, and walkway obstructions increase the chances of injury in and around your home. We often hear homeowners say that they knew about the problem but just hadn’t gotten around to fixing it yet. Unfortunately, this increases your liability as a property owner. It’s best to quickly address home repairs that involve safety.
3 – Beware of Ice Dams
Ice dams are a big issue after heavy snowfall. As snow melts from your roof, it often accumulates and refreezes along the edge of your roofline. That accumulation acts as a dam and blocks future melting from flowing off your roof. Instead, it seeps through your shingles and into your home. Water can flow along beams and down into all areas of your home, causing significant damage. To prevent this, you may need to shovel the show from the edges of your roof. For low lying roofs, you can purchase a special shovel from your local hardware store. For higher roofs, consider hiring a contractor.
4 – Frozen Pipes
Another huge winter home hazard is frozen pipes. As temperatures drop, ice can form in certain sections of pipe within your home and block the water flow. This can be within basements or anywhere in your living space. The water main going into your home exerts constant and high pressure within the pipes. A blockage can therefore cause pressure to build up, resulting in a burst. Water from the main line continuing to flow through the pipes can cause flooding in your home.
The best way to protect your home is to maintain a reasonable temperature inside. Whether you are at work or away on vacation, resist the urge to turn the heat down too low. Doing so may save you some money on heating expenses, but lead to a huge expense for flood damage. In basements, you can also add insulation around the water pipes, shielding them from the surrounding air.
Filing Homeowners Insurance Claims During Winter
Keep in mind that when filing homeowners insurance claims during winter, there may be some additional steps required. For instance, in the case of burst pipes, insurance companies may want to confirm that the heating system was working at the time of the incident. Failure to maintain a working system may cause problems with your claim. It is important to be able to demonstrate that you were not negligent or somehow contributed to the damages to your home. Also, be aware that not all damages are covered by your insurance, depending on the precise cause. Contact your insurance company to review what is and is not covered by your policy, when it comes to common homeowners insurance claims during winter.