Triple-I: Mitigation Is Key to Reducing Winter Weather Risks

NEW YORK, Dec. 16, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- With winter arriving on Tuesday, Dec. 21, now is the time for most Americans to prepare for snow, ice and frigid temperatures, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I).

In the first half of 2021, winter weather caused $15.1 billion in insured losses, due primarily to a Feb.12-22 freeze that impacted Texas and a number of other states.

To protect residences and vehicles during the winter months, the Triple-I offers the following guidance.

Inside Your Home

  • Keep your home heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. This will help prevent pipes inside the walls from freezing
  • Open hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip. Keeping water moving within the pipes will help prevent freezing
  • Check that fireplaces, wood stoves, and electric heaters are working properly. Make sure there are no combustible items near heat sources
  • Keep your fireplace flue closed when it is not in use to prevent heat from escaping up through a chimney

Outside Your Home
The weight of snow and ice can damage a roof. Clogged gutters might allow water to seep into a house. Taking these steps should prevent potential hazards from occurring outside a home as snow and ice accumulate:

  • Keep sidewalks and entrances free from snow and ice so no one sustains an injury while walking
  • Watch for ice dams near gutter downspouts. Ice dams can cause water to build up and seep into a house
  • Clear gutters of leaves and debris to allow runoff from melting snow and ice to flow freely
  • Check for dead, damaged, or dangerous tree branches and have them removed. When stressed, branches can fall and damage a house or car, or injure a pedestrian

Insurance Coverage for Winter Losses
Standard homeowners insurance provides coverage for damage to property caused by wind, snow, severe cold and freezing rain. Property damage caused by flooding is not covered by either standard homeowners' or renters insurance policies.

Melting snow that seeps into a home, apartment or condominium from the ground up would be covered by flood insurance. It is provided by FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program and several private insurers.

An individual involved in an auto accident between two or more vehicles caused by snowy and slippery road conditions, or who crashes into an object like a light pole, is covered by a standard auto insurance policy. If a tree falls on a car and causes damage, or if it sustains flood damage, that is covered under the comprehensive portion of an auto policy. Nearly 80 percent of U.S. drivers carry this optional coverage. 

Filing a Claim
To file an insurance claim for winter weather damage to a home or auto, an individual should contact their insurance professional.  They will want to know the extent of the damage and ask the individual to document the loss with lists, receipts, and photographs. Having a home inventory is a good way to prepare for potential losses.

RELATED LINKS:
Triple-I VideoMinimizing Winter Weather Risks 

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