As we head into the winter months, many parts of this country will be covered and affected by snow and ice. It is important to be fully prepared in case of any winter disasters such as hail storms or flooding due to melting ice, to alleviate any stresses to yourself as a homeowner. A typical homeowner’s insurance policy will include protection due to ice-related damage, however there are things as a homeowner that you should keep in mind to protect your home. Some key protection factors that are important to remember are:
Hail can be seriously damaging to the roof and windows of your home. Most insurance policies include dwelling coverage, which may help protect your home against hail or other ice related incidences. However, hail can also cause damage to other parts of your property such as an unattached garage or shed. As these weather situations can occur at any time, it is a good idea to check with your insurance company as to what your policy entails before it happens.
Hail can also seriously damage your vehicle. This is a good time of year to get rid of anything unwanted and clear your garage of clutter so that you are able to park your vehicle inside.
Not only will you be certain that your vehicle will be safe and free of hail damage should a storm occur, but you will also get into a car free of snow and ice, making it easier on you.
During the coldest months of the year, ice can form and build up on your roof which can cause damaging problems. A roof collapse can occur when the roof can no longer bear the weight of the ice and snow on it. You may be able to prevent a roof collapse from happening by taking some preventative measures as a homeowner such as keeping your gutters clean and free of debris as well as snow and ice and removing snow and ice from your roof as needed. You could also hire a professional to clean the gutters and roof for you to ensure it is safe and that no damage will be caused to your home.
An ice dam can occur when ice forms on the edge of a roof and prevents any melting water from running off. When water gets blocked up against the ice dam, it may start to leak through the roof and cause water damage. However, some routine maintenance on your home can help prevent this kind damage.
Keeping your gutters clean and checking for any already possible ice dams so that water can flow freely, will help in preventing any destruction from an ice dam. Also ensuring that your attic is properly insulated and ventilated will prevent heat from inside the home escaping into the attic and causing the snow and ice on the roof to melt.
A roofing contractor will be able to provide these services to you.
Frozen and Burst Pipes
The risk of your pipes freezing and bursting increases when temperatures drop below freezing. At a temperature of 0 degrees, even for a short period, you run the risk of a pipe fracture or worse. To ensure your pipes do not freeze, it is important to properly maintain the temperature inside the house. A routine check of the pipes in the house is also a good way to ensure there is no potential for damage. Anywhere cold air blows on a pipe, it creates the ability for freezing. To make sure your pipes stay well insulated, close crawl space vents and stuff insulation over the openings. Be sure to fill in all cracks, as even a tiny hole can allow for a lot of cold air to blow in.
Ice Related Injuries
Ice on the ground can sometimes be difficult to see and can result in injury. Take preventative caution by keeping a bucket of salt or sand near any walkways, driveways and outdoor stairwells. Easy accessibility to these items will ensure that they get used. Salt melts the ice whereas sand does not. Sand is an abrasive material and therefore is usually applied to icy roads to provide traction at any temperature. Salt is not as effective in extreme cold, but sand is only effective if it is on the surface of the ice. Excessive amounts of these materials may end up collecting into the drainage areas, so a good clean up of sand and salt after a storm is important or you may have a problem when spring arrives. When it comes down to it, the best way to prevent ice building up is to keep the snow off your driveway or walkway so that it won’t compact and freeze. Be sure to keep a shovel nearby to use early and often.
Liability coverage typically comes with homeowners insurance. This type of insurance is beneficial if you are found legally responsible after someone has injured themselves on your property. As you prepare for another cold and sometimes nasty winter, take the time to call your insurance company and discuss the information regarding your insurance policy. This will help you to better understand your policy as well as make any changes you may need. You will have a better peace of mind throughout the season knowing these protections are in place.