Wintertime claims are prevalent for homeowners across the country as cold weather descends on many parts of the US. And even those who live in warmer climates aren’t immune to losses as many residents travel for the holidays and leave their homes unattended. Find out more about these seasonal wintertime claims — and how you can help your policyholders avoid them this year.
Help Homeowners Avoid Wintertime Claims
Wintertime claims can be expensive and time-consuming for homeowners to manage, especially during the busy holiday and year-end season. Here are some tips to share with your insureds to help them lower their risk of a wintertime claim this season:
Frozen pipes may burst and cause water damage.
A significant concern of many homeowners who live in cold climates is the risk of frozen pipes. Frozen pipes can burst and cause leaks that quickly add up to expensive damage for unlucky homeowners. Some leaks can be difficult to detect, which can cause more damage over time.
Leaving homes unattended for long periods can be risky.
Lots of people travel for the holidays and leaving a home vacant while out of town invites risk. Unoccupied homes can make attractive targets for thieves. Damage can also occur because a homeowner or other occupant isn’t there to mitigate risks. For example, if a pipe burst in an unoccupied home, it could do many thousands of dollars of damage before anyone is aware. But when someone is staying in the home, they would likely notice the damaged pipe and contain the leak before massive damage can occur.
Visitors may slip and fall on icy walkways or steps.
Snow and ice can build up quickly in the wintertime and make driveways, walkways, and steps dangerous. A visitor who slips and falls on the homeowner’s property could make a claim for medical payments or liability.
Roofs may leak due to snow and ice.
Ice dams form at the edge of a roofline when ice backs up and prevents snow from melting off the roof. The snow that backs up can melt and get trapped by the dam, causing leaks into the home. Ice dams occur naturally and can cause expensive damage to roofs and homes. Moisture can cause mold and mildew, even if there is no leak.
Tips for Homeowners to Help Prevent Wintertime Claims
Share these tips — along with your favorite wintertime advice — to help your policyholders avoid losses this winter:
- Prepare the home for times when it will be empty and consider asking a friend or house sitter to stop by and check on the home. If a home will be vacant for a long period, check the insurance coverage conditions and exclusions.
- Check the fireplace, furnace, vents, and other components of the heating system before use, and keep current on maintenance.
- Open cabinet doors to plumbing and turn faucets on a slow drip to help avoid frozen pipes. Add insulation to pipes before the winter season hits.
- Stay on top of removing snow and ice from the driveway, walkways, and steps. Use sand or salt as needed to keep pathways safe.
- Consider installing a water leak sensor. Some devices can alert the homeowner if there is a leak and shut off the water to mitigate further losses.
- Remove snow and ice from roofs and prevent ice dams from forming.
Become a Member of the American Agents Alliance For More Tips
Join the American Agents Alliance for more helpful resources like this blog, in addition to valuable member discounts to help run your agency. We have been empowering independent agents and brokers to thrive since 1962 — become a member today and see how we can help you!