The fall color is in full bloom in many parts of the country. But this beautiful display is a harbinger of winter, shepherding in colder weather once the leaves drop. While many people love the winter months, taking precautions to protect your property during wintry weather is still important. Learn how to prepare for winter with this handy guide for your home and car.
How to Prepare for Winter 2023
If you live in a part of the US that sees freezing temperatures in winter, you may have already started preparing for the colder months. But if not, our guide will help you prepare for wintertime and help protect your home and vehicle from the damaging effects of ice, wind, and snow.
Share these winter preparedness tips with your policyholders, neighbors, and community — and follow them yourself to help stay safer this year.
Prepare Your Home For Severe Winter Weather
Your home is likely your most expensive asset. Make sure you protect it from cold weather by winterizing it and having the proper insurance coverage in place before freezing temperatures strike.
Follow these home preparation tips:
- Hire a professional to inspect your furnace, chimney, and flue before use every year.
- Add insulation, caulk, and weather stripping to exterior doors, walls, and windows.
- Handle any last-minute outdoor maintenance before it is too cold.
- Trim branches that overhang your roof. These may snap from the weight of ice and snow, causing damage to structures.
- Check the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Clear gutters of debris and install snow guards to help prevent ice dams on your roof.
- Assess your pipes and insulate them or wrap them to prevent pipe bursts.
- Store firewood away from your home and other structures to reduce fire risk.
- Consider installing a smart home water sensor to help you track, detect, and stop water leaks.
After taking these physical steps to protect your property from damage, it’s time for an insurance review. Read your policy, conditions, and exclusions to know what to do if damage occurs. Check your coverage limits, especially if anything significant has changed since the last renewal. Talk with your agent now if you need to make changes.
As an agent, you can use this time to connect with your policyholders to talk through these winter risk reduction tips — and do a policy review. The changing seasons bring different risks and worries for your insureds, so it is the perfect time to discuss how to protect against these risks.
Prepare Your Vehicle for Winter Driving
Driving in icy and near-freezing conditions can be challenging. Your vehicle must be up to the task and ready to handle cold-weather hazards.
- Swap your summer tires for winter ones. If you aren’t using winter tires, make sure yours still have sufficient tread and take time to inflate them properly.
- Have a mechanic do a winter check-up on your vehicle to assess it and make any necessary repairs.
- Check fluids, windshield wiper blades, and your heat/defrost functions.
- Test your battery and replace it if necessary. Winter conditions can be harsh for your battery life.
- Pack an emergency kit in your car with essentials like bottled water, non-perishable food, an ice scraper, first aid items, blankets, flares, a flashlight, and sand or kitty litter for traction.
- Brush up on winter driving with a driver safety course. Find one online or ask your insurance company for a recommendation.
- During colder weather, keep your gas tank topped off.
- Practice defensive driving and stay off the roads when severe storms are coming.
Take time to review your auto coverage, especially if you have had the same limits and insurance company for several renewals. Make sure your limits are still sufficient. If you have had any changes to drivers, vehicles, or residents in your household, make sure to notify your insurer.
As an agent, you can use this time to proactively communicate winter driving suggestions and safety tips to your policyholders. Consider reaching out to your clients annually to offer a complimentary policy review. This can help to ensure your policyholders have adequate coverage even through life changes.
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