Winter Insurance Claims

The Most Popular Winter Insurance Claims

Many hazards occur from the weather during the winter months. In the first half of 2021, winter storms caused a record $15.1 billion in insured losses. We are going to cover the most popular claims and how to help prevent them this winter.

Frozen pipes:

Frozen water inside pipes can cause the entire pipe to burst, which can result in water damage and mold. During 2021, burst pipes cost insurers an estimated $18 billion in home and business damages, with the average claim ranging from $10k-$20k.

If you know that you are going to be away from your home during cold weather, be sure to turn off your water and drain your pipes. When the weather is coldest, you should keep the faucet dripping. It is also smart to insulate exposed pipes, such as pipes in the basement or attics. If your pipes freeze, turn off the water immediately and use a heating pad or hair dryer to thaw the frozen water.

Reminder: For accidental water damage claims to be approved, homeowners are responsible for taking steps to help lower the risk.

Ice dams on the roof:

Ice dams occur when ice forms on the edge of your roof, blocking melted snow from falling away. The cycle of snow melting and refreezing can eventually cause water leaks and damage to your home.

Even though most homeowners’ policies cover ice damming, there are a few ways to help prevent it. Add extra insulation to your roof so the inside heat can help melt the ice. This can be done by patching spots where warm air could escape or by hiring a professional to inspect the roof. After a storm, take a rake to clear as much of the snow off the roof as possible, even if it is just from the gutter line. Do not climb on top of your roof to clear the snow.

Falling tree branches:

Large tree branches that extend over your home could possibly cause problems during the winter months. The weight of the ice will cause the limb to snap and the weight from the ice and branch will crash into your roof.

If an icy branch falls on your roof and causes damage, dwelling coverage should cover these damages. However, if branches fall onto a fence or shed, “other structures coverage” will cover the damages. To avoid damage from falling debris, be sure to keep an eye on branches and trim back any limbs that are hanging over your structures.

House Fires

The Holiday Season is notorious for house fires. Thanksgiving is the leading holiday for cooking fires with Christmas and Christmas Eve closely following. Holiday lights and space heaters are also common causes of house fires.

Typically, your homeowner’s insurance will cover the damages from an accidental fire. However, to help prevent a house fire you should monitor the following:

  • Make sure flammable materials are cleared away from heaters, lights, and radiators.
  • If you lose power, use flashlights instead of candles as a light source.
  • Keep Christmas trees hydrated so they don’t dry out and become fire hazards.
  • Never use your stove to heat your home.
  • Install a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace and have a professional chimney sweep clean it once a year.
Wind and Hail Damage

Wind and hail are extreme winter forces that should be taken seriously. After a hailstorm, it is smart to inspect your roof and home for any type of damage. If you wait until damages show themselves (i.e. a leaky roof), you may not be able to be paid for the claim. The average wind and hail claim is $10,800 and makes up 34% of home insurance losses. Be sure to check your homeowners’ policy to see if wind and hail are covered.

Review your Insurance Policy

It is important to review your insurance policy and update any documents, including photos, to reflect the state of your home before the winter months. By reviewing your homeowner’s policy, you will be able to refresh your understanding of what is included in your policy and what further steps you may need to take to make sure you are protected through the winter.

If you have any questions about your current policy or would like to request a quote, call us at (972) 490-8800 or visit our website


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