Cold weather is a bully and it will seriously expose the vulnerabilities in your home and launch its nasty attack. When extreme cold temperatures hit, so do the insurance claims. The cold weather can wreak havoc in the property insurance world because the claims that come in are usually spread throughout a very large portion of the country which means there is not a “pocket” of damage like we see when tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes or flooding occurs.
Winter’s cold weather claims naturally target homes that have a weaknesses and swallows them up as victims. This sounds like something from a horror movie but, if you think about it, this is true. When the extreme cold comes in, these deficiencies in your home become exploited and those vulnerable pieces are tested to the limits. The pipes that are not insulated well could freeze and burst, a small void in your fireplace might cause an ember to escape causing a fire, or it could be an electrical issue. Regardless of the weakness, old man winter is going to find it.
Here is a list of several areas that may be cause for concern:
• If you have plumbing in your attic or crawlspace, you need to make sure the pipes are adequately insulated.
• If the electrical system is not designed to handle the stress extreme cold causes, you may need an upgrade.
• If the home is not insulated well, additional areas of insulation may be a good idea.
These suggestions may be costly. Therefore, if you are unable to address them you may need to leave the water dripping, make sure your fireplace is functioning properly, and do your best not to stress the electrical components of the home.
Probably one of the biggest risks during winter storm season is the buildup from snow and ice. These perils are a threat to those big tree limbs overhanging the home which could break off causing major damage to the home. If you happen to escape winter this year without a limb falling on your house, consider yourself lucky and get those trees trimmed before the next storm season. You could also sustain damage from ice damning (buildup of ice accumulating at the bottom edge of roof). When the snow melts from the top, the damning causes a water back up under the shingles and into your home. Ice damns occur when the weather warms or heat from the attic space causes melting.
If old man winter does target you and cause damage to your home, you need to strongly consider using a public adjuster to comb through all damages and present this in the best possible way to your insurance company. By design, this should increase your chances for a fair settlement.
In summary, if you live in an area where it tends to get a lot of snow accumulation, consult with a roofer to devise a plan that is right for your home to reduce the risk of ice buildup on your home. Your house can handle the cold bully as long as you know where it may attack.
by Roy Young, PA