How to protect your house from costly winter weather damage

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  • In the first few months of 2021, the winter season generated a record $15.1 billion in insured losses.
  • While homeowners insurance may cover weather-related damages, you will still be responsible for your deductible.
  • There are a few things homeowners can do to avoid costly repairs.

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This is a great time to make sure your home is ready to show off Old Man Winter.

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Whether it is snow, ice, cold or floods, winter weather can cause many headaches for homeowners. And if you’re in a new home that you’re still getting to know, it’s especially worth taking steps to make sure you’re ready.

“There are a lot of people who will be entering winter as homeowners for the first time,” said senior underwriting manager Steve Wilson. insurer hippo, “They probably wouldn’t have thought about how to save on this huge investment.”

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Sometimes, problems that arise are preventable. And even though homeowners insurance will typically cover weather-related damage, you’ll still be responsible for paying your deductible—which can range anywhere from $500 to several thousand dollars or more.

In the first few months of 2021, winter weather caused Record $15.1 billion in insured lossesAccording to the Insurance Information Institute. Most of the claims stemmed from the February storms, which affected a large area of ​​the US, particularly Texas. For the whole of 2020, the winter season accounted for $1.1 billion in insurance claims.

Here are some tips to help you avoid costly pitfalls down the road.

clog frozen pipe

When water freezes, it expands, which can put a lot of pressure on your plumbing. Sometimes it even bursts the pipe.

According to the home management website Thumbtack.com, it can cost from $400 to more than $1,500 to fix a torn water pipe, depending on the amount of damage or the need for repair.

You may be familiar with the recommendation to let your faucet drip during cold weather. Even if you do, make sure you know where your water shut-off valve is located if you need it, according to Hippo.

Additionally, it is worth insulating your water pipes if your water pipes are not already wrapped. Make sure to also disconnect your external hose or sprinkler system and blow out those pipes, Wilson said.

And even if you’ll be away from home for an extended time, be sure to set the heat to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, Wilson said.

protecting your roof

According to Hippo, in freezing temperatures, ice dams can form when snow or ice on your roof melts and freezes again, blocking drains and potentially weakening your roof. Snow and hail can bring moisture behind your shingles, which can lead to leakage.

There are ways to try to prevent this from happening. If you are able to remove snow from your roof, it is worth doing so. You can buy a roof rake for this purpose at a hardware store, Wilson said.

The danger in winter is snow, as trees or branches become very heavy and are more likely to fall, especially if they are dead.
Steve Wilson
Senior Underwriting Manager at Hippo

Additionally, make sure your attic is not only insulated but ventilated as well. This helps prevent your roof from getting so hot that snow can melt on it when the air temperature is too low.

Also make sure your gutters are clear of debris. And if there are trees with dead limbs that could potentially land on your roof, have them removed before the snow or icy weather hits.

“The danger in winter is snow, because trees or branches become very heavy and are more likely to fall, especially if they are dead,” Wilson said.

your fireplace

While wood-burning fireplaces add warmth and comfort to a home, they must be well maintained to avoid chimney fires.

Make sure nothing is blocking the flue, and remove soot and debris, Hippo recommends. Have a professional inspect your chimney for any cracks, loose bricks and missing mortar joints. If problems are found, get them fixed immediately.

your heating system

While winter weather will not directly cause your furnace to fail, having it stop working during a cold winter or a major storm can create an unstable situation.

“It could be $50 or $100 for someone to inspect you” [heating] system,” Wilson said.

The bottom line, Wilson said, is that being proactive in preparation for extreme weather can save you money in the long run.

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