Tips for Handling Severe Cold Weather

Winston-Salem, NC 1/30/2014

Much of the country has experienced severe and sustained cold weather over the last few weeks, with snowfalls interspersed with periods of melting and freezing. This freezing and thawing process can wreak havoc on your home.

Here are some steps you can take to keep your home safe and to make insurance losses less likely during extended severe weather:

  • Keep sidewalks and entrances to your home free from snow and ice.
  • Watch for ice dams near gutter downspouts. Keep gutters free of leaves and debris so melting snow and ice can flow freely. Ice dams can cause water to build up and seep into your house.
  • Keep the house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 65 degrees will not keep the inside walls from freezing.
  • Identify the location for the main water shutoff in your home. Find out how it works in case you have to use it.
  • Open hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. Keeping water moving within the pipes will prevent freezing.
  • If you own a swimming pool and temperatures are expected to dip below freezing, run the pool pump at night to keep the water flowing through the pipes.
  • If you haven’t already, make sure all hoses are disconnected from outside spigots.
  • If your garage is attached to your house, keep the garage doors closed. The door leading to the house is probably not as well-insulated as an exterior door.
  • If ice forms on tree limbs, watch for dead, damaged or dangerous branches that could break and fall because of ice, snow or wind and damage your house, a car, or injure someone walking near your property.
  • If you use fireplaces, wood stoves and electric heaters, watch them closely and make sure they are working properly.
  • Remember to close the flue in your fireplace when you’re not using it.
  • If you have to leave your home on a trip, ask a neighbor to check the house regularly. If there is a problem with frozen pipes or water leakage, attending to it quickly could mean far less damage.
  • If you plan to be away for an extended period of time (or if temperatures are expected to remain below freezing), have the water system, including pool plumbing, have the water system drained by a professional to keep pipes from freezing or bursting.
  • If you discover that pipes are frozen, don’t wait for them to burst. Take measures to thaw them immediately, or call a plumber for assistance.
  • If your pipes burst, first turn off the water and then mop up spills. You don’t want the water to do more damage than it already has.
  • Call your agent or company as soon as you can. An insurance adjuster doesn’t need to see the spill before you take action. However, he or she will want to inspect any damaged items.
  • Make temporary repairs and take other steps to protect your property from further damage. Remove any carpet or furniture that can be further damaged from seepage.
  • Make a list of the damaged articles.
  • Save the receipts for what you spend—including additional living expenses if you must leave your home until repairs are completed—and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.
  • Standard homeowners policies will cover most of the kinds of damage that result from a freeze. For example, if house pipes freeze and burst or if ice forms in gutters and causes water to back up under roof shingles and seep into the house. You would also be covered if the weight of snow or ice damages your house.

    However, some policies do not cover backups in sewers and drains or flood damage, which can also happen in winter. To be covered for flooding, you need a policy from the National Flood Insurance Program, while coverage for sewers and drains is generally offered as an endorsement to a standard homeowners insurance policy.

    If your home suffers water damage, it is important to make sure that it is properly dried and repaired to prevent any potential problem with mold. 

  • Most importantly, contact our agency to make sure you have the proper coverage in place, or if you have specific questions regarding loss mitigation procedures related to severe weather. 

View All News Articles

What Our Customers Say!

"I saved time and money working with Fletcher Wilson. I will be a customer for life."

Justin Plummer, Crossfit Amplitude

Read what others have to say.

What's New

What You Should Know About Rental Car Insurance
2/1/2018
There are some very serious contractual gaps in coverage for rental vehicles. Even if you purchase their Collision Damage or Physical/ Loss Damage Waivers, many rental car contracts exclude the following:
  • Theft of the Vehicle
  • Tolling, or Turning the Vehicle Over
  • Lease Gap coverage
  • Loss of Use
  • Glass, Tire and Undercarriage Damage
  • Animal Collision
  • Flood and Hail Damage
  • Damage above the Windshield
  • Individuals who rent personal vehicles for extended periods and do not have a Personal Auto policy in force
  • Drivers who rent, and do not own another vehicle insured elsewhere, need to be expecially careful here
Read More »

 

The Five Costliest Traffic Tickets for Auto Insurance
1/15/2018

Those whirling blue lights in the rearview mirror usually mean just one thing: It's traffic ticket time. The worse the violation, the more your car insurance costs may rise because it's more likely you'll be considered a bigger risk to the insurer.  Rack up a combination of the nastiest violations plus a few accidents, and insurers may even refuse to cover you, says Loretta Worters, spokeswoman for the Insurance Information Institute, a trade group.

 
It boils down to matching the premium you pay to your risk as a customer, says State Farm spokesman Dick Luedke. "Sometimes you get lucky and violate (traffic laws) a lot and don't get caught, and sometimes you do it once, and you are caught," he says. "That's why we use all sorts of other things to measure risk as well." So it's tough to say how much your insurance premiums will rise per violation. Different insurers calculate premium costs differently, Worters says. With the help of experts, including J. Robert Hunter, insurance director for the Washington, D.C.-based Consumer Federation of America, we now identify what are considered the five worst traffic violations for your insurance bills:
Read More »

 

What Car Insurance Covers, and What it Doesn't...
1/1/2018

Understanding exactly what your car insurance covers is a crucial part of owning a vehicle, but experts say few consumers are fully informed on their auto policies. According to a 2012 survey by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), more than half of Americans don't know basic facts about auto insurance, and only 45% feel confident making decisions about it.

Here are six things you need to know about how well your car is protected:

Read More »