What insurance risks should you be aware of this winter season?

What do you need to know about winter insurance claims?

Each season of the year brings its own unique challenges. Whether it's icy winter storms or summer heat waves, there is nearly always something homeowners must protect their homes against through their insurance coverage. For winter in particular, the Insurance Information Institute found that the percentage of winter-related homeowner insurance claims for 2014 was more than double the average for the previous 20 years.

To protect your home this upcoming snowy season, here are two of the most common insurance claims you'll want to know about:

"There are steps you can take to prevent frozen pipe damage."

Frozen pipes
One of the biggest causes of water damage in the home is frozen pipes, according to Insurance.com. Frequently, homeowners will travel for the winter holidays (forgetting to turn off their water) and return home to find their basement flooded due to a burst, frozen pipe. While this is common, there are steps you can take to prevent frozen pipe damage while you are at home as well. Some of these include:

  • As a last resort, let cold water trickle from faucets when it's really cold outside.
  • Better, keep your thermostat at 60 degrees or higher.
  • Drain and disconnect exterior hose lines.
  • Apply heat tape to copper/metal pipes and/or pipe insulation to non-metal pipes.
  • Close garage doors to trap in heat.

Hail damage
Unfortunately hail storms occur, and when they do, they bring the potential for extensive roof damage. After any storm, inspect your roof to locate any holes or weaknesses that could lead to water damage later on. It's important to file your claim sooner, rather than later.

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