Common Claims During Winter
Colder weather is just on the horizon. The winter months bring a spike in unique insurance claims, from frozen pipes to structural issues. Here’s what you need to know about the most common claim types during the winter months:
Unsurprisingly, one of the most common insurance claims in the winter arise from snow and ice accumulation on the roof. Depending on how long the snow has sat on your roof and temperature fluctuations, the weight on your roof can change multiple times, creating a potentially dangerous situation. Packed snow is significantly heavier than new flurries, so you may have more snow accumulating on your roof than you realize. Even two feet of packed snow can create structural issues that create failures or collapse.
To avoid this common type of claim, consider hiring a professional to shovel or rake your roof off regularly. During the autumn months, look for dead limbs and leaves, and consider removing any unhealthy trees from your yard that could pose a danger to your roof in a storm.
In the wintertime, exterior problems can quickly become interior ones through ice dams. These icicles result from improper drainage of your gutters and cause snow and water to drain into your ceilings and walls, instead. This can quickly lead to property damage, wood rot, and other structural concerns. Arrange for a gutter cleaning in the early fall months to avoid water damage to your interior spaces.
When the winter temperatures start to filter in, frozen pipes become a compelling concern for many homeowners. Frozen pipes can expand and burst if not properly treated, leading to costly repairs. Burst pipes are more likely to occur on unoccupied property, such as vacation homes. Uninsulated pipes or additions to a home without access to the heating system may also be vulnerable. To reduce your risk of burst pipes, turn off the water supply to all vacation homes and make sure that heat reaches all corners of your home.
Due to the increased use of the heating system, house fires are statistically more common in the winter months. These can also arise from unattended use of electric blankets, space heaters, and dirty ductwork. Outdated electrical systems or overloading the circuits with holiday decorations or lights may also be to blame. To reduce your risk of a house fire claim, make sure your electrical work is up to code, and only use space heaters or electric blankets according to manufacturer specifications.
Many insurance companies see an uptick in auto claims from icy road conditions. Motor vehicle accidents in the winter happen because of slick roads and poor visibility. Auto collisions aren’t reserved for crashes involving other cars – motorists may strike property and cause damage to a home or the surrounding structures, as well.
Unique Considerations for Homeowner’s Insurance Claims
Filing a homeowner’s insurance claim in the winter can bring certain challenges. For example, when a frozen pipe leads to extensive property damage, you must be able to show that your heating systems were functioning properly, and that you maintained them periodically. In many cases, you may have to prove an issue occurred despite proper care.
Unfortunately, many insurance companies can take advantage of a homeowner’s lack of knowledge surrounding the claims process and deny legitimate claims in bad faith. If you submit a claim to an insurance company and receive a claim denial, you could still have viable grounds for a claim. Bad faith insurance attorneys hold companies liable for their actions and ensure they comply with the established terms of coverage.