Every season has its ups and downs. But for those with residences and properties in more northerly climates, the changing seasons bring unique challenges—and risks. Winter storms mean rain, snow, hail, ice, high winds, extreme cold or any combination of conditions.
In 2015 alone, winter storms caused an estimated $3.5 billion in insured losses, nearly $1 billion more than the previous year. With severe weather increasing globally, storm preparedness—especially winter storm preparedness—has become essential for property owners.
Preparing your residence
Here are some steps you can take to prepare your residence for the uncertainty of winter weather.
Outside Your Home
Check and maintain gutters
Prevent ice dams by clearing gutters, so rain, melting snow, and ice can flow freely.
Trim trees and remove dead branches
Winter weather can cause weak trees or branches to break and damage your home or car, or injure someone on your property. Contact a certified arborist to check for diseased or damaged trees.
Repair steps, masonry and handrails
Water, ice, and snow can work into cracked foundations or broken pavement and can cause damage. Broken stairs and banisters can become dangerous when covered with snow and ice. Contact your contractor to conduct a thorough check. Seal cracks and holes in outside walls, foundations, and steps. Make sure handrails are secured.
Inside Your Home
Keep the house warm
Set the thermostat for at least 65 degrees—since the temperature inside the walls, where the pipes are located, is substantially colder a lower temperature will not keep the pipes from freezing. Have the heating system serviced. Furnaces, boilers, and chimneys should be serviced at least once a year to prevent fire and smoke damage.
Prevent cold air infiltration
Use caulking to seal around any wall openings to prevent cold air and moisture from entering your home. Caulk and install weather stripping around windows and doors to prevent warm air from leaking out and cold air from blowing in.
Insulate attics, basements, and crawl spaces
Older homes often lack sufficient insulation. If too much heat escapes through the attic, it can cause snow or ice to melt on the roof and lead to ice dams. Properly insulated basements and crawl spaces will also help protect pipes from freezing.
Obtain reliable back-up power
Winter storms often bring power outages. In the event of a power loss, a reliable power supply can be the difference between a frozen or burst pipe and possible flooding, and a minor inconvenience. Consider purchasing a portable generator and follow installation and maintenance steps to ensure safe operation, or contact your contractor and electrician about having an automatic, hard-wired generator installed and maintained.
Most winter damage comes from water. Pipes in attics and crawl spaces should be protected with insulation or heat. It’s also a good idea to consider leak detection and emergency water shutoff systems.
Source: Insurance Information Institute, OSHA
When it comes to protecting your properties, it is important to work with your insurance provider to make sure that you are covered—and that the coverage matches the risk. At Provider Group, we specialize in serving clients like you, and have developed a comprehensive and consultative approach that looks beyond simple charts and tables.
By getting to know each client—and each client’s specific needs—we are able to craft specialized solutions to help you protect your homes and other valuable assets, and provide piece of mind.
About our Private Client Group
The Private Client Group was established to meet the complex insurance needs of high net worth, ultra-high net worth, and families. Our approach is holistic—we not only take into consideration our clients’ personal assets, but their family, business, lifestyle and philanthropic interests as well.
For more information, contact Kerry Tyrrell, Director of the Private Client Group, at 781-726-7126 or email@example.com.