Winter Is Coming – Is Your Insurance In Place?

Winter storms caused insured losses of $2.1 billion  in 2019 as against $3 billion in 2018. One out of 15 homes raises a claim every year in these colder months. Winter damages, snowfall, and blizzards are a major factor in insurance calculations each year.

For small businesses and individuals alike, indirect damages due to extremes of climatic conditions, as well as the risks of theft in closed shops, make it all the more necessary to see if your insurance is in place. From property to car damage coverage, you do need to double-check your insurance before winter sets in. 

What are some common insurance claims in winter?

In places with high snowfall, property damage is among the top claims. Tree branches tend to break due to heavy snowfall and fall on the roofs and windows, causing moderate to severe damage. You may already have the insurance to repair such damage on your property. But what if the branches damage your neighbor’s property? 

Let get an idea of some of these common damages that increase the need for insurance in winter. 

Domestic fires

Fire breakouts can occur due to many factors. In winter, fire accidents are quite frequent because of short circuits in holiday decorations, outdated heating equipment, unattended cooking, and deep fryers, and of course, human carelessness. In the years 2013-2017, about 160 Christmas fire incidents were reported three deaths, 15 injuries, and $10 million in repair damages. Electrical issues were behind 44% of the incidents. While it is best to take the safest route to prevent such incidents, checking your insurance and getting the right protection will help reduce the losses, in case of misfortune. 

Wind damages

The exterior of your property, residential or business, may suffer the ravages of heavy winds and blizzards in winter. One in 30 homes raise wind damage claims every year. Hence, it is no big surprise that about 25% of homeowners’ claims in the US are for exterior wind damages. Besides, commercial buildings and stores also suffer from such damages, owing to extremes of weather conditions. You should go through your existing property insurance to check if it covers such damages and buy add-ons if required. 

Hail and snow

Snowflakes, no matter how beautiful, carry the potential to cause damage to any property. They can fill up the gutters, wreak your pipes, bring down trees in your yard, and damage your decks. Hail can be even more dangerous (they’re called hail ”stones” for a reason). Hail can cause damage to your roofs, walls, and home exteriors, and the repair cost can be high. Therefore, it is necessary to buy adequate insurance to prevent an excessive added burden on your regular expenses. 

Damage to the utility lines

One in 55 homes has water-related issues due to weather damage in winter. Frozen and cracked pipes, flooding, or issues in the main water line are some of the common winter hazards that may invite a lot of expenses. You can reduce the impact by purchasing the right insurance cover. Customized insurance packages are best for such unusual issues. Talk to your insurer about the potential risks and the ways to cover them. 

Vehicle damages

Vehicles are susceptible to damage in winter. From falling branches to hail and snow, they have to bear a lot. If you have the proper car insurance in place, you may not have to break your bank to get your vehicle up and running as spring sets in again. 

Now that you have some sense of the common insurance claims in winter, let us look at the coverage that may protect you from a sudden rise in expenditure. 

Auto insurance

If you are planning to drive during the colder months, you should buy adequate auto insurance coverage, e.g., collision and/or comprehensive insurance. Evaluate the level of risk you may take on and purchase add-ons for extensive cover. Obviously, in winter, the roads are more slippery, and the weather more unpredictable. Talk to your insurer once to check if your current policy covers these additional risks. 

Boat insurance

If you have a lake house, you know that you must take your boats out before the water freezes. But you may need some insurance to cover possible damage or theft. Check out the customized cover for such uncommon yet significant risks that many people may overlook. 

Property and liability insurance

Tree fall, wind, snow, and hail are some of the frequent property-damaging factors in winter. While property insurance can protect you from damage to your property, liability coverage will address the issues your neighbors may end up facing. In case you are leasing out your property, you should also look into your tenants’ policy to see if they are covered properly. 

Home renovations insurance

Are you planning to make improvements to your property before the holiday season? Check with your insurer about essential coverage before that. As renovations can be costly, you should make sure that you are adequately covered if any issue arises due to damage caused by wintery conditions. 

True; winters are risky and expensive when seen in this light. But this is also the time to enjoy yourself with your family and relatives. Having the right insurance can help protect you and let you enjoy the season -stress-free!