How To Avoid Costly Home Insurance Claims From Winter Storms

By Nancy B
October 29, 2020

It's super windy on this fall day in Stafford, Virginia. I can actually feel a small draft sitting near a window in my house. Fall's milder temperatures are perfect for preparing the outside of your home before Old Man Winter’s first-lasting freeze. Our home insurance experts know a few things about protecting your home from the elements and keeping your utility bills down to boot!  

Homeowners insurance is a must, particularly in the winter months. Filing a claim might not be your best option for all damage to your home. Remember, it is one factor in determining insurance rates and can cause your insurance rates to go up. For the greatest cost savings, take steps to prevent winter weather events before they occur.

Prevent Frozen Pipes

  1. Insulate pipes in unheated areas of your home, such as attics, basements, garages, and crawl spaces.
  2. If you go out of town, set the thermostat no lower than 65°F.
  3. Protect the most vulnerable pipes with pipe sleeves or heat tape.
  4. Keep your garage doors closed.
  5. Drain sprinkler supply lines.
  6. Drain and disconnect hoses. Turn off the main water supply to the outside, and finish by completely opening your outdoor bib. (Don’t miss this important step to prevent hose bib damage from freezing temperatures!
  7. In extremely cold temperatures, let cold water drip from the pipe insulators

Prevent Ice Dams on Your Roof and Excessive Snow Melt

  1. Prevent heat in the home from escaping into the
  2.  attic by sealing any gaps.
  3. Ensure you have adequate insulation so heat remains in your home instead of escaping.
  4. Ensure your attic is ventilated so cold air from outside can enter. If the attic becomes too warm, it can cause snow on the roof to melt, which can refreeze at the eaves, forming an ice dam.

Prevent Windstorm Damage

  1. Your gutters should get a good cleaning and check your trees for problems.
  2. Trim any dead limbs or overhanging branches that could turn into potential problems after a heavy snow or ice storm.
  3. Inspect the exterior of your home for anything that may be loose, including shutters and gutters.
  4. Bring in or remove anything outside that could be blown around in a winter storm, such as outdoor furniture, shade umbrellas, garden ornaments, and children’s play items or equipment.


Prevent Winter Fires

  1. Have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional before the start of the winter season.
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using heating equipment.
  3. Keep any heating device at least three feet away from any item that could catch fire.
  4. Do not leave heaters unattended.
  5. Prep your home heating systems