Fall is a busy time. The holidays are expensive. We get it. We highly recommend prioritizing some basic winterizing to your home to avoid more expensive problems this winter. We know, from years of home insurance claims, fire is a significant winter hazard for families, so be sure to address fire prevention. Then, if you don't have a lot of money for basic home maintenance right now, there's one thing we can recommend you absolutely shouldn't skip. Protect your plumbing. It's actually really inexpensive!
A top winter home insurance claim
Frozen pipes are among the most common and expensive winter home damage risks for a home when temperatures in Virginia drop. Do you remember the Commonwealth's extended arctic freeze in 2018? Even with home heat systems humming along, those frigid January temperatures resulted in more than five hundred NNINS home water damage claims from frozen and burst pipes. What happened?
Vulnerable plumbing during winter
Most Virginia homes weren't built to sustain long-lasting freezing temperatures because we typically have a milder climate. That can mean you have pipes running through uninsulated areas of your home like an attic, crawl space, garage, or basement. These spaces become vulnerable in colder than average weather. Even pipes located on the insulated exterior walls of your home may be in danger of freezing if temperatures stay cold for an extended period. To avoid a post-holiday $500 insurance deductible, start with a simple and inexpensive fix.
How to prevent pipes from freezing
For less than $5, you can protect vulnerable pipes with pipe insulators from your local hardware store. We recommend heavy-duty R4 insulators. R-value is the measure of a material's ability to slow down heat flow. The higher the number, the better. It's essential to pick the correct size for your pipes (either ½ or ¾ of an inch).
It's always a good idea to make sure all your home's exterior walls, attic, and basement are properly insulated. That's a good job for a professional. Once you've protected vulnerable pipes, they are unlikely to freeze. If you are still concerned during an extended freeze, there are other ways to prevent freezing pipes to avoid water damage. If you do suspect a frozen pipe, take action right away to prevent costly damage to your home.
Does home insurance cover burst pipes?
Suppose the worst happens and your frozen pipe bursts. Not to worry! Your home insurance policy usually covers this type of damage. Let us know if you need to file a claim. It is not a bad idea to speak with your local insurance agent about these types of claims when choosing your home insurance coverage.
It's important to know that an insurance claim may not be covered if you vacate a property for a long period of time and do not adequately prepare your home for cold weather. Plan ahead of an extended trip by consulting a professional plumber who can recommend extra measures to protect your pipes while you're away.