How to Prevent Frozen Pipes at Home This Winter

By Nancy B
December 05, 2023

We pledge to provide straight talk from our NNINS Virginia insurance experts. Read the Northern Neck Insurance Integrity Promise.

As a local home insurance provider, we know winter weather can take its toll on Virginia homes. We highly recommend prioritizing basic winterizing to your home to avoid more costly repairs this winter. We also know everything is so expensive and the holidays are coming. If you don't have extra money set aside for essential home maintenance right now, there's one thing we can recommend you absolutely shouldn't skip. Protect your plumbing. It's actually really inexpensive! 

Frozen pipes are a top winter home insurance claim

Homeowners insurance claims tell us home fire prevention during winter is super important. Still, 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, those frigid January temperatures resulted in more than five hundred NNINS home water damage claims from frozen and burst pipes. 


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Why do home pipes in Virginia freeze?

Most Virginia homes weren't built to sustain long-lasting freezing temperatures because we typically have a milder climate. You may 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 home 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 measures 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 ensure 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. Call your local agent and let us know if you need to file a claim

It's important to know that an insurance claim may not be covered if you vacate a property for an extended period and do not adequately prepare your home for cold weather. Plan for an extended trip by consulting a professional plumber who can recommend extra measures to protect your pipes while you're away. 


Learn more about homeowners insurance in Virginia >

   THE NORTHERN NECK INSURANCE INTEGRITY PROMISE — We pledge to provide straight talk and good counsel from our NNINS Virginia insurance experts through our blog. While we hope you find this to be a helpful source of information, it does not replace the guidance of a licensed insurance professional, nor does it modify the terms of your Northern Neck Insurance policy in any way. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy.