• Homeowners are encouraged to create a home inventory with photographs and detailed descriptions in advance of winter.
• Standard homeowners policies provide coverage for damage caused by wind, snow, severe cold and freezing rain.
• Tree limbs that fall on a house or other insured structure on the property would be covered for both the damage inflicted and the cost of removing the tree, generally up to about $500. Damage from the weight of ice and snow that fall on the home are also covered.
• Freezing conditions such as burst pipes or ice dams, a condition where water is unable to drain properly through the gutters and seeps into a house causing damage to ceilings and walls, is covered (while the actual pipe itself is generally not covered). However, there is generally a requirement that the homeowner has taken reasonable steps to prevent these losses by keeping the house warm and properly maintaining the pipes and drains.
Advice for preventing frozen pipes:
• Insulate pipes, especially those leading to the outside, and plug holes around the pipes with insulation or spray-in foam. Make sure there is warm air flowing around and under sinks to make sure they will get adequate heat.
• Set the heat in the home warm enough to avoid problems. At night, the heating system needs to circulate water through radiator and baseboard heating units to avoid freezing.
• Make sure there is clear access to the main water shut-off valve in case there is a leak or a pipe suddenly bursts.
• Open the water faucets in your sinks enough to allow a slow trickle of water to maintain the flow of water in the lines and help prevent freezing. Make sure your sink drains are open.
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