I trust fall is treating you well. The way our weather has been the past few weeks, it seems that winter is just around the corner. Because of this, I wanted to take a moment and touch on a few common winter insurance policy changes for our clients during this time of year, as well as two things that can lead to preventable claims.
In many cases, this time of year leads to our clients storing or adding vehicles for the winter season. It’s important to note that you can remove all the coverage off those summer toys and just put comprehensive coverage on for the winter months when you are not operating them. The comprehensive coverage will pick up any fire, theft or vandalism that might occur until you drive the vehicle again next spring. There is no need for liability or collision coverage when the vehicle is stored and you can save money on those premiums. For those who are snowbirds, if you have a few cars in a warm climate and a few up here in Wisconsin, we do have clients that take cars on and off their policy when they move for the season. It is a good way to save on your premium if two of your vehicles are not being driven back home. Please note that you cannot make changes via email or voicemail without written or verbal confirmation. Feel free to contact us if you’d like to make these changes to your policy.
As far as claims, there are two examples to be aware of during this time of year. Knowing this information ahead of time could prevent a major loss. The first claim we often see is a pipe freezing in your home. There are a couple different ways you can prevent this. First, make sure you take care of any water that is in water lines outside the house. Typically, you can get the water out of those lines and shut it off well before the cold winter months begin. Second, if you have areas of the home where pipes are near outside walls (especially on a north facing side of the home) just make sure that you do anything you can to keep them warm when temperatures dip below freezing. The other thing that you can do to prevent freezing is to leave the water running very slightly. While water is a precious commodity, doing this can keep things moving through your plumbing systems and prevent the freezing.
The second claim I’d like to address is ice damming. This occurs when you have a situation where snow thaws and melts on your roof and then freezes again, typically in the gutter. This usually happens on the south side of the home where the sun would cause the melting on the roof but water would freeze and turn to ice because the gutter system is frozen. The result can be extremely damaging to your home if it is not taken care of. The backup of water and ice can cause the first few rows of shingles to curl, and then when the ice melts again it can let water into the inside of your home. This can cause a lot of damage to the interior walls of your home. Luckily, there are two solutions to prevent ice damming. The first option is to use a large snow rake to get snow off your roof before warmer weather hits. It’s best to do this as soon as possible after a snow storm. Second, if you notice it late and the gutters are filled with ice, you may want to try putting a stocking filled with salt near the drainpipe of the gutter. This can help melt the clog and get the system flowing again. If this option doesn’t work, it’s best to call a professional to get the damming removed before any real damage occurs.
In the meantime, we hope that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy spending time with your friends and families.
Thanks again for allowing us to protect you and your most valuable assets.