Four Common Winter Homeowners’ Insurance Claims

Four Common Winter Homeowners’ Insurance Claims

With the winter weather upon us, it’s time to take a look at your home and make sure you protect it from the elements. Most importantly, you need to examine the cost involved in repairing weather damage to your home and whether or not you’ll be able to handle it when the time comes.

Some people stash money away, hoping their home will never need any emergency repairs. Others purchase insurance policies so they can file insurance claims when disaster strikes and not worry about liquidating their savings.

Before nature takes a toll on your home, it’s best to know what your policy covers and what you might end up paying out of pocket. In this guide, we’ll go over the most common homeowners insurance claims in the winter and how to prevent them from costing you an arm and a leg.

To learn more about homeowners insurance in New York, contact one of the knowledgeable agents at TCE Insurance today!

Common House Damage in the Winter

Below are the most common issues that cause damage to New York homes in the winter. Your current policy may cover some of these issues, while others may require additional coverage to prevent you from handling a surprise repair bill on your own.

1. Frozen Pipes

When the temperature drops in the wintertime, many homeowners experience frozen pipes. If you turn the faucet in your sink or bathtub and no water comes out, the pipes have likely frozen. Ice in your pipes can throw off the air pressure, causing them to burst.

A burst pipe can cause water to leak into your home, resulting in thousands of dollars in property damage. The good news is that most homeowners insurance policies will completely cover this type of water damage. Even so, it’s best to prevent this issue from occurring to keep mold from spreading in your home and losing irreplaceable belongings.

Insulate the pipes in your basement before winter to prevent freezing. If your pipes seem frozen, shut off the water valve and use a blow dryer to thaw them.

2. Ice Dams

One of the harshest winter issues your roof can undergo is the melting and refreezing of snow and ice. Snow and ice will melt and drip down to the gutters, where it freezes again. This phenomenon creates an “ice dam.”

Ice dams block water from reaching the gutters on your roof, forcing it to seep into your roofing material. The ice hanging from your gutters also puts extra strain on the roof, increasing the likelihood that it will fall apart.

Keeping your attic ceiling insulated will prevent ice dams from forming on your roof. If your insurance provider suspects that the damage to the roof took place over an extended period of time, they may decide not to cover it. Some insurance policies exclude ice dam coverage altogether.

3. Tree Branches

If you have long tree branches near your home, they may break under the weight of ice and snow during the winter and land on your house. These branches can cause a lot of expensive damage and compromise your roof’s structural integrity.

Homeowners insurance usually covers the damage fallen branches can cause. If you have a shed, fence, or other structure on your property, you may need to purchase additional coverage for it. 

Keeping your trees pruned and trimmed is the best way to prevent problems with falling branches. Your provider may deny your claim if it seems the branch fell due to poor maintenance.

4. House Fires

During the holiday season, there is an increased risk of house fires due to all the Christmas lights strung around houses and Christmas trees. The increased use of candles, fireplaces, and space heaters during cold weather only increases the chances of an accidental fire.

The following measures can help prevent house fires during the winter months.

  •  Don’t let your Christmas tree dry out 
  •  If you lose power, use a flashlight – not candles
  •  Put a screen in front of your fireplace

Homeowners insurance covers all insurance claims for accidental fires.

Call TCE Insurance Today

If you’re a New York homeowner and don’t think you have the right level of coverage for your property, let TCE Insurance help. We can help you figure out what kind of winter insurance claims you’re currently eligible for and what additional coverage you may need. Call (718) 571-8385 to connect with one of our agents in Staten Island or Hauppauge, NY.