Winter Preparation: Frozen Pipes
Now that winter is approaching, it is important to be aware of what your Homeowner’s insurance does and does not cover when it comes to winter damages. One of the most common problems – as well as one of the most preventable – is frozen pipes. This is one of those cases that a little bit of investment in time and materials can save headaches and money over the long term.
Keep the Heat On
Most insurance policies cover pipe replacement and water damage from burst pipes; however, the coverage may not apply if you turned the furnace off for the winter without first winterizing the house and its contents. This is especially important to know if you are a “snowbird” or own a summer vacation home, but it even applies if you are just going away for long weekend in the winter. If possible, keep the thermostat set at 55° F while you are away. The cost of replacing a burst pipe and the subsequent damage it causes far outweigh the cost of your utility bill.
When in Doubt, Insulate
You know where the cold spots are in your house. Attics, basements, garages, and crawl spaces are noticeably colder than the rest of the home when the temperature drops. If there are pipes in those areas and you are uncertain that the temp will stay above freezing (32° F) during the coldest times, add insulation. If rolled or blown insulation is not practical, insulate the pipes themselves. There are pipe insulating products available at your local hardware store like pipe insulation tubes (think thinner pool noodles) or fiberglass insulation pipe wrap that are inexpensive but effective prevention measures. Also, don’t forget to insulate pipes close to exterior walls like the pipe leading to your hose bib and seal with caulk or spray foam insulation any gaps or cracks in exterior walls where pipes or cables come into the house from the outside.
Burst pipes from freezing is one of those “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” scenarios. And if you are not sure what type of homeowners policy you have and what it covers, call us and we would be more than happy to review your policy with you. It is important for you to understand what is covered before your house suffers Winter damage so you can take preventative measures and avoid surprises and headaches if you do file a claim. But in the event you do need to file a claim, call Property Adjustment. We act as your advocate to ensure that the insurance company is paying your claim properly and fairly.