The frigid temperatures and heavy snowfall in cold-weather states, along with wind and hail storms in other areas, can cause damage to homes, and in many instances result in homeowners needing to file an insurance claim.
Recently analyzed homeowner claims data from the last five full winters (December to March) and conducted an online survey of 184 of its property adjusters to find out what are the most costliest winter claims. The analysis also determined the five most common winter weather claims and the top five U.S. states for winter weather claims.
3. Tree collapse
Average Claim Cost: $6,000
Tree collapses are the third most costly winter weather claim. Trees in the western U.S. are generally larger than in other parts of the country and claims in this area average more than $10,000. By comparison, tree collapse claims range on average from $3,000 to $5,000 in the northeast, midwest, and south.
Weakened tree limbs can easily come down in windy weather, so the company suggests maintaining and trimming trees near the home that could fall on the house, other buildings or vehicles, before storm season.
2. Hail damage
Average Claim Cost: $10,000
Hail damage is the second costliest winter weather claim.
In the south, it is three times more common than in other areas. Roof damage from hail is more likely at the end of winter and can lead to claims that average $10,000.
Claims for hail damage are often filed late because the damage isn’t always easy to see. After a large hail storm, a homeowner may want to consider hiring a professional to examine the roof if they’re not able to safely inspect it.
1. Frozen pipes
Average Claim Cost: $18,000
While most common in the northeast and midwest, frozen pipes happen in all areas of the country and average about $18,000 per claim.
A homeowner may need to find a service company to help clean up the mess, which may help save money and prevent further damage.
To help homeowners prepare for the worst winter can throw at them, we suggest the following tips:
- Perform seasonal maintenance: Have the heating system serviced on an annual basis, including testing to make sure the heat is working throughout the home. It’s also important to insulate any pipes that are susceptible to freezing and unhook hoses from outdoor faucets.
- Prepare for winter storms: Move vehicles off the street and/or away from large tree limbs. Have the snow blower serviced. Become familiar with how to trip the manual release on overhead garage door openers and have shovels ready ahead of the storm.
- Stock up on supplies: In the event of an extended power outage, have bottled water and non-perishable foods, clothing and blankets, batteries and flashlights. It’s also helpful to have a supply of rock salt, other ice melt or sand, in case the stores run out during a storm .