Don’t let frozen water put you on thin ice

DATE | 02/04/19
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When it comes to your home, safety is priority one. With the freeze and thaw cycles of winter, the season can bring some unique pitfalls that you’ll want to avoid. Here are a few tips on preventing some of the more common problems you may face as a homeowner in the wintertime.

Ice dams

To help reduce the risk to your home:

  • Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris.
  • Keep the attic well-ventilated.
  • Make sure the attic floor is well-insulated.
  • After a heavy winter storm, remove a layer of snow at least three feet above the gutter line with a long-handled aluminum roof rake while you stay safely on the ground.
  • Water damage from ice dams is generally covered on your home insurance policy, but exclusions may apply. Be sure to read your policy carefully and contact your insurance company right away if you have damage.

Sidewalk safety

To help reduce the risk of falls:

  • Clean your walks promptly after a snowfall to keep snow from bonding to the surface.
  • Spread sand or gravel on icy patches to make your sidewalk safer for pedestrians. Spreading sand on a sidewalk before ice forms can also make future ice easier to remove. Free sand may be available in your community.
  • Pile snow in a place where it will not run across your sidewalk when it melts, and aim your downspouts away from areas where people walk to keep your sidewalks clear during freeze-thaw cycles.

As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to keep your property safe. Removing snow and ice from your property as soon as possible will help prevent visitors from injuring themselves on slippery walkways, stairs, or entryways.

If someone is injured, you may be held liable for their medical expenses, lost wages, and even pain and suffering. Your home insurance offers protection against financial loss for claims, but preventing a claim in the first place is to your advantage. Many companies will raise rates or cancel policies depending on the situation.

Bursting pipes

To help reduce the risk to your home:

  • Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping.
  • Seal cracks and holes in outside walls.
  • Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
  • Let warm water drip overnight, especially from a faucet on an outside wall.
  • Water damage from frozen pipes is generally covered, but several exclusions do apply.

If you have any questions about your home insurance with Member Benefits, please contact us at 1-800-279-4030.