Insurers are still tallying up storm-related losses for the Halloween storm that has been called the freakiest ever. It's thought that when the final price tag comes in, losses will fall between $1 and $3 billion.
If you remained unscathed from this storm then you are one of the lucky ones, but don't count on your luck holding out in the future. Winter storms cause more than one billion dollars in damage annually and are the third largest cause of catastrophe losses. The Farmer's Almanac predicts the following about New England weather: "...the upcoming winter will be the equivalent of a cold slap in the face, as we forecast much colder-than-normal temperatures."
All this should serve as a reminder that it's important to take the necessary precautions to prevent unnecessary damage to your home. The Insurance Information Institute has posted a list of helpful tips to Winter-Proof Your House. We've reprinted a summary of their recommended preventative measures here:
Outside Your Home
- Clean out gutters
- Install gutter guards
- Trim trees and remove dead branches
- Repair steps and handrails
- Seal cracks in holes in outside walls and foundations.
Inside Your Home
- Keep the house warm.
- Add extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces.
- Have the heating system serviced.
- Check pipes.
- Install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system.
- Make sure that smoke and fire alarms are working properly.
- Consider installing a carbon monoxide detector.
- Learn how to shut the water off and know where your pipes are located.
- Hire a licensed contractor to look for structural damage.
While all these tips are helpful the most important thing is to review your insurance coverage to make sure you are adequately covered. Remember, flood insurance is not included in standard homeowners or renters insurance policies. Don't wait to learn your coverage limits until after something happens -- it may make for unpleasant surprises -- talk to your insurance agent today!