Tricks, Not Treats: Winter Storms and Power Outages

The East coast had a surprise snow storm that has derailed Halloween plans from Maryland to Maine. Many cities and towns need time to clean up downed trees, limbs, and power lines before it is safe for kids ghosts and goblins to go house to house. Plus, power restoration is still a work in progress for any communities.

This is just a teaser of events yet to come. The Insurance Information Institute has provided a breakdown of Winter Storm Facts. When adjusted for inflation, Winter Storms have caused about $26 billion in insured catastrophe losses since 1991, resulting more than $1 billion a year in damage on average. Last year, winter storm losses totaled $2.6 billion, the highest it’s been since 2003.

In this unprecedented October storm almost a million households were left without power. The FDA site has tips for keeping food safe during and after power outages. Refrigerated foods should be fine if the door remains shut and the power was out for no less than 4 hours, but for many households in the Northeast this was not the case. Follow their safety tips to prevent illness after the storm.

If your home or auto suffered damage from falling tree limbs, call your insurance agent.

Here’s a brief video on the topic:

By most accounts winter hasn’t even started yet – the winter season doesn’t even officially start until December 22nd and already the Northeast is getting an early taste of it. If you have questions about your insurance coverage and whether you are adequately protected against storm-related loss, talk to your insurance agent.

Before and after winter storms: advance planning and filing claims

With a major ice storm under our belt, many area residents are just getting power and heat back and we are facing more potential adverse weather over the weekend.

If your home has been damaged or destroyed, you may want to invest two and a half minutes to watch the Insurance Information Institute’s advice on how to file a homeowner’s claim:

Preparing for the next storm
With some advance notice, there are things you can do to prepare for winter storm emergencies. Here are a few good resources:

The American Red Cross suggests a list of supplies to include in a home emergency kit, covering such items as water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and special items.

Winter Power Outage Tips – an excellent resource on what to do before, during, and after an outage compiled by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

Freezing & Bursting Pipes (PDF) – good tips for preventing frozen pipes.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning After an Emergency – The Centers for Disease Control inform us that every year, more than 500 people die in the U. S. from accidental CO poisoning and, sadly, here in New England, we have had carbon monoxide-related deaths after the recent storms. In Massachusetts, the law states that you must have a carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home, excluding unfinished basements, attics and crawl spaces. You may need more than one per floor because detectors must be placed within 10 feet of a bedroom door. This is good advice for homeowners whether or not your state has a law. Be sure to refresh your batteries periodically.