After a dry, green holiday season, the new year has kicked off with some major winter weather. Bitter temps aren’t just a pain—they can also lead to some treacherous situations. Days like this, we wish we could control the weather. While we can’t really offer that, there is control we can offer you: insurance coverage.
Winter weather may impact your insurance policies or your prevention in ways you don’t expect, so here are a few of the most common cold weather threats, and how you can protect against them.
Threat: Slippery footpaths
Beware of slick pavement. Just because your front porch stairs seem fine doesn’t mean your driveway is. So whether you’re visiting a neighbor, making your way to your car after work or have an unfortunate run-in with a puddle just inside the store, this threat lurks everywhere.
If you slip and fall at home, the policy most likely to cover injury will be health insurance, not homeowners. However, if someone is visiting you and they slip on the one patch of ice you managed to miss while you shoveled, their medical needs may be covered by your homeowners policy. There are downsides to filing this type of claim so if you think you have a situation that fits, call your insurance agent to talk through your options before doing anything.
- Wear weather appropriate shoes with tread
- Stick to cleared pathways, even if it might mean a longer trek to the door
- Take small steps
- Walk slowly
When temps drop this low, we seek heat wherever we can find it. Space heaters, electric blankets and fireplaces are all great options, but can also be dangerous ones when left unattended.
In the event of a fire caused by any of these items, two pieces of a homeowners policy can cover the damages. Personal property coverage will take care of things damaged inside by fire, and Dwelling coverage will cover structural damage by fire.
- Make sure everything is unplugged, especially overnight
- Have a working fire extinguisher in a readily accessible place
- Never leave a fire burning in the fireplace when you leave the house
Threat: Slick roads
Icy conditions on the road are one of the biggest concerns during winter weather.
Ice on the road doesn’t change how insurance treats a wreck. Whether you hit another car, slide into a snowy embankment or you collide with any other stationary object, you’ll need liability coverage and ideally comprehensive and collision coverage as well. Liability covers you if you hit someone else. Comprehensive covers incidents beyond your control like sliding into a snowbank; and Collision covers your car in the event you hit something like a car or light pole.
- Stay off the icy road when you can
- If you must drive,
- Proceed slowly with caution
- Keep ice melt, a shovel, and warm clothes in the car
Threat: Water Damage
Rapidly melting ice and snow can quickly turn into a water issue. Especially as we head into the rainy spring months, now is a great time to check with your insurance agent to see how you are covered in the event of water damage.
Flood coverage is not included in most homeowners policies, especially in the Midwest. Sewer backup coverage can be included but only covers water that may come up through the drains or foundation in your basement. Water that comes down through the windows would not be covered.
- If you live on a slant or in a place prone to water damage, prep with sandbags
- Shovel snow and slush away from your property
There are so many ins and outs of insurance. The only way to make sure you’re fully protected against all the right dangers is to check with a professional insurance advisor who knows their stuff and is just as invested in your safety as you are—and that’s us. Contact one of our trusted advisors today and make sure you are covered for the rest of the cold weather.EMAIL AN INSURANCE ADVISOR