Home Insurance: Extreme Cold Weather Tips for Home & Business
‘Tis the start of the cold weather season! Winter storms can be deadly, and can cause damage to your home; resulting in a home insurance claim. With a little planning, you can protect yourself and your property.
It’s most important that you protect yourself and your family first:
•Listen toweather reports, and follow the instructions of local authorities –if it is recommended to stay in-doors or off the roads, follow their advice
•Stay indoors unless absolutely necessary
•Keep your pet indoors as well
•If you are outdoors, be sure to dress appropriately and tell your loved ones where you will be. If possible, carry a cell phone so that your loved ones can contact you, and you can call for help if you get stranded.
•If you are traveling in your vehicle, use caution. If you hear of a blizzard warning, find shelter. If you are stuck in your car, remain in your vehicle and provide a signal to rescuers such as placing a brightly visible cloth in a window where it will be visible. Maintain an emergency kit in your vehicle with items such as flares, a shovel, gloves, blankets, hats and a flashlight.
•Start the car once an hour and leave running for 10 minutes. Keep the exhaust pipe clean so that fumes can escape.
What to do if your home or business has been damaged:
•If you lose power, turn off your appliances to avoid a power surge when the power is restored
•Do NOT touch electrical wires, appliances or devices
•Use a flashlight, not a candle, as a source of light
•Check for any gas leaks and turn the valves off if one is found
•Separate damaged property from undamaged property, and prepare an inventory of what has been lost or damaged
•Take photographs of damaged property.
•Keep receipts for any clean up costs incurred (i.e. shop vac rentals, cleaning supplies, etc.)
•Your insurance company is there to help. Contact your independent insurance broker or your insurance company to report any damage.
Protecting your home or business in the future:
•Water frozen in pipes can cause your pipes to break at their weakest point. To prevent freezing, fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping.
•Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations near water pipes
•Keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to allow warm air to circulate around pipes
•Keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets connected to pipes running through an unprotected space. Or drain the water system if your home will be unoccupied during cold periods.
•Consider applying an additional moisture barrier along the eaves of the roof to prevent water intrusion
•No heat sources should be installed in non air conditioned (?) attic space– keeping your attic cooler will prevent the snow from melting and refreezing on your roof
•Ensure that the floor of your attic is well insulted to prevent heat from escaping to the attic
•No un-insulated recessed lights should be installed in an attic
•All attic doors located in non air conditioned spaces, should be treated by being properly insulated, sealed, weather stripped, and all hidden penetrations (i.e. stack vents, partition walls, electrical chases) must be properly sealed and insulated
•Trim weak branches or trees that could fall on your home under the weight of a heavy snowfall
•If you are away from your residence for more than four days, ensure that you have someone qualified to inspect your plumbing daily
Protect your family, home or business ~ and keep warm!
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