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When it comes to winter weather, a little prevention goes a long way in keeping insurance costs down and peace of mind intact. Here are just some considerations to keep in mind when looking at beefing up your homeowners insurance for the winter.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Did you know that winter storms are the third-largest cause of catastrophe losses in the U.S., behind tornadoes and hurricanes? According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), winter storms amount to 6.7% of all catastrophe losses—and that number is likely to escalate in the coming years due to residential and commercial development.
Likewise in Canada, as MoneySense notes, insurance activity is on the rise because of the significant increases in extreme winter weather events, such as ice storms, cold snaps, and heavy rainfall.
As severe storms increase in number and severity, property damage has intensified over the years, leading to increased loss claims by homeowners. As a result, premiums are soaring. From 2005-2014, III reports that premiums for homeowner policies rose nearly 50%.
While claims specific to winter weather remain a fraction of overall claims (0.98% of claims filed), the average value per claim has risen to $4,757 USD.
Fortunately, standard home insurance policies cover most property damage claims resulting from winter storms (excluding those resulting from flooding rivers, streams, etc.).
Does your homeowners insurance cover winter storm damage? Make sure you call your insurance company to get the details on your policy. However, here are the most common claims covered:
When disaster strikes, knowing that your homeowners insurance covers roof damage from snow and winter storms provides peace of mind.
But even if your claim is paid, you’re still out of pocket for the deductible. And if you’ve filed several claims within a short period, you’ll see even sharper increases in premiums.
What’s the best way to deal with the uncertainty of winter storms while keeping your insurance premiums in check?
In the fall, make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear. Insulate your attic, so heat doesn’t escape through the roof. For a complete checklist, read our article on how to winterize a home.
When the big snow storms start to hit, whip out your SnowPeeler snow rake. By routinely clearing snow from your roof, you’ll limit the possibility of snow loading, roof damage and roof collapse. And by clearing just 2-3 feet from your lower roof, you’ll minimize the conditions that are ripe for ice dams.
Benjamin Franklin is also noted for saying “…nothing can be said to be certain but death and taxes.” Today, we could probably add insurance. But given the uncertainty with weather (and everything else), homeowners insurance for winter storm damage is important to keep your family safe and costs down when disaster strikes.