By Shannon Geddes.
Depending on your location you may have different hazards, I have listed out some of the most common home and auto claims you should be aware of and watch for to get you through the year, hopefully without claims.
1. Frozen Pipes
Nearly two thirds of claims for frozen pipes occur between December and February.
You can prevent frozen pipes with a few simple steps. When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from a faucet. Running water through the pipe, even a trickle can help prevent pipes from freezing. Keep your thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and night. You may incur a higher heating bill, but preventing a much larger repair bill if pipes freeze and burst.
2. Ice Damming
An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents the snow or water from draining of the roof. The water then backs up behind the dam and can leak into the home causing damage to walls, ceilings and other areas of the home.
You can prevent ice damming by keeping your roof clear of snow. If ice dams continue to be a problem it may be wise to have a roofing contractor come out after the winter season is over and inspect it to identify any concerns or problems that should be addressed.
3. House Fires
December through March are peak months for home fires. But can happen at anytime.
House fires can occur so quickly. During the winter months, we are worried about the holidays and overload outlets. Try not to overload your outlets when using decorations as this can cause a short and fire. Be careful when using space heaters, if possible do not use them at all. Regularly clean your chimneys. Keep anything flammable at least three feet away from all heating equipment!
4. Skidding on Snow or Ice
Many driving accidents are caused by people just going too fast for the road conditions.
Take it slow, allow plenty of time to get to where you need to be. Don’t get overconfident, you may be in a big vehicle, but it won’t help you stop any quicker. Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Don’t use your brakes if you go into a skid, instead just ease off the accelerator. These are just a few ideas to help you navigate the snow and ice, always use common sense on in winter weather.
5. Vehicle Thefts
Vehicle theft accounts for about one-quarter of all comprehensive claims.
Who out there is not guilty of running outside and starting their car to warm it up on those cold winter mornings? I know that I have done it, but after finding out the stats on winter vehicle thefts, that may change! Never leave your car running or the keys in the ignition when you are away from it. Keep valuables out of sight; purses, credit cards and cell phones attract thieves.
6. Home Accidents
Liability claims against homeowners are common.
Homes are full of many potential hazards, slippery floors to loose carpet or an unshoveled sidewalk. If a visitor to your home falls or injuries themselves while at your home, you can have a liability claim filed against your for their injuries. It is important to take proper precautions to avoid liability claims. Such things as clearing toys, loose objects or anything that can block a path. Keep all outside paths clear of snow and ice. Accidents can happen and people can sue, but if you are prepared and have taken the necessary steps to avoid accidents, you will feel more at ease.
7. Dog Bites
Dog bite claims make up one-third of all homeowner claims.
Most dogs are member of the family, but sometimes even a docile dog may bite when frightened or protecting their owners or food. As a dog owner it is important to properly train and control your dog.
8. Windshield Damage
Glass damage is the most common automobile insurance claim.
Windshields are going to crack no matter what, but you can lower the risk by following these steps. Keep your distance from vehicles in front of you. If your windshield has a chip, have it repaired immediately to keep it from spreading to the entire windshield.
9. Animal Collisions
Animals cause a lot of car accidents, approximately 2 million times a year, animals and cars collide on the roadways.
Here are some things that can improve your chance of avoiding animal collisions.
Be especially careful during dawn and dusk times, visibility is decreased and headlights keep the animals from seeing you. Watch for posted warning signs where animal activity is frequent and slow down. Always expect more than one animal, if you say one, there is more than likely more.
10. Non-weather related water damages
Non-weather related water damages make up 19 percent of all homeowners insurance claims.
Regular maintenance is the key to preventing water claims in the home from occurring. Replace your washing machine hoses every five years, tag them so you know when they were last replaced. Check your water heater regularly to make sure that it is not leaking. Inspect ice maker connections to make sure there are no leaks. Air conditioner lines should also be checked to make sure that there are no clogs.
All policyholders will have the occasional claim, but by following a few of these tips, you are able to minimize your risk and keep your policy premiums affordable.