Winterize Your Home – Preventing a Claim on Homeowners Insurance

by Michele Postler, Thursday, November 29, 2012

Now that winter is upon us, if you haven’t done so yet, you still have time to make sure your house is winterized. It is important to make sure that the following preventative measures are done to avoid any unforeseen damage to your house during coming months. It would be a real damper on the holiday season if you had to spend the time dealing with busted or frozen pipes or the water heater not working forcing you to make a homeowners insurance claim.

 

The below is a simple list of things to inspect around your house to make sure it will survive the harsh winter weather.

 

  • Furnace Inspection – make sure you have stocked up on filters for your furnace and replace them every month or two in the colder months. Also ensure there isn’t anything around the furnace that could cause a fire or impede the function of the furnace. If you have a fireplace, inspect the chimney and ensure it has a screen to keep birds and rodents out. Inspect the damper to ensure it is working properly and look at the bricks and mortar from the exterior. If you haven’t had a sweep in awhile, it may be time to have that done now. Fire wood should be chopped and stored in a dry place outside of the home.
  • Exterior – check the exterior of the house including doors and windows. Look for cracks or holes that may let the cold air in. Replace the weather stripping around doors and make sure to replace cracked windows.
  • Roof and Gutters – inspect the roof for any stains and broken roof tiles. Clear the roof and gutters of any debris and make sure the water is able to run through the downspouts easily. If you don’t have leaf guards, consider installing them before the winter season.
  • Inspect winter equipment – ensure that all rakes and shovels are useable and replace if necessary. Make sure the gas is out of the lawn mower and ensure that  the snow blower is ready to use. Have some salt or sand on hand for the driveway and if you have a car make sure the windshield fluid is non freeze.
  • Pests – seal up cracks in the foundation as mice may be able to crawl through. Also check the foundation for any holes and secure them. The foundation is a nice place for rodents to live during the winter. Make sure the crawlspace is also sealed.
  • Smoke Detector – ensure the smoke or carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. They should be tested at least once a year.
  • Plumbing – drain all the water from outside hoses and if possible make sure the water to the exterior is turned off. Ensure the pipes in the home are insulated and drain air conditioner pipes. If you are not expecting to be in your home during the winter make sure the temperature is set to at least 55 degrees as it will avoid freezing the pipes.
  • Emergency kit – create an emergency kit if you don’t already have one that should contain warm clothes, blankets, canned food, water and candles. This will help you stay somewhat comfortable if there is a power outage.

These small steps will help keep your home comfortable during the winter months and avoid a costly insurance estimate. Homeowners insurance average costs could go up if you neglect caring for your home in a responsible way. This little checklist ensures that you have taken all the steps needed to protect your home and could keep your homeowners insurance costs at a minimum through out the life of your home.