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AAA: Make Sure Your Home is Ready for the Cold Weather

Having proper home insurance coverage is essential

Insurance & Consumer Tips

B-roll of burst pipes is available here:

With this week's frigid temperatures, AAA reminds homeowners and renters that preparing and maintaining a home for inclement weather is essential to help avoid winter-related repairs. Prolonged periods of below freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on a home’s heating system, plumbing and exterior features. Maintaining property during cold strikes is essential to reduce the risk of winter damage.

“Homeowners and renters should be proactive in making sure their residence is ready for cold weather,” said Jonathon King, vice president of insurance sales, AAA East Central. “By taking measures to ensure a home’s interior and exterior are prepared for frigid temperatures, high repair costs and headaches can be avoided in the future.”

What You Can Do to Protect Your Home

  • Remove hoses from exterior faucets.
  • Repair or replace weather stripping around windows and doors, vents and fans, plumbing, air conditioners and electrical and gas lines.
  • Use caulk or insulation to seal all cracks, holes and other openings on exterior walls.
  • Let faucets drip a little bit to prevent freezing pipes.
  • Well-insulated basements and crawl spaces will help protect pipes. Close foundation vents and windows to basements. Wrap vulnerable pipes with pipe insulation.
  • Know where water shutoff valves are located so water can be turned off in case of an emergency.
  • Air inside the walls, where pipes are, can be much colder than air in the room, so set the thermostat at a reasonable temperature, even if no one is home.
  • Keep bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors open to let warm air circulate around the pipes.
  • Close wood burning fireplace flue dampers when not in use. Follow all manufacturer instructions for gas fireplaces including those with pilot lights, which may require the flue to be always partially open.

Winter Damages Covered by Homeowners Insurance
Winter comes with snow, and sometimes lots of it. If a roof collapses or is damaged due to the weight of snow or ice from a storm, a standard home insurance policy may cover the damage. Another threat to homes in the winter season are cold snaps. Water left standing in pipes when the temperature drops may expand with enough force to cause it to burst, leading to serious water damage if the issue isn’t immediately identified. Damage caused from burst pipes as well as the repair costs are covered by most standard home insurance policies, as long as regular maintenance is performed, and owners maintain heat in the building.

What’s Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance
Most storm damage is covered under Home Insurance but there are exclusions that could apply. Flash floods caused by a sudden rise in temperature during the winter months can cause significant damage to a home that will not be covered by your standard home insurance policy, but flood insurance can be purchased separately.

Most damages not covered by insurance are due to homeowner neglect or lack of maintenance. These may include damages resulting from extreme cold due to failure to maintain heat in the home.

More Winter Liabilities
In addition to the above risks, slips and falls on property are always a possibility in winter. Such incidents are likely covered by the liability coverage that comes with a home insurance policy, but it’s a good idea to double check with an insurance agent. If an incident like this occurs, help with potential legal aspects may also be included in insurance policies.

Is Your Home Insurance Ready?
By taking the necessary precautions and preparing houses for winter, making an insurance claim this winter season can be avoided. Trimming threatening trees, shutting off water and draining pipes, and cleaning gutters are all things that can be done before it gets too cold. If a winter disaster does strike, having the right home insurance coverage will help. Review policies with a trusted agent to be sure everything is in order.

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 70 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members.  News releases are available at  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.



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AAA East Central is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.