Winter Weather Perils and Your Homeowners Insurance: What You Need To Do Now

Typically, winters in South Carolina are fairly mild, but unexpected and severe cold spells can happen.  When they do, your home can suffer damage you hadn’t anticipated.  Therefore, before winter arrives, you should review your homeowner’s policy to make sure your home is adequately protected against winter weather damage.   

In the south, homeowners often don’t think about homeowners insurance or the perils of winter weather.  While most standard homeowners policies provide coverage for damage caused by ice, snow, wind and freezing temperatures, it’s a good idea to talk to your agent about which perils are covered. 

Winter Weather Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance

Homeowners insurance provides coverage for some types of winter weather perils.  There are several potential hazards associated with winter weather that you should be aware of.  What is winter weather damage that may be covered by homeowners’ policies?  The following are some of the most common damages caused by cold weather:

➢  Ice, Snow, and Hail Damage

Some homes are not designed to adequately withstand the weight of snow or ice build-up.  If your roof collapses due to this winter weather peril, your homeowner’s policy covers the damage.  Also, snow or ice can cause the roof to collapse and damage personal belongings, your insurance will help cover the cost of replacing the items.

Hail damage is usually covered by homeowners insurance, but it depends on where you live.  If you live in an area where hail is frequent, there may be restrictions to the hail damage coverage.  Talk to your insurer or agent about whether you are covered for hail damage.

➢  Frozen Pipe Damages

Winter storms can cause your pipes to freeze, resulting in water damage to your home or belongings.  You may be covered by your homeowner’s insurance if you have taken steps to protect your home.  For instance, general lack of maintenance or upkeep that results in broken pipes won’t be covered.  

➢  Wind Damage

Blizzards or windstorms can cause severe damage to a home. If high winds rip the roof off of your home or cause a tree to fall on your house or garage, your policy can help cover the repair costs.  About one out of thirty homes are damaged by high winds every year.  Your homeowners insurance includes coverage for this peril, but some exclusions may apply.  Check with your agent if you’re not sure about your winter weather coverage.  

Winter Weather Damage Not Covered by Homeowners Policies

Certain types of storm damage are not covered by a standard homeowners policy.  They include:

➢  Flood Damage

A sudden thaw after a huge snowstorm can cause flooding.  Standard homeowners policies do not cover flood damage from surface water.  However, you can purchase a separate policy to protect your home against flood damage.  

➢  Preventable Damage

If you leave your home unattended during severe weather without taking proper precautions, the damages won’t be covered.  For insurance, if you are leaving for a week or two, be sure to turn off the water and leave the heat on enough to prevent pipes from freezing.

Damage from snow or rain entering the home through a pre-existing hole in the roof is not covered.  Also, if you don’t take proactive measures to protect your HVAC and pipes, you won’t be allowed to claim the resulting damages.  So repair that hole in the roof, and insulate those pipes to keep your home in good shape this winter.

How Can I Protect My Home Against Winter Weather Damage?

Winter Weather DamageUnderstandably, your insurer expects you to maintain your property, whether it is summer or winter.  Proper maintenance is a great way to avoid many of the weather-related risks to your property.  

As mentioned above, failure to properly maintain or prepare your home can result in your claim being denied.  With that in mind, here are some steps you can take to ensure that you’ve done your part in protecting your home:

  1. Insulate exposed pipes – Pipes in unheated areas of your house are susceptible to freezing.  The pipes are often located in garages, basements, crawl spaces, or attics.  Adding a layer of insulation around the pipes can prevent water damage.
  2. Insulate the attic – Poorly insulated attics lose heat through the roof.  As a result, snow on the roof will melt, causing water damage.
  3. Trim tree branches – Winter storms can bring high winds or snow that can break weak tree branches.  Branches or trees that fall on your home can cause extensive damage.
  4. Shut off the water – If you plan to be away from your home for a week or two during winter weather, turn off the water to prevent frozen pipes.  It’s important to remember that if you don’t take this precaution, your policy may not cover any damage.
  5. Set the thermostat – To reduce the risk of freezing pipes when you aren’t home, remember to set the heat at a temperature sufficient to keep pipes warm.

Of course, many other steps can be taken to protect your home, according to the Insurance Information Institute.      

Make Sure Your Home Is Protected: Call Sandifer Insurance Today

Winter is approaching, so now is the time to make sure your home is adequately covered for winter weather damage.  Whether you have a homeowners insurance policy or are looking for an insurer, Sandifer can help.  

Sandifer Insurance Agency is a family-owned, full-service insurance agency with over 40 years of experience in helping homeowners protect their property.  We also offer coverage options for life, auto, farm, or business. No matter what your insurance needs, we have the expertise to ensure you get the right coverage at an affordable rate.

Give us a call today to learn more about our reputable and reliable insurance services.  One of our agents will be happy to review your existing policy or recommend a new policy that is right for your winter weather coverage needs. 


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