Don’t Let Your Home Insurance Company Freeze You Out of Winter Coverage

Many homeowners assume that if something bad were to happen to their property, their homeowners insurance will automatically cover the damage. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Your insurance coverage can be voided if you do not take the necessary steps to protect your home from the elements.

Aside from the threat of a hurricane in the summer and fall months, winter is the most problematic season for homeowners in New Jersey. The freezing temperatures, howling winds and heavy snowstorms can wreak havoc on your home, and your insurer will expect you to take basic precautions to prepare accordingly. Every fall, you should do the following – not just to protect your home, but also to protect your insurance coverage should you need to file a claim stemming from winter weather.

Winterize Your Plumbing

Frozen pipes are the most common and immediate threat in winter. If you do not “winterize” your plumbing system and the pipes burst from freezing over, your insurance company can deny your claim. Therefore, it’s absolutely crucial that you have a clear winterization plan. Typically, the steps are to:

  1. Shut off the main valve.
  2. Shut off the gas or electrical supply to the boiler and heater.
  3. Open all taps and drain valves.
  4. Blow excess water out of all pipes.
  5. Drain water tanks.
  6. Open all faucets and flush all toilets.
  7. Add antifreeze to any areas where you are not able to remove all water.
  8. Make a checklist and do a walkthrough to ensure you didn’t miss anything.

Many people also wrap insulation sleeves and heat tape around their pipes for extra protection. If you are not confident in your ability to winterize your plumbing, just about every local plumber offers a winterization service.

Leave Plumbing Problems to a Plumber

Speaking of plumbers, if your pipes do freeze, don’t take a chance at exacerbating the problem by trying to clear it yourself. Call a professional and let them handle it. Some insurance companies will reject a claim if they find that the homeowner took matters into their own hands knowing they lacked expertise and risked further damage.

Turn Off the Water Supply When You’re Away

If you own a secondary residence in NJ and will be away for more than two weeks (which many Shore owners are) in winter, it’s best to turn off the water supply to avoid frozen pipes. If you do not have a readily accessible water shutoff, consider adding one. The same goes for your primary residence if you wstrongl be away for the holidays or heading down south for the season. Many insurers actually offer discounts to homeowners who agree to shut their water off whenever they will be away for a specified number of days (usually 7-10 days).

Review Your Policy

Anderson Insurance Agency is here to help you find the best and most affordable insurance policy for your home. If you are unsure of what’s covered in your policy during winter, or if you are seeking an additional policy such as flood insurance or boat insurance, contact Andy Anderson at aanderson@aiainsure.com or call (800) 444-8507.