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Is Your Home Prepared for a Wild Winter?
The 2015 Farmers’ Almanac predicts “copious amounts of snow and rain” over the eastern third of the country. In fact, along the Atlantic Seaboard, active wintry weather is expected for the first 10 days of January and the first week of February with bouts of heavy snow and strong winds. With a relatively mild autumn in many parts of the country, now is a good time to take steps to winter-proof your home and make sure that you have the right type and amount of insurance.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage and freezing account for almost 22 percent of all homeowners insurance claims, averaging $4,024 per claim. In fact, winter storms are the third-largest cause of catastrophe losses, causing $1.9 billion in insured losses in 2013, according to Munich Re.
Standard homeowners and renters policies cover winter-related disasters such as burst pipes, ice dams and wind damage caused by weight of ice or snow, as well as fire-related losses. Coverage for flooding is available from the National Flood Insurance Program and from some private insurance companies.
Flooding related to snow melting can overburden sewer systems, causing raw sewage to back up into the drains in your home. Backed up sewers can wreak havoc, causing thousands of dollars in damage to floors, walls, furniture and electrical systems. Sewer back-up is not covered under a typical homeowners or renters insurance policy, nor is it covered by flood insurance. This type of coverage must be purchased either as a separate product or as an endorsement.