May 18, 2024

Cold Weather Insurance Claims – Third Largest Cause of Catastrophic Claims in US

Frozen Plumbing

With winter setting in, the likelihood of having a major property damage claim goes way up according to Insurance Services Office (ISO).  In an article published on Dec 29 20111, by Denise Johnson on, ISO reported “almost $26billion in insured loss between 1991 and 2010.”

Winter storms, and the snow, ice, freezing cold and power outages that come with them can lead to many different types of insurance claims.

Weight of snow and ice – This is a covered peril on many homeowners, dwelling and commercial property policies.  When a storm drop large amounts of  snow and the roof caves in, there can be enormous amounts of damage as the snow crashed through the roof framing and into the living spaces.  Worse yet, that snow may soon start to melt, adding to the damages.  One of the things to consider with this kind of loss is some of the exclusions or reasons for denial of coverage.  “Rust, corrosion, fungus, decay, deterioration, any hidden or latent defects” are specific exclusions for most covered losses.  Determining whether or not these conditions apply may be the difference between a covered or denied claim.

Freezing of plumbing or related systems – If the heat goes out and pipes start freezing, huge water damage claims can result.  Many builders have also started putting water heaters in attics to save space in the garage and interior of the home.  Placing the water heater int he attic exposes it, and the pipes leading to and from it, to often extreme temperatures under normal conditions.  A 1/2″ water line under normal household pressure can put out up to 360 gallons per hours according to manufactures publications.  All of that water has to go somewhere, and many building materials and personal possessions may be damaged along the way.  And remember, unless the owner makes an effort to maintain heat in the building, or has shut off the water, the freezing of plumbing or related systems peril may not cover losses that occur while the residence is unoccupied.

Ice Damming – Ice damming occurs when snow and ice on the roof repeatedly melt and freeze and water works its way up and under the shingles.  As the water melts, it can works its way into the attic, ceiling and walls of a building causing damage that may go unnoticed for days or weeks.

Smoke and Fire Damage – As temperatures drop, many homeowners start up the wood stove or fireplace (or even the oil furnace).  These heating devices give off smoke, and when working properly, that smoke goes up the chimney and out of the home.  But when the are not working properly all of that smoke can come billowing into the home, leaving a layer of smoke and soot on building surfaces and personal property.  Many of these items do not clean easily and have to be professionally treated and cleaned.  Of course, in worst case scenarios, the device many fail altogether and a fire can result.

Winter is a good time of year to double check your insurance policy for how these damages might be handled in the event of a claim, a good time to think about how the weather is affecting your property and the perfect time to have that chimney cleaned and checked.

If catastrophe does strike, call our office and one of our Licensed Public Adjusters will review your claim at no cost and no obligation.

Remember, Our Success is Your Recovery!

Toll free – (855) – 757 – APLS

read Denise Johnson’s article here:

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