Insurance Tips for Winter Weather

Real Iowans don’t mind the winter weather one bit. We know the secrets to surviving the brutal cold: taco pizza, scotcharoos, cinnamon whiskey (in moderation, of course), and the power of positive thinking.

Planning ahead is another key to weathering the winter. We Iowans are ants, not grasshoppers, so we get everything we need in place before the first snowflake falls. But even the most self-sufficient Hawkeye often forgets that winter preparation also means getting their insurance in order! So without further adieu, here are our own insurance tips for winter weather.

Mind Your Circuits

Your electrical system does yeoman’s work during the coldest months of the year. Space heaters, heated blankets, Christmas lights, and more time using the electric range all add up to increased power consumption.

Unfortunately, this can spell big trouble if you’re not careful. Faulty equipment and human error constitute the leading causes of electricity outages in the state of Iowa. In addition to regular preventative maintenance, taking care not to overload your circuits is a good way to avoid losing your power during the winter. It’s also crucial to preventing house fires, which claimed 24 lives in our state during the year 2020 alone.

House fires occur most frequently during the winter. If you haven’t yet, please make certain your homeowners policy protects you in the event of that tragedy, and also ask your provider which conditions you’re protected under. You may currently have inadequate coverage against so common a disaster!

Prevent Ice Dams

Ice dams stop meltwater from draining off the roof. Water flows down the path of least resistance, which means an ice dam is going to force water to penetrate your roof and ultimately seep into your interior walls.

Preventing ice dam formation is crucial to avoiding costly damage from water infiltration. Ensuring that your attic is adequately ventilated can accomplish this, as can insulating your attic so that excessive heat does not escape through your roof.

Despite your best efforts, an ice dam may form to jeopardize your home anyway. That’s why you want to check ahead of time whether your homeowners policy covers all forms of water damage – not just flooding.

Insulate Your Pipes

When water freezes, it expands. And if that water happens to be inside your plumbing, its pipes will burst – a mishap a plumber might charge as much as $2,000 to repair.

We believe you can find better uses for your money than replacing plumbing you already own, which is why you should make sure your pipes are well-insulated against winter’s surliest temperatures. You may want to let a steady dribble of hot water run from your taps on especially frigid days, as that will thaw any unwelcome ice forming in your plumbing.

Homeowners policies typically cover damage from burst plumbing, but they are seldom all-encompassing. If you were aware of and failed to address a plumbing issue before it resulted in water damage, then you may not receive coverage!

Prepare for Snow

Iowa isn’t the snowiest state in the union. Vermont holds that honor, which is their consolation for always getting mixed up with New Hampshire. But Iowa is not too deprived of the white stuff – Des Moines got bombarded by nearly 20 inches on New Year’s Day in 1942!

Heavy snow can be catastrophic for a homeowner. While fresh and fluffy snow is seldom dense enough to exert excessive pressure against a roof, just two feet of wet, thickly packed snow can potentially collapse a roof. This is why roof raking after every significant amount of snowfall is so essential!

A heavy blizzard may always lurk around the corner, so you want to ensure your homeowners insurance policy covers you in the event of snow damage to your home’s roof and frame. And if your roof does collapse to let snow into your house, be certain to shovel it out immediately. Many homeowners policies do not cover water damage that results from interior snowmelt.

Remove Dead Trees

Another reason to look at your homeowners insurance, Iowa is not the most tree-laden state, either. Forest covers only 7% of our beautiful patch of prairie, but you’ve likely got a tree or two in your yard. Unfortunately, these could pose a threat to your home during heavy winds or snowstorms.

Dead trees must go away for obvious reasons, but healthy trees’ branches should also be pruned if they hover over any part of your roof (and your neighbor’s roof as well). As always, consult your insurance provider so you know whether your homeowners policy covers treefall. Be forewarned that many policies don’t cover damage from trees that were very obviously dead or improperly maintained preceding the incident!

As one of Iowa’s leading homeowners insurance providers, the Hoffman Agency is standing by to answer any questions you might have about protecting your property in the wintertime. We’re just as ready to tailor the comprehensive homeowners policy that will safeguard your home all year long. Please contact us today – speaking with us is a great way to pass the time on a dreary winter day!