Preparing a house for winter can reduce homeowners' insurance claims

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Homeowners should winterproof their houses to reduce homeowners' insurance claims, suggests the Insurance Information Institute.

Water damage and freezing accounted for 22 percent of all claims in 2007, the III says, adding that the average claim for water damage and freezing was $5,531. Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the III, noted that standard policies cover "winter-related disasters such as burst pipes, ice dams and wind damage caused by weight of ice or snow."

Of course, winter is the worst time to need home repairs: cold-weather damage to a house's structure, heating system or plumbing will render the house unlivable. In the case of winter home preparation, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of treatment.

To that end, the III says, homeowners should clean out gutters to ensure that water moves away from their property. Trimming trees will prevent damage caused by falling branches; sealing cracks will make a home warmer and keep water out. And having the plumbing and heating systems serviced will lessen the chance that they will fail. Prudent steps taken in the fall can prevent homeowners' insurance claims in winter.

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Posted: November 02, 2009

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