Find home insurance and stay protected from winter weather damage

Cold weather can lead to myriad home problems, experts say. Home insurance is a must-have in colder climes

Taking precautions when the thermostat dips can go a long way towards preventing ice damage and other problems, experts say.

Many homeowners may not know about the risk of ice damming, for example. It occurs when gutters freeze and melted water has nowhere to go; the water is forced into walls and ceilings, potentially causing catastrophic damage.

Keeping gutters free of leaves and debris can help prevent ice damming, the Insurance Information Institute says. If an ice dam does form, a housing technology expert at the University of Minnesota said to the Worthington Daily Globe recently, homeowners should call in a professional to deal with it.

The III also advises homeowners to keep their homes heated to at least 65 degrees. To prevent pipes from freezing - which would necessitate a costly repair - cabinets that contain pipes should be left open, especially at night. People in older homes may want to leave their taps slightly open at night to maintain a flow of water.

And, says III media relations vice president Michael Barry, "Everyone should also know how to shut their home's water system off."

Home insurance does cover damage incurred by burst pipes and other winter weather disasters. But a bit of foresight can keep a homeowner from having to file an insurance claim at all.

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Posted: January 18, 2010

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