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Winter weather is a major cause of home insurance claims, group says

Damage caused by heavy rain, snow and ice results in a significant number of home insurance claims every year, the Insurance Information Institute says

Winter weather was the third-largest cause of home insurance claims in 2008, according to ISO.

Even though homeowners can do little to change the weather, there are steps a home insurance policyholder can take to reduce the risk of filing a claim at some point during the winter.

The Insurance Information Institute advises homeowners to keep their houses heated to at least 65 degrees to keep pipes from freezing. Opening cabinets where pipes are located ensures that the pipes won’t freeze overnight and cause catastrophic water damage.

Fireplaces and wood stoves must be carefully inspected at least once a year, as well, the Institute for Business & Home Safety counsels.

Sometimes a falling tree branch or ice storm can cause unpreventable damage to a home, though. If filing a claim is inevitable, III media relations vice president Michael Barry says, consumers who suffer losses “need to contact their insurance company or agent as soon as possible to start the claims filing process.”

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Posted: January 22, 2010

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