Winter insurance claims happen with different frequency, and for different reasons, than claims in other seasons of the year.
Spring and summer bring thunderstorms, tornadoes, heavy rain and wildfires. Hurricane season lasts until November 30th.
In Autumn and Winter, people begin to think about staying warm. So, heating-related insurance claims rise in frequency, like
• Central heating systems – be sure you have a Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC) contractor come check out your heating system to prevent fires that are caused by system malfunctions.
• Fireplaces – who doesn’t like the scene of a quiet, romantic fire in the fireplace? But before you build that first fire, have a chimney sweep clean the chimney. It will help prevent chimney fires, which are terribly destructive. Logs in the firebox can also roll out onto the floor, and flying sparks can start fires which can spread to the whole house. So make sure that you use a firescreen or some other fireguard for protection.
• Heating Appliances – I’m talking about kerosene and propane heaters, electric baseboard heaters, portable electric heaters...even electric blankets. Remember that when you pull these appliances out to be used, they haven’t been used for months. Take the time to check them carefully. Look at electrical cords and plugs, heating elements, and fuel reservoirs. Make sure everything works safely. Also remember that these appliances should not be left on for extended periods of time, nor placed near flammable goods.
Take the danger out of keeping warm by practicing simple safety measures.
The opposite of heating claims is the frozen pipe loss. Cold temperatures can cause plumbing systems to burst, causing water damage that can be as extensive as a fire claim. For those who live in the North and spend their winters in the South, please take extra precautions that heat remains on in your northern house while you're away. Have someone check on your house weekly.
What about winter transportation? Slippery and icy roads make driving hazardous. Here are a couple tips about driving in winter:
• Drive a little slower.
• Keep more distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. Stopping distances are much longer on slippery roads.
• Turn your headlights on every time you use the car. Daytime running lights increase your visibility by about 70%.
Winter doesn’t have to include an insurance claim for you! Be safe and be aware of the perils around you. Then, you can enjoy winter with peace of mind!
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