Safety Plans, Do They Really Work?

Now that we got a taste of winter already this year, we know it's time to prepare our homes and vehicles for the cold weather.

It's not just the scrapper that you will need in your vehicle. Make sure to include a first aid kit, a blanket and an extra phone charger. It also doesn't hurt to keep a couple hand warmers either. Did you know that carrying a bag of cat litter will not only weigh down your vehicle for the slippery roads, but it could also help you get our if you are stuck? Just spread the cat little in the front and back of the tires and it will provide you traction as well as help melt the snow.

Also, make sure you have plenty of window washer fluid. Having plenty of washer fluid will help with the dirty road splash from other vehicles and also help when ice forms on the windshields preventing good vision.

Did you know that the Farmer's Almanac is predicting this year's winter to be harsher than last year's? Winter storms are the third-largest cause of catastrophic losses to homes, according to the Insurance Information Institute. From melting snow to fires, they all can cause significant damage.

Ice damns can form at the edge of your roof and prevent water from draining properly. When this occurs, the water has nowhere to go but back up into your roof under the shingles causing damage to the wood decking. Extensive water can leak into your home which can damage to your ceiling, walls, and personal contents.  

To help prevent ice damns forming, here are some tips for you:

  • Check the attic insulation to make sure it has appropriate thickness.
  • Make sure there are no areas where air is leaking into the attic. This prevents warm air to escape causing the snow and ice to melt.
  • Clean out your gutters and make sure all leaves and other debris is removed to prevent clogs.

Fire is one of the leading causes of damage in the winter, most due to fireplace use. Other causes are from space heaters and people using torches or open flames to thaw frozen pipes.

To prevent fires from happening, here are some helpful hints for you:

  • Make sure to have your chimney and furnaces inspected annually.
  • If a space heater is being used, be sure to have the proper extension cords.
  • Have your ductwork inspected and cleaned annually. Buildup dust, lint and animal fur can be a fire risk.
  • Place appropriate wrap-on heat tape or insulation to protect the pipes from the cold air.

Most importantly, make sure that your smoke detectors are working properly and the batteries changed every 6 months. Also check to see if your carbon monoxide detector is working properly.

Frozen pipes can also cause extensive damage to floors, walls and ceilings. Be sure to open cupboard doors below sinks during frigid temperatures and check for leaking pipes. Also make sure to turn off your exterior water faucets. This can cause the pipes to burst.

Lastly, be sure to clear your porches and sidewalks of snow and ice. And don't forget those icicles. Some can create big beautiful artwork, but they need to be removed to prevent injury. Nobody wants to see their friends or family get hurt.

Corina Kretschmer

Commercial and Personal Insurance Advisor

Burlington Office