With most of the US experiencing freezing temperatures this month, you may be wondering what you can do to protect your assets. Of course, insurance is a great step in protecting yourself financially for damages to your most valuable possessions, but preventing any cold weather damage from occurring in the first place is even better. We’ve compiled some prevention and insurance tips for the winter cold to help you prepare for a cold spell.
Make Sure Your Policy is Up-To-Date
When the temperature outside nears zero, there’s a lot that can go wrong with your house, car and other assets. If one were to be damaged, you want to make sure you have adequate coverage. Examine your insurance policies so you know what’s covered and what isn’t, and review your limits to make sure you have enough coverage.
The holiday season has just passed, so you may need to review your personal property coverage and include some of the gifts you received. It’s also a new year, and changes that happened over the past year may not yet be reflected on your insurance policies. An annual review to make sure everything is correct and up-to-date will be helpful in the case of a claim.
Call your insurance agent to review your policies and get professional advice on updating them for 2018. You never know - maybe you qualify for more discounts this year!
Keep Your Home Warm
When it gets super cold, hoping for the best is not going to cut it in keeping your home safe. Keeping your home warm, however, will help to reduce your risk of freezing and bursting pipes. Your home should be heated to at least 65 degrees to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Seal up any cracks that let the cold air in and keep the doors within your home open to better circulate the warm air.
This is important even if you are renting, because it’s your stuff that would get damaged if your pipes burst. Though you wouldn’t be on the hook for fixing the pipes, the potential cost of water damage can be high if your stuff is nearby.
Warm Up Your Car
Freezing temperatures can be very hard on your car. To help combat the harsh weather, it is important to treat your car well in the cold.
When using your car in dangerously low temperatures, give a few minutes to warm up before driving. Turn it on and let it run before you get moving. Be sure to check that the tailpipe is clear while your car is running - carbon monoxide can be deadly!
To avoid any issues with freezing lines in your car, keep your gas tank half full. Also, remember to keep an emergency kit in your car in case you get stranded in the cold. This helpful list has a list of what your kit should include.
Check on Your Boat
If you’ve stored your boat for the winter, give it a once over every few weeks to ensure that it is stored properly. You’ll want to head off any problems before they get worse.
Before storing your boat, make sure to winterize your boat and to drain it or use antifreeze. If you’ve wrapped your boat for the winter season, check to make sure it is still securely wrapped and protected from the elements.
Check with your agent on what your boat insurance policy will cover in the off-season. Damage from freezing may not be covered since it would likely be due to improper maintenance - something you want to know before a cold snap.
Have Your Claims Information Handy
When temperatures drop really low or a big storm rolls in, damage becomes more likely. Just in case, make sure you have the correct information on hand should your prep fail and you experience damage and need to file a claim. The claims process can vary from insurer to insurer, so its important to have the right information when filing. You’ll want to have your current policy numbers and service numbers for each of your policies.
Call your agent so you don’t make any missteps during the claims process that could affect your coverage. Some insures will only cover repairs by certain parties, so call before you start any DIY projects.