With freezing temperatures, snow, and ice, winter is officially here. We can look forward to dangerous roads and sniffling noses. Winter is also a peak insurance season. The winter season is the time for the costliest claims for home and car owners. Wind damage, hail, frozen pipes, ice damage, and slips and falls top the list for the most frequent insurance claims during the winter months. So try to avoid the surprises and be prepared. The extreme elements increase the chance of illness, damage to homes and automobiles, so it is essential to review your insurance before any illness or accident occurs.
There is an old wives tale that if you go out into cold weather, it will make you sick. Staying inside during the winter months is what will make you sick. Illnesses such as the flu, respiratory syncytial virus, and strep throat are common in the winter months because in the winter people spend more time indoors while in close contact with each other. The more time spent inside in close quarters with others increases the chances of picking up germs and getting sick. Protecting yourself this winter is vitally important, so here are a few tips to help you stay safe this winter:
- Stay indoors during storms
- Walk carefully on snowy and icy walkways
- Stay dry
- Avoid overexertion
- Take a vitamin supplement
Insurance companies strongly recommend that you prepare your home for winter storms. Remember to be aware of what your insurance policy will cover in the event of damage. Ways to ready your home for cold weather include:
- Insulate your walls and attic, and caulk and weather-strip all doors and windows.
- Clean the gutters, disconnect the water hoses, and consider shutting off the outside water valves.
- Repair any roof leaks.
- Remove any tree branches that can be weighted down by snow and fall on your house.
- Wrap the water pipes in your basement or crawl space with insulation.
- Keep the fireplace flue closed when not in use.
- Make sure your home’s heating vents remain unblocked.
- Keep a slow trickling stream of water running through faucets.
- Insulate the attic flooring to minimize heat rising from within your home.
The Department of Transportation estimates that 22% of all vehicle accidents in the U.S. are due to severe weather such as snow, sleet, ice, and rain. It is vital to prepare your car for the often-dangerous road conditions that exist during the winter months. As the temperatures begin to fall, keep these pointers in mind:
- Only drive if necessary, and then try to operate your car during the day.
- Do not travel alone and make sure others are aware of your schedule.
- Drive on the main roads and try to avoid shortcuts.
- Before driving, top off fluids such as antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, gas, and oil.
- Check the tread on your tires and consider using snow tires if applicable.
- Clear all snow from the top of your car, the headlights, and the windows.
- Keeping salt or sand in the trunk of the car will help for gaining traction and for melting ice.
- Keep the contact numbers of your insurance agent and towing service in your cell phone.
- Assemble a cold-weather kit for your car that includes items such as blankets, a pair of gloves, hard candy, bottled water, folding shovel, first aid kit, flashlight, and a cell phone charger.
If you become trapped in a vehicle during a winter storm, here are a few steps to take to help you stay safe:
- Remain inside the car as it will be easier for rescuers to locate you.
- Run your engine and heater for 10 minutes every hour.
- Move around to maintain heat.
- Take turns sleeping so someone will be awake to alert rescuers.
- Drink fluids to avoid dehydration.
Stay Warm And Be Prepared
The winter months can take a severe toll upon your health, your home, and your automobile. Although illness and property damage occur during all seasons, the winter is particularly harsh. That snow, ice, and rain can bring much more than discomfort. Insurers want you to stay healthy and safe this winter so make sure you take the necessary steps they recommend for protecting your health, home, and automobile