Winterize your home

Your home insurance may be more necessary in the winter because of the many hazards associated with colder temperatures. Whether it's insuring your family or the guests you've invited over, it's best to take preventative measures when dealing with winter conditions like snow, ice and hail. If there are any damages or accidents related to your home, then you'll probably have to file an insurance claim. Over the course of a few months, claims may be more likely.

However, an uptick in claims could lead to a rate hike, which you should avoid at all costs. To keep from paying more for your homeowners insurance, winterize your home by following these tips:

Insulate pipes
Winter can take a heavy toll on your plumbing system. The water inside your pipes can freeze and expand, which will cause pipes to burst open. Not only will this lead to a significant amount of water damage, but your utility costs will rise as well because of the extra waste of water. You can secure a foam insulation around the exterior of your pipes so that the cold doesn't affect the temperature of the water within your plumbing. This is an inexpensive way to prevent damages and insurance claims.

Shovel away snow
After a snowfall, you'll want to clear as much snow away as you can. This should include walkways, driveways, carports and doorsteps. If a guest slips and falls while on your property, you could have a lawsuit on your hands. Not only does shoveling snow protect you from an insurance claim, but it also helps you when pulling out of the garage.

Use salt on sidewalks
Underneath the snow may lie a sheet of ice. Use rock salt to help prevent ice from forming around your home. Even if it's not directly on your property, for your safety and the safety of others in your neighborhood, throwing salt on the ground is important.

Clean gutters routinely
When winter hits, leaves, sticks, insects and other debris could be trapped in your gutters. If these items aren't removed, then a blockage could be created. When you add in snow and ice, the flow of water through your gutters can be redirected to flow inside your home. This is a completely avoidable predicament and can be remedied by checking your gutters frequently throughout fall and winter. Rather than file a claim to fix the problem, proper maintenance is a more appropriate solution.

Protect roof
Make sure your roof is in good shape before winter arrives. Check shingles, flashing and caulking to see if there is any damage present. If there are any holes or cracks in your roof, melted snow and ice can easily leak into your home, possibly leading to an insurance claim.

Watch for fire
Whether your heating system relies on gas or electric, the chance for fire is higher in the winter. Additionally, fireplaces and unkept chimneys may facilitate the possibility of a house fire. Keep all items in your home away from water heaters as well because the unit itself will be very hot when in use.

By looking out for your home, you are making an important safety decision. Insurance companies are not always privy to the conditions of people's homes. However, they will be aware of the number of claims you file. Keeping your home protected and prepared for winter will insulate you from an increase in your homeowners insurance premiums.

Speak with your insurance agent for more ways to avoid rate hikes this winter.

CoverHound provides insurance quotes to millions of homeowners in the U.S.

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