Weatherproofing your property

During the winter, weather is notorious for wreaking havoc on properties and causing damage. Snow, ice and high winds can cause an array of problems that can be costly and cause homeowners to file claims with their insurance companies. Over time, having many claims can cause premiums to rise. To reduce the homeowners insurance claims and costs, there are a few things homeowners can do to weatherproof their properties:

Gutters
Believe it or not, gutters pose one of the biggest risks for property damage during the winter. When leaves and other debris are trapped in gutters, it is harder for water to drain properly. When the temperature reaches the freezing point, trapped water will freeze and could create cracks along the side of the home. This could lead to leaks when the water starts to unfreeze. To ensure that gutters don't create major problems and damage that could lead to an insurance claim, homeowners should spend time at the end of the fall to clean out their gutters. Once large debris is cleared, it can also be a good idea to use a hose to run water through the gutter and check for leaks that could damage the roof.

Exterior pipes
Frigid temperatures can have a horrible effect on pipes, causing any water inside to freeze and expand. In some cases, frozen pipes will explode and homeowners may be faced with major repairs and expenses. To make sure this doesn't happen, homeowners should inspect the pipes in their home or have a professional take a look before the winter hits. When the weather starts to turn cold, exterior faucets and hoses need to be turned off and stored inside. Exposed plumbing that is either outdoors or not insulated properly is most vulnerable to freezing. Even if pipes are indoors or insulated, leaks that can allow cold air to come in can pose a problem. Checking for drafts and applying caulk or insulate tape can help reduce this risk.

Outdoors
If there are several tree surrounding a home, there is a chance that the weight of snow or ice could cause large branches to snap. If there are low-hanging or large branches over a roof or electrical wires, trimming these before winter hits can protect a home from damage. In addition, a homeowner should inspect any outbuildings from the home such as cellars and sheds. Windows and doors to these areas should be secured and any potential threats assessed.

Basement
While most homeowners insurance policies don't cover flood insurance, some homeowners may choose to get this additional coverage. Every year, millions of homes will experience some damaging flooding. Waterproofing basements can greatly reduce damage, expenses and insurance claims. The best way to waterproof a basement is to have a professional do it. While it may cost some money, waterproofing can save homeowners money in the long run by preventing damage. Some insurance companies may even offer discounts to homeowners who have made an effort to waterproof their property.

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