Every year, thousands of people in Missouri experience winter emergencies in their homes that cause damage, increased insurance claims, and even fatalities. Many of these emergencies are avoidable if you practice good wintertime home safety.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
Frozen pipes are a common winter problem with disastrous consequences. They can burst, flooding your property and causing extensive water damage. Prevent this by following these tips:
- During winter, never set your thermostat below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, even if you’re not home.
- Install a fresh thermostat battery at the start of the winter season, and check the battery status midway through the winter.
- Insulate pipes that are in colder areas of the home.
- In cold snaps, open cabinet doors under sinks, and leave your taps running with a tiny trickle of water to prevent ice buildup.
Check Your Roof
Ice isn’t just a problem for pipes. It can also cause roof problems. Ice damming can occur when snow melts on the roof and pools along the roofline, usually in clogged gutters. When meltwater has nowhere to go due to the ice dam, it can work its way into the home’s interior, causing water damage to the walls and ceiling.
Prevent ice damming by clearing your gutters of debris, like leaves and pine needles. Clear snow off your roof using a special long-handled brush made for working safely from the ground level, or hire a roofing company to do this.
Minimize Fire Hazards
Here are a few pointers to reduce house fires in winter:
- Check smoke detector batteries frequently and replace them often.
- Have your fireplace chimney inspected at the start of every cold-weather season. Only burn firewood. Have your chimney cleaned if you see heavy soot buildup or smoke isn’t drawing properly.
- Use a chimney cap to keep embers from escaping.
- Light candles with care, especially around kids and pets.
- Plug supplemental electric heaters directly into outlets, never an extension cord.
Increase Liability Protection
A slip-and-fall injury on your property can be devastating if someone wins a legal judgment for damages against you. While your home insurance offers liability protection, you can increase your coverage significantly by taking out an umbrella policy. Ask us how adding umbrella coverage can help give you peace of mind.
Take Extra Precautions on the Road in Wintertime
Driving in winter in Missouri can come with many hazards, between poor visibility, slippery roads, and other less careful motorists. Consider these tips to reduce the likelihood of problems:
- When road conditions worsen, stay home when possible.
- Slow down and give yourself more time to get to your destination in winter, even when the roads are clear.
- Use snow tires or chains when driving in snowy or icy conditions.
- Never talk on your mobile phone or text while driving.
- Consider taking a defensive driving course.
- Stay away from trucks and speeding motorists when possible.
- Carry emergency supplies in case you are stuck on the road in a storm.
- Select an auto insurance policy that includes roadside assistance if you drive a lot in winter.
Are your home and auto insurance policies adequate for challenging Missouri winters? Call Lang Insurance at 636-229-7000 and enjoy the personalized service and large selection of products our independent agents can offer you.