Tips to Protect Yourself From Weather Losses

For residents of the East Coast, the winter of 2014-15 served up some of the snowiest and coldest conditions on record.

For insurance companies, this was also one of the costliest seasons on record – more costly in fact than Superstorm Sandy.

The majority of homeowners’ losses were the result of ice dams and frozen pipes, many of which could have been prevented.

Below are some tips from PURE to help you mitigate winter weather-related risks:

  1. Fortify an unoccupied home
    Risk: Homeowners who are away from home at the time of a loss are at greater risk of devastating damage due to a delayed response. In fact, PURE saw that members who were away from home when a loss occurred experienced more than four times the amount of damage from burst pipes.
    Recommendations: Install a whole-house leak detection system that includes an automatic water shut-off option. These devices, such as Leak Defense System, can detect abnormalities in a pipe’s water flow and automatically shut off the water supply-preventing a major loss from occurring. Smart thermostats, like Nest, can remotely alert homeowners of any temperature changes that could lead to a frozen or burst pipe.
  2. Address uninsulated pipes
    Risk: During periods of extreme temperatures, uninsulated pipes are at high risk for freezing and bursting. The risk is increased because these pipes are often located in unheated spaces, like the attic.
    Recommendations: Pipes in unheated areas, along with all exposed surfaces (like tees and valves) should be properly insulated with flexible closed cell polyethylene or elastomeric insulation or wrapped in self-regulating heat cable. Both can be found at most home improvements stores for around $5 each. Attics should also be adequately insulated and ventilated.


As always, If you haven’t reviewed your insurance in quite some time, it would be a good idea to make sure your house has adequate protection, in case of winter weather-related emergencies. Stay safe and warm out there!