In light of our visit from Juno this week, and the the forecast moving forward telling us there is more snow potentially coming our way, we thought it would be appropriate and helpful to make a blog post about winter weather tips. It includes some things that you should check up on now that Juno has passed to make sure your house is safe, and it also includes some tips to prepare for some more potentially severe winter weather in the coming weeks and beyond.
We hope you enjoy and find it helpful, and if you have any specific questions please contact your agent!
Winter Weather Guide
Winter in Maine can bring with it any number of precarious conditions—icy roads, downed power lines, whiteout snowfall—and it can be hard to predict what damages may be uncovered in the aftermath of a storm. We hope to provide you with an overview of the weather-related risks that are unique to Maine winters, and give you some easy tips for keeping your property safe and protecting those you care about. It’s easy to take winter precautions for granted, as winter can also be a fun season to get outdoors and enjoy time with our families, but unforeseen damages caused by heavy snow, burst pipes, and more can leave you scrambling to find whether or not your insurance policy has you covered.
Overview of Maine’s Wintertime Risks
We all know how unpredictable Maine’s weather can be. One day, we’ve got highs in the mid-50s—the next day, a blizzard. There’s no doubt that if you’re reading this now, you’ve likely stuck it out for your fair share of snow. However, even the hardiest Maine winter veterans can make costly mistakes when it comes to dealing with winter’s uncertainty.
Some of the major risks of winter are the obvious ones: hypothermia, black ice, frozen pipes, slippery walkways, and power loss (especially for the elderly). Others can be less obvious, such as carbon monoxide inhalation from blocked heater vents or indoor generator usage, and roof collapse from heavy snowfall and water damage from roof leakage. Now that you know your risks, here are some warning signs and tips to keep you safe from them all winter.
• Clear snow from dampers and outside vents to allow exhaust to escape
• Make sure carbon monoxide detectors in your home are working properly
• Ensure that snow doesn’t build up on your roof by safely removing snow or hiring snow removal experts
• Check for water pipes in unheated areas (basements, exterior walls) and ensure pipes are well insulated.
• Check tire treads and, if necessary, replace with snow tires
• Shovel and salt walkways and stairways
• Never run a generator in an enclosed space
• Inspect and clean your fireplaces and chimneys, and check smoke detectors regularly
When it comes to preparing yourself in the winter, every property and every insurance policy is different. Think about the risks that may apply to your property, and make a note of whether or not you’re positive about your coverage. Insurance claims can be complex in some cases, especially when multiple parties are involved. For instance, say a neighbor’s tree limb that extends over your property becomes overburdened with snow and lands on the hood of your car. Are you covered? Who is at fault? Issues like this are very specific to your property and policy, and may warrant a conversation with your insurance agent. If you’re unclear about any aspect of your insurance policy, please give your agent a call today so that you don’t go through winter unprepared.