When winter turns our world into an enormous snow globe, contradictory thoughts cross our minds and mixed feelings seize our hearts. The magic beauty of ice and snow is undeniably charming and provokes happy memories of snowball fighting and snowman building, skating and sledging, all the carefree fun activities only winter can provide. What matters even more – winter is associated with the coziness and affection kindled by cheerful fireplaces and the festivity and family reunions brought by the holiday season. However, the ruthless Snow Queen rules over the realm of frost and cold and makes ominous plans to unleash chilling winter storms upon the world. So, if you are not properly prepared, instead of bringing fun and cheers, winter may cause severe damage to your property.
How To Prepare For A Winter Storm
If you are prudent enough, you can prevent most of the eventual winter storm damage. Here are several common-sense tricks on how to prepare your home to effectively withstand snow storms, freezing rain and chilly winds:
Provide quality insulation for your home – make sure that the roof and the walls are in good condition. You may install storm windows or even weather-strip doors and provide additional layers of insulation wherever possible. Your fortress should be properly insulated before winter arrives;
- Provide alternative heating methods – electricity or gas supply could be cut off during a blizzard, so be sure to have an alternative heat source – a fireplace or coal stoves, etc. Store sufficient fuel and keep it safe and dry;
- Install smoke alarms and ensure proper ventilation – take precautions, because fire hazards increase drastically with the flames burning in the fireplaces and the power systems overloaded by all the heaters turned on;
- Keep pipes from freezing – wrap pipes in newspapers or rags to provide some protection and let faucets drip a little. Hair dryers are very useful and can provide a solution if the pipes are frozen;
- Ensure proper drainage – keep downspouts and catch basins clear of debris and maintain the plumbing system in perfect condition so that the water from the melting ice and snow can easily find its way out and away of your property;
- Trim bushes and trees – if you have a yard, make sure no branches spread dangerously near the house. You may also want to consider snow fences to prevent snow from drifting too much and blocking the access to your house;
- Clear snow away – use any chance to remove snow and ice from the roof and eavesdrops to prevent collapsing and clear accumulated snow away from the foundations of the house to lower the risk of flooding;
- Plan for a storm – supply whatever you need to survive at least a week without deliveries: medicines, non-perishable food and bottled water, warm clothes and extra blankets, batteries and candles, etc.
- Insure your property – if it comes to winter storm damage restoration, you will be truly grateful for any penny you have spent on proper insurance.
What To Do If Your Property Suffers A Winter Storm Damage
Even if the blizzard was so destructive that damage occurred to your home regardless of all the preventive measures you had taken, there is no room for panic. Just keep your wits about you and make no hasty decisions. Assess the situation carefully and act accordingly to put your property back in shape as soon as possible.
First, ensure the safety of all family members – make sure no one enters a damaged area in a desperate attempt to rescue some of your household items. Remember that no property loss is even remotely comparable to having a loved one injured. Find a shelter where everyone will be safe and warm – it can be an intact room in your home or a neighbor’s, friend’s or relative’s place if the damage was extensive or some danger (such as fire hazard) lurks in your residence.
Contact your insurance agent immediately after the storm is over. Have a representative of the company come over for estimates at the earliest opportunity and ask for required documents. Provide all the relevant information and gather convincing evidence of the ruins caused by the winter storm.
Take photos and videos of any water damage inside your home or wind damage on the outside, before you have touched anything. Rescue your provisions from the basement or your belongings from a flooded room before they are completely ruined. Then, make the necessary repairs to prevent further damage by draining water, covering broken windows, block leakages, etc. However, do not begin permanent restoration work until you have come to an agreement with your insurance company concerning the repair cost coverage.
Keep all receipts – for materials and services, even for unexpected expenses and for the temporary repair work. Check carefully what your insurance policy covers exactly.
If the damage to your home is substantial, you will have to find temporary housing for the duration of the repair works. Recovering from winter storm damage will be difficult, if not impossible, while heavy snowfall and blizzards continue. You may have to wait until spring to fully restore your property and your daily routine. So, find a comfortable living space and keep the receipts for all the expenses during the period spent away from home.
What Damage Is Covered?
Typical policies cover damage caused by fallen trees and other falling objects, as well as wind damage, primarily because there is no effective way to prevent those. A collapse caused by accumulation of snow and ice will also be provided for by your insurance company, but some controversial issues may arise here, regarding your ability to clear the snow away and avoid the disaster. Frozen pipes or any other damage due to supposed negligence on your part will probably not be covered.
Interior water damage when the roofs and the walls are intact, as well as damage caused by water that backed up in sewers is not compensated for by standard insurance policies. Coverage may or may not be extended to water-damaged electronics depending on several factors – you need to research every specific case.
Anyway, prudence and timely measures are your best ally against severe damage to your property. Regardless of how good an insurance plan you have, better prepare well to avoid any trouble if possible. Recovery from winter storm damage is a long and tedious task that will surely steal the charm of the winter season away from you. So, learn how to protect your warm and cozy home from the snowy charges of Jack Frost and enjoy the unique enchantment of winter.