Be prepared for winter storms
We were hoping not to tackle this subject until next month, but the Arctic blast that affected millions from Chicago to Texas and brought record-low temperatures so early this winter, had many of us turn to our renter’s insurance to check coverage in case of winter-related hazards.
Rest assured, NOAA’s winter weather outlook predicted above-average temperatures throughout the country for the entire season, but due to winter storms’ unpredictable nature, it’s never too early to check how prepared your home is to deal with snow, ice and freezing rain.
As a rule of thumb, structural property damages (such as building walls or the roof) are your landlord’s responsibility.
What about the following scenarios?
Melting snow (Most likely)
If you live in a single-family home, check your roof periodically for ice and snow buildups and try to keep gutters clean so that melting snow doesn’t find its way inside.
Your renter’s insurance will likely cover the damage if snow leaks through the ceiling but won’t cover roof damage.
Make sure you also shovel the snow around your home foundation as quickly as possible to prevent water from entering your basement, since flooding is not covered by most insurances.
Frozen pipes (Yes, with some exceptions)
This may be a preventable problem, so when you leave your apartment for a longer period of time, don’t turn off the heat and check that the furnace is working properly. Always take appropriate precautions so that your home remains warm while you are away.
Another way to prevent pipes from freezing when the air is very cold is to keep bath and kitchen cabinet doors open so that warm air circulates around pipes.
Hail and strong winds (Most likely)
Although rare, hail and strong winds can break windows and expose the interior, in which case your insurance will take care of the damage.
Power outage (Not really)
Power outage usually doesn’t make your apartment uninhabitable, so loss of use insurance won’t generally apply. The only instance in which your insurance may make an exception is if power outage is the result of an object (like a tree) falling on the power lines that connect to your building.
Personal injury (Yes)
If your lease says that you’re responsible for maintaining sidewalks and stoop free of ice and snow, then if someone slips or falls while they are on your property, your insurance will pay the medical bills.
Stay safe this winter season!