According to the Insurance Information Institute, winter results in billions of dollars in damages to homes each year from burst pipes, chimney fires, water damage and other hazards. General Casualty offers tips to reduce these dangers (and resulting insurance costs).

  • Inspect and professionally clean your fireplace chimney and furnace annually. Check inside of chimney for creosote buildup, a shiny black coating that can lead to chimney fires.
  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms in the winter when house fires are more common.
  • Prevent damage to pipes and future costly repairs. Wrap pipes with heating tape and check for leaks. Insulate unfinished rooms containing exposed pipes. Remove hoses from exterior faucets, turn off water and cover exposed spigots.
  • Clean and repair gutters. Remove debris and check gutter joints for cracks. Keeping gutters clean allows melting snow and ice to flow freely and prevents water damage. Gutter guards help prevent clogs.
  • Make sure heating systems are working properly. Setting the thermostat at 65 degrees or higher helps prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
  • Trim trees and remove dead branches. Ice, snow and wind can cause weak trees or branches to break and damage your home or car or injure someone on your property.