Winter Weather Can Wreak Havoc on Properties… and Insurance Programs

As the temperatures dip below freezing this time of year, a number of weather-related situations can result in property insurance losses. For example, frozen pipes and ice dams are two of the more common wintertime insurance claims that agents encounter.

However, did you know that insurance coverage for these types of situations can be excluded if certain requirements aren’t met? This is particularly important for individuals who own rental properties and are in-between renters or properties that are being rehabilitated.

For example, many rental property insurance forms cover losses stemming from freezing of a plumbing, heating, or air conditioning system as well as freezing of household appliances. The caveat is that this coverage applies only if heat has been maintained in the building or the water supply has been shut off and all systems and appliances have been drained of water.

There is also an additional exclusion in these types of insurance policies for constant or repeated seepage or leakage of water or steam over a period of weeks, months or years from one of the systems mentioned above.

With this in mind, it is important that property owners take care to maintain heat in their properties or shut off the water supply and drain all systems of water. If keeping the heat on is the preferred method, then it is important to complete periodic property inspections to ensure that there aren’t any leaks that could lead to the “constant or repeated seepage” exclusion.

Lastly, if your property has an awning or patio, make sure you know whether or not your policy covers losses to those items stemming from the weight of ice, snow or sleet. A lot of vacant dwelling policies exclude coverage for these particular situations, so don’t be caught off guard if bad weather hits your area.

Real estate can be a great investment but can also be a nightmare if it isn’t properly insured and/or insurance conditions aren’t properly met. Be sure to speak with one of The Uhl Agency team members to review your program and discuss what exclusions or limitations may apply to your property insurance policies.