CHICAGO - As the current arctic blast creates dangerous conditions for people and property across the eastern half of the country, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) urges homeowners and drivers to take a few simple steps to be prepared for this visit from Old Man Winter.
Although residents in the affected areas are no strangers to winter, these early season storms can cause havoc as the possibility of homeowners experiencing frozen pipes increases and drivers adjust to snowy, icy conditions.
“Frozen water pipes represent one of the biggest potential problem for homeowners in these extreme conditions,” said Frank O’Brien, vice president, state government relations for PCI. “However, even letting a trickle of water run through pipes exposed to the cold can help prevent them from freezing.”
PCI urges motorists to keep an emergency winter storm kit in their vehicles in case they are in an accident or get stuck and must wait for help in the cold. The winter storm kit should include a windshield scraper and small broom, flashlight with extra batteries, road salt, sand, or cat litter for traction, booster cables, emergency flares and reflectors, snack food, blankets and a first aid kit.
“As we begin the new year and face severe winter weather, this is good time to contact your insurance company or agent and review your policy,” said O’Brien. “Talk with your insurer about how your coverage works and if you experience damage, insurers are ready to work with you to minimize the inconveniences and help make the claims process go as smoothly as possible.”
Cold Weather Homeowners Tips
Heating equipment is a leading cause of home fire deaths. It is important to keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet from heating equipment (furnace, fireplace, wood stove, and portable heater).
Frozen water pipes represent the biggest potential problem for most homes. A little advance planning will usually prevent frozen pipes.
Insulate pipes, especially those leading to the outside, and plug holes around the pipes with insulation or spray-in foam. Make sure there is warm air flowing around pipes that are located near an outside wall. Check pipes under sinks to make sure they will get adequate heat.
Make sure there is clear access to the main water shut-off valve in case there is a leak or a pipe suddenly bursts.
More information is available at PCI’s Web site: www.pciaa.net/winterstormtips