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Winter months often increase the risks of a variety of claim situations. Being proactive can help reduce the chances of having an accident or loss.

  • Cleanup snow and ice promptly to avoid liability. Property owners are liable for injuries that happen due to snow and ice build-up on their property...this includes the public sidewalk in front of your home or business. 
  • Watch for ice dams and take prevention steps. Last year, New England’s severe winter resulted in record ice dam related claims. Takings steps of keeping gutters clean, adding insulation and ensuring proper airflow  in attics, and sealing heat leaks are key prevention measures. Removing  snow from your roof after a storm using a snow rake also helps in prevention. 
  • Locate main water shut off and know how it works. If a pipe bursts, you need to quickly stop the water flow. Be sure other family members know this information, too!
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both day and night. The tactic of reducing the temp when not home can save energy and heating costs, but vulnerable pipes may freeze if you set it too low. Keep the house heated to a minimum of 65 degrees to help prevent pipes inside walls from freezing. In extreme cold, paying a little more for heat could avoid burst pipes.
  • Keep garage doors closed. If your garage is attached to your home, keeping the doors closed especially if there are water supply lines in the garage. Don't invite cold into your house.
  • Open hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip. Keeping the water moving will help prevent freezing and helps prevent pressure build up if pipes do freeze. Keep cabinet doors open to allow more warmth around pipes in vulnerable areas.
  • Install an emergency pressure release valve on your plumbing system, which can help prevent pipes from bursting.
  • Consider wrapping problem pipes with UL approved heat tape that has a built-in thermostat to prevent overheating. Follow instructions carefully to keep from causing a fire hazard. Don't make solving one problem cause another one.
  • Take action if you discover frozen pipes. Take measures to thaw them. Call a licensed plumber for assistance.
  • Consider installing systems that can alert you to heating system malfunctions and accumulations of water. Some systems even have remote notification capability.
  • Pay close attention to fireplaces, woodstoves and electric heaters. Make sure they are in proper working order. Close the fireplace flue when not in use.
  • Check smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detectors. If a fire or a heating system malfunctions, detectors can be the difference between life and death as well as help to minimize a loss by early detection.
  • Have a neighbor or friend check your house regularly if you are away. Finding a problem such as heating issue or frozen pipes early can help prevent or reduce damage.

Snow on roofIf you have a loss situation occur, call Murphy Insurance as soon as you can. An insurance adjuster doesn’t need to see a spill before you take action, but he/she will want to inspect any damage. Taking photos to document damage can be helpful.


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The information provided in these articles are only general descriptions and should not be relied upon as complete, correct or accurate for your specific situation. All coverage informaiton is subject to policy provisions, endorsements and may be  subject to your meeting underwriting qualifications. Murphy Insurance Agency is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other noninsurance professional services. Consult an appropriate professional for advice regarding your own situation.