Protect Your Home during Freezing Weather

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with TXINSURANCEPRO

This is a reprint of a blog post from my site.  To get more information, you can visit my site at www.txinsurancepro.com.

Home Insurance policies available in the state of Texas cover damage to your home from freezing. When reviewing your Texas Home Insurance Policy, remember that you have to pay a deductible before the insurance company pays for the damage to your home. For example, my Texas Home Insurance policy has a 1% deductible. If my dwelling limit is $140k, then my home insurance deductible is $1400. Any claim under $1400 is completely my responsibility.

As a homeowner, Texas Insurance policy require that you take proper precautions before freezing weather. Remember, sometimes it's better to avoid problems by taking preventive measures. In order to help you avoid damage from Frozen Pipes, we offer the tips below first published by the Texas Department of Insurance.

Before the Freeze

  • Protect faucets, outdoor pipes, and exposed pipes in unheated areas by wrapping them with rags, newspaper, trash bags, or plastic foam.
  • Insulate your outdoor water meter box and be sure its lid is on tight.
  • Cover any vents around your home's foundation.
  • Drain and store water hoses indoors.
  • Protect outdoor electrical pumps.
  • Drain swimming pool circulation systems or keep the pump motor running. (Run the pump motor only in a short freeze. Running the motor for long periods could damage it.)
  • Drain water sprinkler supply lines.
  • Open the cabinets under sinks in your kitchen and bathrooms to allow heated indoor air to circulate around the water pipes.
  • Set your thermostat at a minimum temperature of 55 degrees, especially when you're gone for the day or away for an extended period.
  • Let indoor faucets drip; it isn't necessary to run a stream of water.
  • Make sure you know where your home's shut-off valve is and how to turn it on and off.
  • If you leave town, consider turning off your water at the shut-off valve while faucets are running to drain your pipes. Make sure you turn the faucets off before you turn the shut-off valve back on.
  • If you drain your pipes, contact your electric or gas utility company for instructions on protecting your water heater.
  • If Your Pipes Freeze

    Contact your insurance agent or company promptly. Follow up as soon as possible with a written claim to protect your rights under Texas' prompt-payment law.

    Review your coverage. Most homeowners and renters policies pay for property repair. In addition, most policies pay for debris removal and for additional living expenses if you have to move temporarily because of damage to your home. If you can't find your policy, ask your agent or company for a copy.

    Homeowners policies may require you to make temporary repairs to protect your property from further damage. Your policy covers the cost of these repairs. Keep all receipts and damaged property for the adjuster to inspect. If possible, take photos or videos of the damage before making repairs. Don't make permanent repairs. An insurance company may deny a claim if you make permanent repairs before an adjuster inspects the damage.
    Most homeowners policies do not cover loss caused by freezing pipes while your house is unoccupied unless you used reasonable care to maintain heat in the building; shut off the water supply; and drain water from plumbing, heating, and air conditioning systems

    Information courtesy of Texas Department of Insurance

    Comments (2)

    Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
    MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
    Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

    Probably could have used this months ago...coming in late in the winter movie on this one.

    Feb 12, 2010 09:15 AM
    David Berry
    TXINSURANCEPRO - Farmers Branch, TX

    Thanks for your response Andrew.  You're absolutely right about this one.  I posted this a couple months ago for my Texas clients.  I'll try to be more proactive next year.  Stay dry and stay warm.

    Feb 12, 2010 09:23 AM