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Winter Safety and Insurance

Do you know what one of the worst ways to experience the effectiveness of your home insurance company’s claims process is? With the personal injury claim against you because someone slipped and fell on your walkway after a winter storm.

Okay, so maybe this isn’t the absolute worst way to get acquainted with the claims process, but we needed an interesting segue to introduce today’s topic – so we went for it.

Winter is right around the corner, and that means you need to start getting your home ready and safe for the cold, snowy months. While there are lots of things you should do inside to protect your pipes, furnace and whatnot, we’re actually going to talk about the outside of your house, because that affects your car insurance and your home insurance.

  1. Shovel and salt: When every fiber of your being is urging you to stay inside – nice and warm – you can come up with a lot of convincing reasons not to clear the walk. But having someone trip and fall out there, then sue your home insurance won’t make you feel very cozy so make sure your walkway is consistently shoveled and salt, cat litter or grit is used to make it less slippery.
  2. Clear snow banks: When you shovel your walk or your driveway or your street is plowed, piles of snow can accumulate on the edge of your lawn. These piles can block your visibility so you can’t see who’s coming or going as you pull out of your driveway.
  3. Be careful who you hire: If you hire someone to shovel your walk or your driveway and they are injured in the process, they can put a claim against your home insurance policy. Make sure they wear a weight belt around their back while they shovel, that they are dressed properly and have proper shoes, and that they use their legs to lift rather than their back.
  4. Watch sledding activities: If you have children and they invite their friends over to sled in your yard, be sure to monitor their sledding area to make sure it’s safe. Naturally, it’s a bad idea for them to sled down snow banks that lead right into traffic or that end close to a building or automobile. Crashing into stuff does not have to be part of the sledding process.

October 14, 2010

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