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If it ain’t broke …

Life preserver Do you know someone who has gone on vacation and come home to find two inches of water in the basement because a pipe broke or their sump pump stopped working?

Intermittent changes in our weather can wreak havoc on plumbing systems. As a matter of fact, frozen and broken water pipes are the second largest catastrophe next to hurricanes, in terms of the cost of damage. This may surprise some of you, however, water damage often goes undetected for several days before it is found ... and by then the damage is already done.

The good news is that water damage can be prevented.

Here are some tips and steps you can take to make insurance losses less likely during extended severe weather.

  • Watch for ice dams near gutter downspouts. Keep gutters free of leaves and debris so melting snow and ice can flow freely. Ice dams can cause water to build up and seep into your house or business. 
  • Keep your building heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located is substantially colder than the walls themselves. A temperature lower than 65 degrees will not keep the inside walls from freezing.
  • Identify the location for the main water shutoff in your home or business. Find out how it works in case you have to use it.
  • Disconnect hoses from outside spigots.
  • If you are leaving your home to go on a trip or closing the business for a period of time, ask a neighbor to check your home or business regularly. Or simply have the water system drained by a professional to keep pipes from freezing or bursting.
  • Install an alarm system that can detect water or low temperatures.

Most insurance policies will cover the resulting damage from broken or freezing pipes, however many policies will not cover backups in sewers and drains or flood unless you have the appropriate endorsement or flood policy in place.

And, of course, make sure to check with your agent to ensure that you have the proper coverage in place. If something is going to break, be prepared.

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