Essential Homeowners Insurance Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Winterizing your home should be a top priority if you live in New England. Keep your home safe – and reduce the risk of insurance losses – during the colder months by practicing thorough fall home maintenance.Homeowners Insurance Tips for Winterizing Your Home

Standard homeowners insurance policies will cover most winter-related damage, such as burst pipes and water damage caused by ice dams, but it’s generally a requirement that you have taken reasonable precautions to prevent these losses. The changing season is the best time to look over your policy to be sure you are indeed protected from any cold weather peril.

Make sure your home is prepared for the colder weather ahead with the following tips from our homeowners insurance professionals.


  • Clear leaves, sticks and other debris from gutters and downspouts. You are less susceptible to experiencing ice dam damage if melting snow and ice is able to flow freely through the gutters, as opposed to getting backed up and seeping through the ceiling and walls, causing water damage indoors.
  • Install gutter guards to keep debris out of the gutter and direct any flowing water away from the house.
  • Repair steps and handrails. This may prevent someone from falling and seriously being injured. Broken stairs and banisters can become lethal when covered with snow and ice.
  • Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations. Use caulking to protect water pipes and make sure that skylights and other roof openings have proper weather stripping to prevent snowmelt from seeping in.
  • Trim trees and remove dead branches that could be potentially hazardous to your home, vehicle or family. Heavy ice and snow coupled with extreme wind gusts adds a lot of stress to tree limbs and can cause them to break. While you are probably covered if tree limbs fall on the house (or other insured structures on the property) and the cost of removing the tree, it’s best to be safe and save yourself the headache.


  • Add extra insulation to your attic. If excess heat escapes through the attic, it will cause snow and ice to melt on your roof, which will then re-freeze and provide a foundation for further buildup. This dangerous cycle can lead to a collapsed roof and ice damming.
  • Add extra insulation to your basement, crawl spaces and unfinished rooms (such as the basement) to protect pipes from the freezing conditions.
  • Identify the location of the main water shutoff in your home and familiarize yourself with how it works. If your pipes freeze, you can prevent them from bursting if you are able to shut off the water in haste. If you ever need to use it, you will be well-prepared.
  • Check pipes for cracks and leaks. Any repairs should be addressed as quickly as possible. Exposed pipes can be wrapped with heating tape, and the thermostat should be set to at least 65 degrees, to prevent freezing.
  • Service the heating system. Make sure your fireplace, wood stove, boiler, chimney and electric heaters are working properly and correct any issues before they become dangerous. Your heating system should be serviced annually by a professional to prevent fire and smoke damage.
  • Since there is an increased risk for residential fires in the winter, make sure the smoke, carbon monoxide and fire alarms are working properly, and replace any that are outdated.

Take extra precaution if you are leaving for an extended period of time. Let a trusted neighbor or family friend know you will be away and ask that they check up on the home on a regular basis. This will ensure any problems can be identified and fixed quickly, lessening damage and insurance losses.

These simple fall home maintenance tips will help protect your investment from the cold, snow, freezing rain and wind this winter. If you have specific questions about winterizing your home with your insurance policy in mind, contact our homeowners insurance professionals for guidance. We can help determine the specifics of your coverage and help you choose a policy that best suits your life.