As Winter Storm Titan finally finishes with the East Coast, it’s time to look back on what a bad season it has been for homeowners – and home insurance providers. A number of locations in the U.S. had experienced near-record snowfalls even before Titan struck what we hope will be the final blow from Old Man Winter this year.
The damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute, is huge and growing. For the period from Jan. 1 to Feb. 21 (which means the effects from Titan haven’t been counted in yet), there have been $1.5 billion in insured losses and more than 175,000 claims.
Those losses include roof collapses because of the added weight of snow and ice, downed tree and power lines, burst pipes and car wrecks.
How does 2014 stack up to the year before? For the whole of calendar year 2013, insured losses totaled $2 billion in the U.S. and Canada. It’s worth noting that two of the three most damaging storms in the U.S. and Canada occurred in March and April, so we’re far from out of the woods yet.
What You Can Do
Winter might be winding down, but you can still take some steps to keep yourself warm, dry, and comfortable until Spring comes out in full force. Consider the following:
- If there is snow or ice in your area, clear your driveway and sidewalks as soon as possible. You don’t want someone to have a slip-and-fall accident on your property. In the event a visitor does slip on the ice or snow, the personal liability coverage typically included as part of a standard homeowners insurance policy will help if he or she decides to sue.
- Don’t put away the sweaters just yet. Layering is good for this time of year, allowing you to stay warm in the mornings but cool once things heat up.
- Check your emergency kit. Earlier this year, you should have put together an emergency survival kit in case of an extended power outage. Make sure you’ve got nonperishable food, water, flashlights, batteries and any medicine you need, in addition to blankets to keep warm.
Chances are, Winter is on its last legs and will fade away as we go deeper into March. But it never hurts to stay prepared for just a little longer.
After all, Spring doesn’t officially begin until March 20.