Frigid Weather Could Lead to Burst Pipes and Fallen Trees

Dangerously low temperatures, such as those enveloping the central, eastern and even southern United States, bring with them potential hazards for homeowners and drivers alike, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

“Severe winter weather is the third-largest cause of insured catastrophe losses, after hurricanes and tornadoes,” said Dr. Robert Hartwig, president of the I.I.I. and an economist.

Dr. Hartwig adds, “Winter storm claims, including those associated with freezing and ice damage, accounted for 7.1 percent of all insured catastrophe losses between 1993 and 2012, placing it third behind hurricanes and tropical storms (40 percent) and tornadoes (36 percent) as the costliest natural disasters. While most winter storm losses occur in northern and mountainous regions of the United States, this week’s polar vortex threatens millions of homeowners in the south who may be unprepared for extreme cold.”

On an inflation-adjusted basis, insurers paid $27.8 billion in winter storm claims to policyholders over this period—or $1.4 billion per year, on average, according to Property Claims Service for Verisk Insurance Solutions.

Many of the types of damage caused by a deep, prolonged drop in temperatures are covered by standard home and auto policies.

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Source: I.I.I.