Many Americans face significant risks from winter weather between the months of December and February, according to Farmers Insurance Seasonal Smarts Digest. The report, released in December, analyzed customer claims data from 2013 through 2016 to uncover the major winter hazards consumers should be aware of and which states have the highest risk:
Major Home Insurance Hazards
- Recent years brought a run of warmer winters resulting in a 53 percent decrease in frozen pipe claims.
- Extreme temperature claims also saw a significant decrease—82 percent—between the winter of 2013/2014 and last year’s unseasonably warm winter.
- Top States for freezing temperatures: Massachusetts (41%), Maine (35%), New Hampshire (34%), Connecticut (21%) and New York (18%).
- Top States for frozen pipes: South Dakota (14%), Idaho (14%), Utah (13%), Minnesota (13%) and Wyoming (12%).
Ice damming is also a hazard to look out for this season, as 41 percent of claims related to ice dams are reported during the winter. An ice dam is a condition that generally occurs when a ridge of ice forms at the lower edge of a roof that prevents melting snow from draining properly.
- Ice dam claims also decreased significantly, with 57 percent fewer claims occurring last winter than the winter of 2013 and 2014.
- Top States for ice dams: Utah (10%), Minnesota (7%), Connecticut (6%), Illinois (5%) and Pennsylvania (5%).
- House fires: Nearly 10 percent of December home fires in 2015 occurred on Christmas Eve or Christmas.
Top States for Major Auto Insurance Hazards
Approximately 76 percent of claims related to skidding on snow or ice occur during the winter.
- These claims decreased by 58 percent between between the winter of 2013 and 2014 through the winter of 2015 and 2016 likely due to a recent run of warmer-than-average winters, but La Niña is predicted to bring a colder season with heavy snowfall to much of the country this winter.
- Top states for skidding on snow/ice: Montana (12%), Colorado (11%), Wyoming (9%), North Dakota (9%) and Minnesota (8%).
Vehicle theft accounts for approximately one-quarter (25%) of all comprehensive claims in the winter.
- Vehicle theft increased by 9 percent between the winter of 2013/2014 and the winter of 2015/16.
- Farmers data also showed a 3 percent increase of vehicle theft in winter as compared to spring months (March through May).
- Top States for vehicle theft: New Mexico (17%), Hawaii (16%), California (16%), Nevada (16%) and Washington (13%).
- Failure to yield collisions: These collisions make up 26 percent of all collision claims, which is an 8 percent higher in winter than spring
- Claims from collisions where one vehicle failed to yield to an oncoming vehicle rose 14 percent since the winter of 2013/2014.
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