With the Holiday Season upon us we usually find an increase in claims ranging from changes in weather to an increase in holiday accidents, from hanging lights to cutting down trees and snow damage. The uptick in claims lasts past the holidays and into the winter. Below are the top claims for which to cast a cautious eye during the Holiday season, we also included ideas on how the accidents may be prevented.
Snow Damage. During the winter months, especially in northern climates, there are months of snow and ice. One of the biggest snow accident claims comes from roof leaks as well as ice dams created along the gutter line of houses. Lack of drainage from ice can cause roof leaks, gutter, and exterior damage. The average snow damage claims cost around $11,650 per claim causing a dramatic increase in payouts to your clients during the winter months.
Recommendation: Two of the easiest and most cost-efficient ways to protect a home from snow damage is to use a roof rake. Roof rakes allow for the scraping of snow off the roof of the home in a safe manner before it starts to melt and freeze back over. Another easy fix is to install gutter guards before the snow arrives.
Personal liability claims. On average these personal liability claims cost $22,000 per claim. From home to office spaces the weather can cause an increase in falls. Two of the top holiday fall claims are from ladders and frozen walkways. You may need help hanging your Christmas lights from your neighbor. While hanging lights your neighbor could slip and fall off the ladder causing massive injury to themselves and leaving you open to a lawsuit. With snow on the ground a major concern is slippery steps and black ice. Black ice is one of the biggest winter hazards. Blacke ice turns the simple act of walking into a dangerous proposition.
Recommendation: When it comes to slipping on walkways and driveways one of the best ways to prevent black ice is by spreading outdoor salt over driveways and walkways. Outdoor salt designed for ice and snow removal yields the best results. As for ladder safety, never allow anyone to climb a ladder without supervision around your house or office. Always ensure someone is at the base of the ladder holding it stable. Another easy way to prevent ladder falls is to use a harness while climbing. Having harnesses used by all personnel hanging lights around your property can save your clients from a costly claim. Recommending a harness to your clients may seem like a small thing but will dramatically reduce ladder accidents and claims.
Home Fires: From cooking for the family, to holiday lights and increased use of fireplaces during the holiday season can all cause an increase in home fires. This increase may be due to fireplaces, space heaters and peppermint scented candles.
Recommendations: During the colder months many people opt to use their fireplaces to cut down on heating bills and stay toasty throughout the season. Many people fail to properly clean and maintain their fireplaces throughout the years leading to an increase in fires. Your clients should have their fireplaces inspected yearly at the beginning of the winter season.
Another main cause of winter and holiday fires is the use of space heaters. Many people use space heaters throughout the home or at night to add extra heat into outer rooms that take more energy and time to heat. However, these types of heaters are never to be left on for more than a couple of hours and never unsupervised.
Unsupervised candles also cause many home fires. During the holiday season many people light more candles for incense throughout the day. Ensuring your candles are on non-flammable surfaces as well as blown out before leaving a room.
Frozen Pipes: Bundling up for the holidays means winter has arrived. Winter brings a dramatic drop in temperatures usually below freezing levels. Many homeowners and business owners may start to see plumbing issues from frozen pipes during these months. On average, frozen pipe claims cost $15,000 per claim. The freezing force of ice can range between 60 and 270 times greater than the working pressure of a water pipe, and between 10 and 43 times greater than the actual burst pressure piping. When pipes freeze, ice pushes on the inside with such extreme pressure pipes will often crack and subsequently explode. When this happens, after the ice thaws, the water left in the pipes may cause massive flooding.
Recommendation: The top way to keep the water moving and avoid frozen pipes is by running water throughout the home or business for 15 minutes every eight hours. By continually running the water any water stuck in the pipes will be pushed through.