The Insurance Information Institute (III) reported in January that burst pipes and the water damage they create is the third most costly loss event for insurance companies in the United States. Only hurricanes and tornadoes incur more damage and more insurance claims than burst or frozen pipes and other cold weather issues.
Specifically, insurers have on average paid out $1.4 billion in broken pipe insurance claims per year for the last 19 years, for a grand total of $27.8 billion in the last two decades. Frozen pipes, ice damage, and other cold weather property damage made up seven percent of all insurance claims during this time period.
In early January, much of the country was affected by a deep freeze as polar air snuck down into the lower 48 states. Temperatures plunged into the double-digit negative numbers, causing a host of problems for the residents of the Midwest, East Coast, and South. Insurance companies have already begun reporting a large number of homeowners insurance claims stemming from the cold weather, including frozen pipes, roof damage, and ice damage.
Insurance companies warned residents to keep a close watch on their pipes, noting that your pipes may be frozen if water only trickles out of faucets (or stops altogether). Frozen pipes can be thawed with a hairdryer or by wrapping warm, damp towels around the affected areas.
If your home has been damaged by the cold snap, or if you have incurred water damage from a burst pipe, you should file an insurance claim as quickly as possible. For more advice about water damage and burst pipes, visit our article library.
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