In Massachusetts, Fall and Winter can be the most beautiful times of the year, but they typically come with a high number of insurance claims. Though there are dangers throughout all seasons, these seem to cause a spike in some specific areas. Get to know some of the common claims around this time of year, and do all you can to make sure you’re prepared, and protected.

When it starts to get chilly outside and we break out the candles, load up the fireplace, and clean off the woodstove the risk of fire and smoke damage increases. Though cozy, all of these pose potential risks to your home, so use them with caution.

  • Inspect your chimney each year (if you have one) to be sure that it is clean and up to standards.
  • Try not to plug too much into one electrical outlet, as overloading can cause them to catch fire.
  • Make sure that you never leave any potential fire source, like candles or cooking utensils, unattended while in use.
  • You may also want to double-check any important fixtures in your home like furnaces or water tanks, as items and clutter building up around them could prove dangerous.
  • Make sure you never leave fire ashes in a place where they could catch fire. Properly disposing them away from your home is key.

Water damage can also come in a variety of forms in the cold weather. To prevent water damage in your home you’ll want to check the areas that can pose the most problems.

  • If your home uses a sump pump or backup valve be sure you check that they’re properly cleaned to prevent any build-up or damage. This is especially important, as damage from these sources may not be covered by your policy, and would need flood insurance for proper protection.
  • You should also be sure to check your pipes’ condition. Be aware of your water pressure, as a noticeable drop could mean a blockage or damage to a pipe. To really check the internal status of pipes you’ll probably need a plumber or other professional.
  • If any pipes are located in unheated spaces you’ll probably want to insulate them to prevent freezing. If you have any outdoor faucets be sure that their water supply is shut off for the cold season, and disconnect and store any hoses.
  • Your roof, gutters, and drains can also contribute to water damage. Gutters and drains can be harmful when clogged up so cleaning regularly can reduce your risk. Your roof should be secure for a number of reasons, but it’s always good to double-check for any damage before snow starts to fall.

Other things to think of are:

  • Be sure to check all windows and doors in the house. If you can feel air coming through, you’re probably losing heat and should either repair or further insulate the window or door.
  • This goes for all of your home, if you can feel air coming through any particular section of wall, it may be damaged or requiring further insulation.
  • Keeping your home well insulated keeps heat inside, lowering your heating costs and reducing the likelihood of damage from ice dams or frozen pipes.

In the meantime, keep thinking of sunny, summer days on Cape Cod and they’ll be back before we know it!

Janet Kliment

Vice President | Director of Personal Insurance

Janet is a Vice President at RogersGray Insurance and the Director of Personal Insurance. As Director of Personal Insurance, Janet oversees a team of more than 80 dedicated personnel in both sales and service. Janet resides on Cape Cod with her husband. You can connect with Janet on LinkedIn or by email.