Don’t Discount Old Man Winter’s Punch: PCI Offers Winter Driving and Homeowners Tips to Protect Lives and Property

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While the 2011-2012 Winter storm season has been relatively mild, it is much too soon to write off Old Man Winter and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) encourages motorists and homeowners to remain prepared for severe weather conditions.

The winter months produce more traffic accidents than all of the other months of the year combined and storms this time of year are the third largest cause of catastrophe losses. Whenever severe weather occurs, insurer are prepared to work with consumers.

While the 2011-2012 Winter storm season has been relatively mild, it is much too soon to write off Old Man Winter and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) encourages motorists and homeowners to remain prepared for severe weather conditions.

Winter storms can cause significant damage for both motorists and homeowners. Although weather forecasting has improved over the years, the intensity of a winter storm can be difficult to predict. Within hours heavy snow and ice can leave streets nearly impassable and downed utility lines can cause power outages. In these hazardous conditions there are often many auto accidents and homeowners can have problems with roofs and frozen pipes.

The winter months produce more traffic accidents than all of the other months of the year combined and storms this time of year are the third largest cause of catastrophe losses, behind only hurricanes and tornadoes. Whenever severe weather occurs, insurers are prepared to work with consumers to minimize the inconveniences and help make the claims process go as smoothly as possible. Insurers encourage property owners to report their claims as soon as possible to begin the recovery process. If there is damage make temporary repairs and keep receipts, as those costs may be reimbursed under your policy.

PCI offers consumers the following tips for winter storms:

Winter Driving Tips

  • Hazardous road conditions make it even more important to take safety precautions and drive defensively.
  • Winterize your car by checking your antifreeze, battery, tires and windshield wiper fluid. Make sure your headlights, taillights and emergency flashers are working.
  • Prepare an emergency travel kit with items such as blankets, jumper cables, a shovel, a flashlight, salt, flares and other emergency supplies. A toolkit, bottled water and snack food are also useful items to include.
  • Keep at least half of a tank of gas in your car at all times.
  • Slow down and keep extra distance between your car and other vehicles.

Cold Weather Homeowners Tips

  • Frozen water pipes represent the biggest potential problem for most homes. A little advance planning will usually prevent frozen pipes.
  • Insulate pipes, especially those leading to the outside, and plug holes around the pipes with insulation or spray-in foam. Make sure there is warm air flowing around pipes that are located near an outside wall. Check pipes under sinks to make sure they will get adequate heat.
  • Set the heat in the home warm enough to avoid problems. At night, the heating system needs to circulate water through radiator and baseboard heating units to avoid freezing.
  • Make sure there is clear access to the main water shut-off valve in case there is a leak or a pipe suddenly bursts.
  • Open the water faucets in your sinks enough to allow a slow trickle of water to maintain the flow of water in the lines and help prevent freezing. Make sure your sink drains are open.

More information is available at PCI’s Web site: http://www.pciaa.net/web/sitehome.nsf/lcpublic/686?opendocument

PCI is composed of more than 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross-section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write over $180 billion in annual premium, 38.3 percent of the nation’s property casualty insurance. Member companies write 44.3 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 31.6 percent of the homeowners market, 36.3 percent of the commercial property and liability market, and 42.6 percent of the private workers compensation market.

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