Own a vacation home? Prepare it for winter with these five tips from Amica Insurance

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Winter weather poses several threats to summer homes and cottages, including the risk of frozen pipes and ice dams. Amica Insurance urges owners to take the time now to secure vacation homes to help prevent future damage and costly repairs.

Winter weather presents several threats to summer homes and cottages so Amica Insurance reminds owners to take steps now to protect them.

Taking simple steps to avoid these problems before leaving a vacation home alone for the winter is critical to making sure that the home remains a happy place, and not a costly pain in the wallet

With colder weather approaching, many people will be closing their summer homes and cottages for the winter. Amica Insurance offers five tips to secure and protect vacation homes against the elements – and intruders.

“Winter weather presents several threats to a home,” said Julie Rochman, president and CEO of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. “Among the most common and potentially damaging risks are frozen pipes and the formation of ice dams.”

If a frozen pipe bursts, the result can be extensive water damage, Rochman said. And ice dams can damage the roof and cause water to leak into the attic and walls, causing widespread damage.

That’s why it’s important to take steps now to protect vacation homes and prevent problems, said Ben Mellino, an assistant vice president with Amica Insurance.

Amica and IBHS offer these five reminders for closing summer homes:

  • Unplug all appliances and remove all food, to avoid attracting rodents.
  • Drain the water system to prevent pipes from freezing. If the water system is to be left on, make sure pipes are insulated – especially those in a garage, basement or attic.
  • Secure windows and doors and inspect for openings.
  • Clean gutters and downspouts and make sure the attic is well-ventilated and properly insulated to help prevent the formation of ice dams.
  • Make sure the thermostat is set no lower than 55 degrees in colder climates. That will help prevent frozen pipes. (In warmer climates, set the air conditioning to turn on at 85 degrees to prevent damage from high humidity.)

"Taking simple steps to avoid these problems before leaving a vacation home alone for the winter is critical to making sure that the home remains a happy place, and not a costly pain in the wallet,” Rochman said.

Since many vacation homeowners do not return until the following summer, it also is important to make sure the home looks lived-in while you are away, Mellino said. Here are a few tips to make your property appear occupied:

  • Put interior and exterior lights on timers or motion detectors.
  • Stop mail and newspaper services.
  • Hire someone to mow the lawn or clear snow from the driveway.

“Taking some steps to prepare your vacation home for the winter can help prevent any unpleasant surprises, making next summer’s return even more enjoyable,” Mellino said.

For more tips to protect and winterize your home, visit the IBHS’s website, http://www.disastersafety.org.

About Amica Mutual Insurance

Amica Mutual Insurance Company, the nation's oldest mutual insurer of automobiles, was founded in 1907. The company, with corporate headquarters in Lincoln, RI, is a national writer of automobile, homeowners, marine and personal umbrella liability insurance. Life coverage is available through Amica Life Insurance Company, a wholly owned subsidiary. Amica employs more than 3,100 people in 40 offices across the country.

CONTACT: Vince Burks, Corporate Communications, 50 Amica Way,Lincoln, RI 02865-1155, 800-652-6422, ext. 24563

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Vince Burks