Advice for dealing with frozen-pipe damage

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The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association offers the following  advice for dealing with damage from frozen pipes:

Advice on Filing a Claim

  • Be prepared to give your agent or insurance representative a description of any damage. Your agent will report the loss immediately to your insurance company or a qualified adjuster.
  • Take photos of the damaged areas. These will help with your claims process and will assist the adjuster in the investigation.
  • Prepare a detailed inventory of all damaged or destroyed personal property. Be sure to make two copies-one for yourself and one for the adjuster. Your list should be as complete as possible, including a description of the items, dates of purchase or approximate age, cost at time of purchase and estimated replacement cost.
  • Make whatever temporary repairs you can to prevent further damage. Save receipts for supplies and materials you purchase. Your company will reimburse you for reasonable expenses in making temporary repairs.
  • Secure a detailed estimate for permanent repairs and clean up to your property and give it to the adjuster. The estimate should contain the proposed repairs, repair costs and replacement prices.
  • Serious losses will be given priority. If your home has been destroyed or seriously damaged, your agent will do everything possible to assure that you are given priority.

Avoiding Frozen Pipes

  • Keep your home warm. The temperature in the home should be at least 65 degrees to prevent the pipes from freezing.
  • Keep cupboard doors open below sinks. If it snows or freezes, keep all lower cupboards open since most plumbing runs underneath cupboards to allow warm air to circulate.
  • Turn on hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. Keeping water moving within pipes will prevent freezing.
  • Keep garage doors closed. The door inside the garage leading to the house is probably not well-insulated as an exterior door.
  • Know the location of the main water shut off valve in your home. A damaged hose or a burst pipe can send water racing into your home. By knowing where this valve is located and how to shut off the main water supply, you can save yourself time and money.
  • Install an emergency pressure release valve in your plumbing system. This will protect against the increased pressure caused by freezing pipes and can help prevent your pipes from bursting.
  • Check pipes. Look closely for cracks and leaks and have the pipes repaired immediately.

For more information visit www.rmiia.org.