The first week of January has been cold and costly for many homeowners across Maryland who find themselves dealing with damage caused by frozen or burst pipes – and, the thawing from warmer temperatures, along with refreezing at night, that will occur during this week could continue to contribute to the problem.
“While cold weather is not unexpected in Maryland, the prolonged stretch of extreme cold has many homeowners paying an unexpected price,” says Brooks Eure, a Maryland Manager for AAA Insurance. “Knowing what to do when your pipes burst, what your insurance will cover and how to process your claim is key.”
With over two months left of winter and more frigid weather to be expected in the weeks ahead, AAA Insurance offers the following tips when encountering frozen/burst pipes and managing insurance claims:
AAA Tips on What to Do First:
- If you discover that pipes are frozen, don’t wait for them to burst. Take measures to thaw them immediately, or call a plumber for assistance.
- If your pipes burst, first turn off the water and then mop up spills. You do not want the water to do more damage than it already has.
- Call your insurance company claims department as soon as you can. An insurance adjuster does not need to see the spill before you take action. However, the adjuster will want to inspect any damaged items.
- Make temporary repairs and take other steps to protect your property from further damage. Remove any carpet or furniture that can be further damaged from seepage.
AAA Tips on Managing Your Home Insurance Claims
- Make a list of the damaged articles and take photos.
- Save the receipts for what you spend—including additional living expenses if you must leave your home until repairs are completed—and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.
- Standard homeowners policies will cover most of the kinds of damage that result from a freeze. For example, if house pipes freeze and burst or if ice forms in gutters and causes water to back up under roof shingles and seep into the house. You would also be covered if the weight of snow or ice damages your house.
- If your home sustains water damage, it is important to make sure that it is properly dried and repaired to prevent any potential problem with mold. Remember, mold cannot survive without moisture.
- Check with your agent or insurance company so you will be sure what your policy covers.
For more tips on winter storm preparedness, visit https://midatlantic.aaa.com/insurance/be-prepared
Among the services being provided by AAA Mid-Atlantic:
- AAA Insurance customers who have suffered damage to their homes or autos can begin filing claims immediately. Claims representatives are ready to assist 24 hours a day. The number is (888) 222-0086.
- If not insured through AAA Insurance contact your insurance provider.
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 58 million members nationwide and more than 937,000 members in Maryland. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit AAA.com.