TDCI Shares Consumer Insurance Tips Ahead of Extreme Winter Weather

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Weather forecasters are predicting that potentially dangerous arctic temperatures will grip Tennessee and much of the southeastern United States throughout next week.

Ahead of this potential storm, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) is sharing insurance claim information to help consumers know what to do in case of home or automobile damage because of the January winter storm system. A video with this information can be found here.

“As temperatures drop during this winter weather, the risk to lives and property will increase,” said TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “I urge Tennesseans to take precautions to protect their property and check on elderly relatives and neighbors to make sure they have adequate and safe heating sources during the storm.”

If Your Pipes Freeze:

  • Shut off the water immediately. Don’t attempt to thaw pipes without first turning off the main shut-off valve. Thaw pipes with warm air. You can melt the frozen water in the pipe by warming air around it with a hair dryer or space heater. Be sure not to leave the space heater unattended.
  • Never attempt to thaw frozen pipes with a blow torch or other open flame.
  • Be careful turning water back on. Once pipes are thawed, slowly turn the water back on and double check for any additional cracks and leaks.

If You Have Damage To Your Home/Auto:

  • Contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible. Determine what forms, documents, and data you will need to provide in order to process your claim.
  • Keep all receipts and damaged property for the adjuster to inspect. If possible, take photos or videos of the damage before making temporary repairs to protect your property from further damage. Do not make permanent repairs. An insurance company may deny a claim if you make permanent repairs before an adjuster inspects the damage.
  • If you’re going to be away from your house and it might freeze, you must use reasonable care to heat the house or shut off the water supply and drain the water from plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems.

What to Do if Damage Occurs to Your Home:

  • Call your insurance company or agent with your policy number and other relevant information as soon as possible. Cooperate fully with the insurance company and ask what documents, forms and data you will need.
  • Take photographs/video of the damage.
  • Make the repairs necessary to prevent further damage to your property (i.e., cover broken windows, leaking roofs and damaged walls). Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs.
  • Save all receipts, including those from the temporary repairs covered by your insurance policy.
  • If your home is damaged to the extent that you cannot live there, ask your insurance company if you have coverage for additional living expenses incurred while repairs are being made. Save all receipts to document these costs.

Questions about winter home fire safety? The Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office previously shared fire safety tips.