January 17, 2020 by the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance
— Wisconsin Insurance
Commissioner Mark Afable is urging Wisconsinites to take proactive steps to
protect themselves and their property from damage as more extreme winter
weather hits the state this weekend.
“A few simple
steps before you go to bed at night can protect your home, your family, and
your bank account,” said Insurance Commissioner Afable. “We’re so accustomed to
cold temperatures and snowfall in Wisconsin that it can be easy to forget that
severe weather can real havoc on our homes and communities. Driving a little
more cautiously during icy conditions or opening you cupboards to protect the
pipes in your home can make a big difference in protecting you and your
OCI is sharing
the following tips with Wisconsin residents ahead of the more freezing
temperatures and icy conditions:
Ice dams can
form when melting snow runs down the slope of the roof and refreezes near the
edge. Over time, water accumulates behind the ice dam and may seep into a home
or business causing damage. In frigid temperatures, ice can form inside pipes
causing water pipes to burst.
and your property:
Set your furnace to a
sufficient heat level to keep pipes warm.
Open cupboard doors so heat
can reach pipes.
If your pipes burst, turn off
the main water shut-off or the valve to the frozen pipe.
Dry the area to prevent
potential mold problems.
Remove snow from the bottom
portion of your roof using a “roof rake” or push broom. (Do not climb
on the roof or chip ice away, which may cause damage to shingles and pose the
risk of a fall.)
Keep the attic well ventilated
and insulated from the rest of the house to minimize the amount of heat rising
to the roof.
In general, water coming from
the top down— such as ice dam seepage behind drywall— is covered by a standard
homeowner’s policy. Water coming from the bottom up— such as an overflowing
river or ground water seepage— requires a separate flood insurance policy. Your
homeowner’s insurance may provide coverage for ice damage, but a roof already
in poor condition may affect that coverage. Check your homeowner’s policy or
talk to your agent to be sure you have adequate coverage and for information
regarding any specific endorsements or riders.
When roads are
covered with ice, snow, or slush even the most seasoned Wisconsin driver can
find themselves slipping and sliding. Winter hazards also include limited
visibility during snowstorms, deer running into the road, and black ice.
and your automobile:
Maintain a safe distance
between your car and the car in front of you. Use care and drive slowly – if
conditions are dangerous, consider waiting before getting on the road.
Never drink and drive.
Keep an emergency road kit,
warm clothes, blankets, and a fully charged cellphone in your vehicle.
Find out the latest road
conditions by going to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation website at www.511wi.gov, by calling 511, or by checking
the 511 smartphone app.
Review your auto insurance
policy for any limitations in coverage. For example, consumers who carry
collision insurance without comprehensive coverage are not covered in the event
of damage to vehicles as a result of hail, wind, or flooding. Additionally, make
sure your coverage is adequate for your needs.
If you are in an
automobile accident, remember the following tips:
Call the police.
Obtain information such as the
names, addresses, telephone numbers, insurance information, and license numbers
of all persons involved in the accident, as well as contact information for all
Record the time, date,
location, road conditions, make and year of the vehicles involved, insurance
information, apparent damage and injuries and your version of what happened.
Call your insurance agent.
Make sure to have your policy number and other relevant information on hand.
Also be sure you cooperate fully with the insurance company and ask your agent
what documents, forms, and data you’ll need to file a claim.
Take notes each time you talk
to your insurance company, agent, lawyers, police, or anyone else involved in
the situation. Write down dates, times, names and what you talked about, as
well as any decisions or promises made.
Save any receipts and bills,
including those from a car rental or hotel room if the accident happens outside
of your town.
an insurance question or complaint can call 1-800-236-8517 or visit https://ociaccess.oci.wi.gov/complaints/public/
to file a complaint online.