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- PCI Urges Homeowners and Motorists To Prepare For Winter Storm Season
CHICAGO – After experiencing above average temperatures, snow, sleet, freezing rain and strong winds will engulf portions of the Plains, Midwest and Northeast today and tomorrow producing hazardous driving conditions. The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is urging homeowners and drivers not to get caught by surprise and take a few simple steps to be prepared for a visit from old man winter.
Forecasters are predicting many areas stretching from Texas to New England will have reduced visibility and poor travel conditions. Weather conditions are a significant factor in auto accidents and on average accounts for nearly one in four crashes with the vast majority of these accidents occurring on wet and icy pavement.
Although residents in the affected areas are no strangers to winter storms, these early season storms can cause havoc for motorists and homeowners. The winter months produce more traffic accidents than all of the other months of the year combined and storms this time of year are the third largest cause of catastrophe losses, behind only hurricanes and tornadoes. At least once a year talk with your insurance agent or company to review your policy. And, whenever severe weather occurs, insurers are prepared to work with consumers to minimize the inconveniences and help make the claims process go as smoothly as possible.
PCI offers consumers the following tips for winter storms:
Winter Driving Tips
- Hazardous road conditions make it even more important to take safety precautions and drive defensively.
- Winterize your car by checking your antifreeze, battery, tires and windshield wiper fluid. Make sure your headlights, taillights and emergency flashers are working.
- Prepare an emergency travel kit with items such as blankets, jumper cables, a shovel, a flashlight, salt, flares and other emergency supplies. A toolkit, bottled water and snack food are also useful items to include.
- Keep at least half of a tank of gas in your car at all times.
- Slow down and keep extra distance between your car and other vehicles.
Cold Weather Homeowners Tips
- Frozen water pipes represent the biggest potential problem for most homes. A little advance planning will usually prevent frozen pipes.
- Insulate pipes, especially those leading to the outside, and plug holes around the pipes with insulation or spray-in foam. Make sure there is warm air flowing around pipes that are located near an outside wall. Check pipes under sinks to make sure they will get adequate heat.
- Set the heat in the home warm enough to avoid problems. At night, the heating system needs to circulate water through radiator and baseboard heating units to avoid freezing.
- Make sure there is clear access to the main water shut-off valve in case there is a leak or a pipe suddenly bursts.
- Open the water faucets in your sinks enough to allow a slow trickle of water to maintain the flow of water in the lines and help prevent freezing. Make sure your sink drains are open.
More information is available at PCI’s Winter Storm Headquarters:
- PCI promotes and protects the viability of a competitive private insurance market for the benefit of consumers and insurers. PCI is composed of nearly 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write more than $195 billion in annual premium, 35 percent of the nation's property casualty insurance. Member companies write 42 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 28 percent of the homeowners market, 33 percent of the commercial property and liability market and 35 percent of the private workers compensation market.
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