Winter Insurance Guide: Common Claims & How To Save

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In winter, insurance becomes a very important product to have for your home, auto, business and health. Common winter insurance claims can be related to accidents, whether it’s a slip-and-fall at the shop or office or a car accident, maybe a frozen pipe in the home. There are steps you can take to prevent winter-related catastrophes and illnesses that will squeeze your budget. See each section of this guide to see how in winter, insurance is more important than ever.

Key Takeaways

  • People’s insurance needs may change in winter, so it’s important to review your home, auto, business and health insurance policies.
  • There are a few preventative measures you can take to lower the need to file a claim for your home, car or business.
  • While a landlord is responsible for the office or shop, business owners need coverage for business property.
  • Health insurance covers vaccines and boosters, to prevent you from getting ill and spending money on medications and doctor visits.

Most Common Winter Home Insurance Claims

There is an increase in homeowners filing claims in winter time. Not only will that mean that you’re responsible for the home insurance deductible, but filing a claim will raise your homeowners insurance. Sometimes filing a claim can’t be avoided. Sometimes it can. Here are the most common types of home insurance claims and how you can prevent filing them with your home:

Frozen pipes

  • Let your faucet drip slowly so the water doesn’t freeze.
  • Keep your home at 55 degrees or warmer.

Falling trees

  • Remove diseased trees before they fall.

Falling branches

  • Trim trees regularly so that wind doesn’t break them off and damage your home or car.

House fires

  • Be vigilant of grease fires in the kitchen when entertaining.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
  • Do not throw water on a grease fire; stifle it with a lid if possible or close the oven door and turn off the oven.
  • Avoid using real candles, and monitor them closely all evening, if you do
  • Check holiday lights regularly
  • Keep the Christmas tree hydrated.
  • Keep children and objects away from the fireplace.

Wind damage

  • Secure outdoor furniture and toys.
  • Make sure trees are trimmed.
  • Secure gutters, downspouts.
  • Secure shutters.
  • Seal gaps and holes to prevent water from getting inside.
  • Make sure your roof is in good shape and can withstand the wind.


  • Make sure your roof is in good condition. Composite roofing material and steep sloped roofs are most resistant to hail.
  • Fiber-cement siding is more resistant to hail than aluminum.
  • Close windows, curtains and blinds to protect against broken glass.


  • Install sturdy locks and deadbolts on all doors and windows.
  • Invest in a security system with camera surveillance.
  • Use outdoor motion sensor lights.

Damage from weight of snow

  • Make sure you have a sturdy roof.
  • Trim all trees and branches overhanging your roof.
  • Remove snow and ice from awnings.
  • Make sure your gutters and downspouts are in good condition and clear of debris that will block drainage.


  • Buy flood insurance because flooding is not covered by homeowners insurance. Heavy snowfall can easily cause flooding in certain areas.

Ice dams

  • To prevent a torn gutter, a roof leak and mold infestation, insulate the attic. Ice dams will only form on a cold roof. Consult a professional if you’re not sure how to do it safely.
  • Keep gutters clear of dirt and debris to allow ice and snow to drain.

Slip-and-fall accidents

  • Prevent having to use the personal liability portion of your home insurance to pay for people’s injuries, because your insurer will raise your rate and you’ll have to pay up to the deductible on your own if the person filing the claim against you wins: Make sure your driveway, entrance and home are free of hazards that may cause slip-and-fall accident when visitors come by, due to icy conditions.

Winter Insurance for Auto

Driving in winter is challenging, and we must all drive more slowly and more vigilantly. The USDOT Federal Highway Administration data reports an average of 1,836 deaths and 136,309 injuries per year due to snowy and icy roads. Thirteen states reported 15 or more fatalities due to icy road conditions.[1]

Across the U.S, 70% of people live in areas where it snows, so it may be a good idea to have a more robust policy with collision coverage, even if your car is paid off and you’re no longer required to carry it.

Here are the types of winter car insurance claims to avoid filing.

Most Common Winter Auto Insurance Claims

Collision with another car

  • Collision coverage will pay for damages to your car if the accident was your fault. Liability will only pay for the other driver’s losses.
  • Sliding on ice or losing control of a car due to road conditions so it’s important to have collision coverage.
  • Drunk driving during holiday festivities happens more often in the colder season. Always make sure to have a designated driver or use a rideshare company if you’re planning to drink.
  • Consider investing in studded tires, which are only street-legal for a specified number of months in winter.

Fallen tree

  • Keep an eye on the trees surrounding your property. Remove diseased trees which may weaken and fall due to the weight of snow and heavy winds.
  • Make sure to have comprehensive coverage on your car, otherwise, the damage won’t be covered by liability alone. Also, if it’s determined that you took poor care of removing a diseased tree, you may not be covered.

Fallen branches

  • Trim the branches of surrounding trees before the strong winds and snow fall begin.
  • Comprehensive coverage may cover the damages, unless it’s determined that you took poor care of the trees on your property.


  • Potholes are always a problem, but especially so in winter months when the roads are slippery. Brake and drive slowly around potholes so you don’t lose control of the car.
  • If your car is damaged, you can file a collision claim.

Collision with property

  • You’ll still need collision coverage to pay for damages to your car, even if you hit a mailbox or other object but not another vehicle.

Collisions at intersections.

  • Your car may continue to slide after you apply brakes when the roads are icy. It’s important to brake ahead of time to avoid hitting pedestrians and other cars.
  • Night blindness is also a problem in winter fog and snow storms so it’s important to wear proper glasses if you need them, have properly working headlights and drive extra vigilantly. Consider installing fog lights which work better than high beams in winter.

What’s Winter Car Insurance?

There’s really no such thing as winter car insurance, but some people store vehicles for the winter and do not drive them. In these instances, they buy comprehensive coverage only.

It’s important to continue comprehensive coverage on a vehicle at the very least, even if it remains in storage for a few months, because continuous coverage will keep your current rate from rising due to a lapse in coverage. If the car is damaged or stolen, comprehensive coverage would have your back.

Make sure not to test your fate by driving while only having comprehensive coverage on the car. Comprehensive coverage is an inexpensive type of insurance for a reason: If you end up in a car accident, you will have no coverage if the accident was your fault. Even if the accident wasn’t your fault, the authorities will report the fact that you were driving without insurance. Your insurance rates will soar come renewal time, even if you try to switch carriers.

If you’re financing or leasing your car, you don’t have the option to go with comprehensive coverage alone. You’re contractually bound to have liability, collision and comprehensive coverage on that car.

Tips for Saving on Auto Insurance Costs in Winter

Roughly 24% of weather-related accidents occur on snowy or icy roads. Over 1,300 people are killed and 116,800 people sustain injuries in vehicle crashes each year on snowy, slushy or icy pavement. An additional 900 people are killed and nearly 76,000 people are injured in car accidents during snowfall or sleet.[2]

In snowy conditions, the maneuverability of a car is diminished and so is visibility. Lanes and roads may experience accumulations of snow. There are many hazards for a car on the road during winter time.

Accidents are expensive. The following is a checklist for what you can do to prevent incurring expenses related to car insurance, accidents and car breakdowns.

  • Increase Car Insurance Coverages. To save money, it’s a good idea to buy full car insurance based on the assumption that you will be involved in a car accident, if you live in an area that experiences snow and icy conditions. If your car is only valued at a couple of thousand dollars, skip collision and comprehensive but increase your liability coverage beyond state minimum requirements to make sure you have enough coverage, in case you’re ever at fault for a crash.
  • Get Roadside Assistance Coverage. This affordable coverage can save the day if you get stuck somewhere with a flat tire or car malfunction. Even with this coverage, it’s a good idea to have a winter emergency kit in the car in case of delays while waiting for the roadside assistance technician to reach you.
  • Get the Right Tires and Maintain Them. Car tires can deflate in cold weather so make sure you have the right amount of air in your tires, or else you’re spending more money on gas fare. In fact, it’s best if you invest in snow tires if you live in an area with snowfall.
  • Don’t Forget the Antifreeze. Most experts say that you need antifreeze in your car year round, but it’s especially important in the winter, to prevent fluids from freezing the radiator, which will in turn cause the engine to overheat and blow.
  • Change the Fluids. Changing the brake system fluid, coolant, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, washer fluid, and suspension differential fluid in cold weather is important.
  • Change the Oil and Oil Filters. Oil thickens in cold weather. Your car’s owners manual will tell you how often you should change your oil and filter, but doing so in colder weather is very important so don’t neglect the chore. It doesn’t hurt to do it sooner than it’s due, as well.
  • Check the Brakes. Check your brake pads regularly for wear-and-tear, and make sure to replace worn ones before skidding season.
  • Check the Battery. Cold weather puts stress on car batteries. Make sure to replace your battery, if it’s lost juice, so you don’t get stranded roadside.
  • Replace Windshield Wipers. The blades should be replaced every six months but most people neglect to do this. It’s a good idea tot have a fresh one for the winter season at least.
  • Check the Exhaust. Each year people die because they don’t know that their exhaust is clogged. Make sure your exhaust is clear of debris so you don’t get carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Clean the Headlights. Decreased visibility due to winter fog is bad enough. Headlights that need to be cleaned will only make it harder to see. If your headlights are in bad shape, ask a mechanic to polish it for you using a sander.
  • Get a Tune-up. Instead of dealing with all the particulars, just take your car to a trusted mechanic and tell them to fix the tire pressure, add antifreeze, check fluids, etcetera. It’ll save you some time having someone do all the little maintenance tasks for you on the spot.
  • Keep the Gas Tank at Least Half Full. If you have roadside assistance, they may bring you fuel if you run out, but it’s better to just make sure you have enough gas to get you home without any hiccups in the freezing weather.

Common winter insurance claims are related to accidents in the home, office or on the road.

Winter Insurance for Businesses

Businesses have insurance needs too. Aside from workers compensation, business insurance is not required but it’s important to have at least the basics, possibly in a business owner policy, which bundles the most commonly purchased types of business insurance at a reduced cost.

Here are the common types of claims that are filed in winter and how to avoid them.

Common Winter Business Insurance Claims


  • Make sure your business insurance has adequate business property coverage in case everything is destroyed.
  • Don’t overburden power strips.
  • Keep hazardous materials in a safe place, especially combustible materials.
  • Properly dispose of hazardous waste.
  • Make sure that employees only smoke in smoking designated areas.

Customer injuries

Thefts and retail crime


  • Just as you need renters insurance on an apartment you rent, you need business property coverage to protect your office or shop and all the things you keep there, including machinery, furniture and more.

Burst pipes

  • If you have the right business property coverage, you will be covered for damage caused to everything in the office or shop.
  • Make sure your landlord does regular maintenance of your space to avoid incurring losses and having to file a claim, which will increase your rate.

Flood insurance

  • If a flood caused by weather events damages your property, you will only be covered if you carry a commercial flood insurance policy, which is only sold separately from standard commercial insurance.

Wind damage

  • In some states, where tornados and hurricanes happen more often, there is an added wind deductible. While the structure of the building of your shop or office is covered by the landlord, you’ll need commercial property insurance to cover wind damage or destruction of your office furniture, machinery, inventory and everything else related to the business. You will be responsible for the commercial property insurance deductible amount.

Product liability

  • If you sell a product and it ends up being defective or it malfunctions and causes personal injury, product liability coverage will cover legal fees associated with lawsuits.

Reputational damage

  • Most general liability insurance policies will protect against slip-and-fall accidents as well as slander, libel and false advertising claims.

Car accidents

  • Make sure you have business auto insurance before you have an accident with a car used for work purposes and a personal auto insurance policy. You may not be covered for your losses otherwise.

Winter Insurance for Health

Unfortunately, you can’t exactly load up your health insurance when the weather drops and all sorts of illnesses begin to circulate in our communities. However, winter is when open enrollment is in full swing. If you miss the deadline, you may be eligible to buy health insurance during a special enrollment period, which is when a major life event allows you to enroll outside the open enrollment period.

Even if you’re the type of person who gets sick once a year, it’s a good idea to be insured, especially during cold and flu season. Not all health insurance policies are unaffordable and buying one will save you hundreds or thousands of dollars if you do fall seriously ill or get injured.

Common Winter Health Costs and Prevention Tips


  • You may not need to consult a doctor for the common cold, if you’re not running a fever or have complications. Over-the-counter medications may be covered with an FSA or HSA.
  • Eating well and getting adequate rest will help keep your immune system strong.


  • Prevent the flu by getting your flu shot each year. It’s covered by most medical insurance policies.
  • There is no cure for the flu but a serious case may require a doctor or Teladoc visit, maybe even the emergency room if breathing becomes labored.


  • People 65 and up are eligible for free pneumonia vaccines.
  • The vaccine is also available to those who are at high risk, including those with asthma, COPD and other lung diseases as well as heart disease, diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver or alcoholism.


  • There are vaccines and boosters against Covid, and they are covered by health insurance for nearly every age group.

Sore throat

  • You may want to save money on copays by contacting Teladoc instead of visiting your doctor for a mild sore throat and runny nose but no fever.
  • If a sore throat persists, visit a doctor in case there’s a need for antibiotics.

Strep throat

  • Your doctor will likely prescribe an antibiotic medication, which is very inexpensive with health insurance coverage.

Asthma attacks

  • Medications and inhalers are covered for asthma. So are pneumonia vaccines.


  • Severe frostbite can be extremely dangerous and could result in the loss of digits and limbs. An emergency room visit is covered if you need help outside of your doctor’s office hours.

Seasonal depression

  • Luckily, health insurance plans usually cover mental health. Speak with your doctor about your moods in winter and see if you can get a referral to a psychiatrist. Talk therapy is also included in health insurance coverage.

Heart attacks

  • The cold puts more stress on the heart so stay warm and avoid outdoor exercise. Eat a healthy diet prescribed by your doctor and avoid tobacco products.

Tips for Saving on Health Costs in Winter

So, you got the flu and then a cough which is not going away. Your copay for your individual health insurance plan or work-sponsored health insurance policy is out of your budget right now. Have you tried using Teladoc? Check the front of your health insurance card, and there should be a phone number for you to reach Teladoc. In fact, it should say how much you’ll have to pay for a visit

If you do not see one, you may not have coverage but you can still use the service, which may even be cheaper than visiting your doctor and having to pay a copay. Just visit

Buying health will save you hundreds or thousands of dollars if you fall seriously ill or get injured.

Winter Insurance Guide FAQs

Can you pause car insurance in winter?

No, you can’t pause insurance coverage. If you stop making payments, your insurance will eventually become invalid due to non-payment and you’ll have no coverage thereafter. However, you’ll have to pay much more when you buy car insurance again. Even if you wait out your six-month coverage term and keep your car uninsured for a month or two or three, you will see a rate hike when you go to properly insure your car again. Lapses in coverage are expensive, and the DMV keeps an eye on it for every car and driver.

Does renters insurance cover winter-related damage?

Renters insurance covers personal property damaged by winter weather, such as a burst pipe damaging a rug, clothes, electronics or other belongings.

Are COVID-19 tests and treatments covered by health insurance?

Health insurance covers COVID-19 prevention in the form of vaccines as well as testing and medically necessary treatments if you get sick. Your out-of-pocket costs will depend on the type of coverage you have and the level of coverage.

Does health insurance cover injuries caused by slips and falls in icy conditions?

Injuries resulting from slips and falls are generally covered by health insurance. If the injury occurs on someone else's property, like their driveway, the liability portion of their home or renters insurance may pay the bills. However, it will not pay the medical bills for household members.


  1. Icy Roads. Icy Road Statistics.
  2. U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. Snow and Ice.

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