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In cold weather, the risk of water pipes freezing is a real issue.

A frozen pipe can damage not only the pipe, but also other areas of your home. As water in pipes freezes, it also expands. The expanding ice could rupture the pipe. A ruptured pipe could cause flooding and other water damage.

You may expect your home insurance to protect you in cases of burst pipes. But, hold that thought.

Often, home insurance providers expect you to take steps to keep pipes from freezing at all. Many home insurance policies don’t cover flood damages. These exclusions often include flood damages from frozen, burst pipes.

It is your duty to reduce the risk of damage from frozen pipes. As cold weather beckons, follow these steps to keep the risk of broken pipes low.

  • Insulate your pipes. Pipes may be under floors, inside walls, and under your foundations. If the pipes are directly exposed to cold air, then the risk of freezing is higher. Insulate the exposed pipes by wrapping them. Many materials can provide insulation. Even wrapping newspaper around pipes can help.
  • During below-freezing weather, let faucets drip. Even a trickle can keep water from freezing.
  • Open cabinets to expose indoor pipes to steady streams of warm air.
  • Keep your home’s indoor temperature steady. Changes in a house's temperature can be bad for pipes. Make sure the house temperature does not drop below freezing in cold weather.
  • Drain hoses and outdoor pools.
  • Clear water from outdoor faucet heads. Wrap the faucet heads with insulation.
  • Consider shutting off the water to outdoor systems. However, after you shut the water off, there still may be water in the pipes. Leave the pipe head open. That way, the expanding water has somewhere to go.
  • Think ahead. Consider having protective pipe wrapping installed. If you remodel, consider insulating pipes or relocating them.

Pipes along exterior walls or under floors are often at the greatest freeze risks. Know where these pipes are, and protect them during cold weather.

The American Red Cross offers a variety of information on dealing with frozen pipes. They also offer other prevention techniques.

Auto Insurers of Virginia is here to help you find the right coverage to protect you in case of frozen pipes. Contact us today for more information. You can call us at (800) 909-8103 or go online for a fast Richmond home insurance quote.

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