Six More Weeks of Winter Still to Come

By Megan Cooney, Marketing Assistant

Every year come February 2, Punxsutawney Phil becomes American’s most beloved and famous weatherman. According to ancient folklore, the groundhog can predict how soon winter will end based on the appearance of his shadow. If Phil doesn’t see his shadow when he leaves his burrow, it signifies that winter will end soon. However, if he does see his shadow, another six more weeks of winter is still to come.

This year Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, reminding everyone that winter’s not over yet.

So far, winter has been rough, with heavy snowfalls and frigid temperatures reaching far into the negatives. Although winterizing one’s home is done prior to the start of the cold season, it is wise to ensure your home is still properly weatherized for the predicted six more weeks of winter. If not, unforeseen issues could arise that may not be covered by your insurance policy.

** The following scenario is based on a true claims situation.

A husband and wife travel towards warmer temperatures when the cold weather begins to settle in for the season. Rather than leave the house completely vacant, the couple asks a relative to care for the house during the winter months.

Having a temporary tenant means house utilities are still being used, water is flowing through the pipes and the furnace is on. The house is set for automatic oil deliveries, which is one less detail for the tenant to worry about. Unbeknownst to the homeowners, this winter has been a particularly harsh one. Their temporary resident has to keep the heat up higher than usual to ensure the house is warm and to prevent the pipes from freezing.

Suddenly, a pipe burst upstairs and the tenant immediately reports the claim. However, there is speculation from the insurance carrier on whether the claim is covered under the homeowner’s policy. It is discovered that although the house was setup with the oil company for automatic deliveries, the bill has an outstanding balance. A reservation of right’s letter is sent to the house.

A reservation of rights letter notifies the insured that the insurance company is reserving its right to deny parts or the entire claim, pending its own investigation. This letter is a normal part of the insurance claims process and can inform the insured that they may need to seek alternative means to cover the costs of the damages or loss.

Take Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction as a sign to meet with your independent agent to discuss the terms and exclusions written into your homeowner’s policy. Call McGrath Insurance Group at 800-342-3859 to set up an appointment.

*This article is written for informational purposes only and should not be construed as providing legal advice.