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Does Your NYC Homeowners Insurance Cover Damage from Frozen Pipes?

‘Tis the season for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and New Years. Condo and Cooperatives owners and tenants in New York City are thinking about Holiday Cheer, not holiday season chills from extremely low temperatures. Over a twenty-year study tracked by the insurance industry, the annual average for claims caused by seasonal issues was $1.7 billion. You might expect that winter storms wreaked havoc, but no. The leading cause of winter homeowners’ insurance claims is burst pipes. United Public Adjusters & Appraisers assists many clients’ with their claims for frozen pipe damages so here is our take on what to be aware of this Holiday Season and beyond.

How old is your Condo or Coop building? An antiquated pipe layout system that hugs non-insulated brick or cement walls is vulnerable to cracking, as are vintage pipes made from cast iron or copper. PVC pipe will better withstand extreme cold, but even these pipes should be wrapped with insulation as well as water heaters and even steam heating system conduit. Speak with your condo/coop boards to make sure this critical maintenance is carried out.

Did you know? Unheated attic spaces are the leading cause of burst pipes. Few owners or tenants realize that their building infrastructure likely has piping running overhead. If you live in a townhouse community, check your bylaws to see if the responsibility for maintaining your plumbing in a common space is yours or your board’s. That goes for sprinkler systems as well. While fire system plumbing is like not a resident’s responsibility, in the event that the system freezes, subsequent damages will be. So check your bylaws, speak with your board, and review your condos/cooperative insurance policy before you, um, ‘have to’. Remember, the best homeowners’ claim is the one that doesn’t happen.

We do not want to dampen (no pun intended) your Holiday spirits with the spectre of a possible homeowner insurance claim. There are simple, low cost installs any resident can perform DIY for increased peace of mind. For example, if your hot water heater is inside your unit, consider installing a leak sensor. That will set you back less than $50 from the big box store. Add heat retention in the form of insulation wherever possible, especially if your water pipes are inside non-insulated exterior walls. A can of foam spray is inexpensive and provides some protection as well as peace of mind.

In the event that this winter brings an unexpected homeowner’s claim from frozen pipe damages, give our team a call. At United Public Adjusters & Appraisers, we’ll gladly assist you to prepare and submit your claim, as well as ensure that you receive the maximum settlement that your homeowners’ insurance allows.

Call us now at 800-718-5677 to prepare for the coldest months ahead.


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