Be Prepared for Common Winter Vehicle Insurance Claims

Preparing for Winter

As you can imagine, icy roads lead to a spike in auto insurance claims. Here are the ones to watch out for the most.


Even if you’re driving carefully and diligently, someone else could veer off due to ice and slam into you. Depending on the road conditions, you could wind up with a minor fender bender or a severely damaged vehicle.

Tree Damage

Branches don’t just fall onto roofs. If your car is parked under a tree and it collapses, then you’re looking at some significant damage and repair.

Pothole Damage

Winter weather can lead to a lot of problems with the roads, which usually take the form of potholes. In some cases, these can be quite large and deep, which means that they could damage your suspension or axles if you’re not careful.

Are You Covered?

Hopefully, you will not experience any of these circumstances. However, all kinds of damages can occur during extreme weather.  Is your coverage sufficient?  For example, if you had to abandon your car due to severe ice and snow and it was towed, will your insurance cover it? Usually, you’re on your own in that case, but some cities will waive fees due to extenuating circumstances.

Don’t be caught unprepared.  Let us help you with an insurance review.  It’s easy and provides great peace of mind.  Give us a call at 865-922-3111 or click here to contact BJI.


Preparing For Winter Series

Preparing Your Vehicle for Winter

Preparing for Winter

Depending on the kind of car you drive, winter weather can be a hassle for several reasons. First, the roads are going to be tough to traverse, with black ice and snow causing you to skid and slide all over the place.

Second, if your car is exposed to the elements, it may get damaged in the process. In many cases, your battery will die from the cold temperatures. In extreme cases, some of the fluids in your engine could freeze, or the whole engine block could crack.

So, with that in mind, here are some ways to keep your car in good shape this winter.

Prepare a Winter Supply Case

If you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow, you never know if you will get stranded somewhere. In these situations, it can be crucial to have supplies on hand to get out safely. Some items to include are road flares, emergency blanket, radio, an ice scraper, some water and snacks, and jumper cables. If you really want to be prepared, then keep a spare charger for the battery.

Check Your Fluids

Antifreeze and coolant are going to be the most vital liquids for your engine during the winter, so make sure that they are topped off before the first snowfall.  Be sure to test them to make sure they are appropriate for the surrounding temperature.

Inspect Your Tires

Although you may have to rely on chains to get around, you also want to be sure that your tires have sufficient traction for the roads. If they are getting bald, you need to replace them ASAP. This is also good advice in general, not just for winter.

Another thing to make sure of is that your tire pressure is sufficient. With cold weather, it’s best if they are a little underinflated (maybe five psi lower than normal) so that you can get better traction.

Switch to Winter Wiper Fluid

Usually, the fluid that stays in your car to keep your windshield clean is going to freeze during the winter. A specialized mix will remain viscous during the season and allow you to clean your windows without worry.

Use Winter Oil

Like wiper fluid, your oil may not be optimized for colder weather. As such, be sure to get an oil change before the temperatures drop dramatically so that you can keep your car in pristine shape during the frozen months.


Preparing For Winter Series

Be Prepared for Common Winter Homeowners Insurance Claims

Preparing for Winter

As we mentioned, the winter is a busy season for insurance agents due to the spike in claims. But what kind of issues are homeowners experiencing the most this time of year? Here are some examples.

Roof Damage

Most of us don’t pay too much attention to our roofs until they are caving in on us. The added weight of ice and snow can lead to a collapse if you’re not careful. Even if the worst doesn’t happen, it is possible to have to replace some  roofing.  Make sure your roof is in good condition before winter storms occur.

Fallen Trees

Branches and tree trunks can drop onto your house with little warning or notice, and the results can be devastating. Although you can’t always prepare yourself for this kind of occurrence, you can remove any old or decaying branches before the first snow falls. Look for any trees that may be leaning toward or over your house.  Talk with a professional about possible solutions.

Burst Pipes

The pipes inside our homes are not always built to withstand such temperature variations, which means that they could crack or burst if you’re not careful. Improper insulation and installation is usually the culprit, and the results could be a flooded home. Be sure that all pipes all insulated properly, and you might consider using spigot covers during cold months.

Fire Damage

As we mentioned in Preparing Your Home for Winter, your chimney could be a hazard if you don’t get it cleaned. When burning wood in your fireplace, use a fender (a short and long piece of metal that sits on the hearth to protect the rug or floor from flying sparks) and a firescreen.  If you are using  a space heater, leave plenty of area around the heater and be sure there are no flammable objects near it.

Are You Covered?

Before winter hits, do an insurance review with your agent to ensure that you’re covered from things like falling branches, “acts of God,” as well as other potential damages. You don’t want to wait until a pipe bursts to find out that you’re not covered for such things. Even if you’ve gone years without such a claim, you never know what the future holds. An insurance review could save you thousands of dollars.

Call 265-922-3111 or use our contact form to schedule your insurance review.


Preparing For Winter Series

Preparing Your Home for Winter

Preparing for Winter

Since your house may get covered in snow and ice, you want to be sure that the severe weather isn’t going to breach the inside, nor leave behind lasting damage that will have to be repaired. Although you can’t prevent any and all kinds of problems from occurring, you can avoid many common issues that plague homeowners this time of year.

When it comes to protecting your home from the harsh winter weather, your primary goal is to make sure that the cold stays outside where it belongs. Also, you want to keep an eye on parts of your home that are exposed to the elements, including the roof, windows, and gutters.

Keep in mind that this list is not comprehensive, but it should give you an idea of what to think about to get your home ready this winter.

Clean Your Gutters

If leaves and water are sitting in your gutters during the cold season, they could freeze over and cause damage to the gutter itself. In addition, if they get too heavy from an abundance of ice and snow, they could buckle and damage your roof in the process.

Overall, you want to keep them as clear as possible so that when the snows arrive, they aren’t adding to a bunch of gunk that is already there. One thing to remember is that it’s best to wait until there are no more leaves dropping so that you only have to do this once.

Repair Cracks

As water freezes inside these cracks, the ice will expand, widening and deepening the damage. Over time, a little break can turn into a fault line, which can put your home at risk. Ideally, you will work on cracks on both the pavement surrounding your home as well as any masonry that is on the outside (i.e., the chimney).

If your foundation is starting to crack, it’s imperative that you patch it up ASAP. If you let it go too long, then it could spell disaster for your house and lead to significant damage.

Inspect Your Heating System

Depending on where you live, you likely don’t have to use your heater until the weather gets colder. This means that it sits unused for months on end, which can lead to inefficient operation when the time comes.

As such, you want to get all of your machinery inspected before the temperatures drop so that you can improve your energy and heating bills and ensure that it won’t break down when it counts the most.

Reverse Ceiling Fans

This is a minor step, but it can have significant effects. By reversing the flow of the fan blades, you’re moving hot air up and around the home more efficiently, which can help you save some money on heating bills. Also, it enables you to use them all year long since you don’t have to worry about the fan cooling you down when it’s already freezing outside.

Clean Your Chimney

Unless you have a gas fireplace, chances are that your chimney needs some cleaning before you start putting wood inside. Many house fires are started from flammable material that wasn’t removed, so don’t put yourself at risk. If necessary, hire a professional to inspect and clean the inside thoroughly.

Preparing For Winter Series

Preparing for Winter Series

Preparing for Winter

As we’ve seen in years past, winters are getting more brutal and harder to recover from if you’re not prepared. In some areas, buckets of snow and ice can fall in a seemingly endless barrage until you’re covered and potentially snowed in.

This kind of weather can wreak havoc on your home and your car, which is why it’s so crucial that you prepare your properties ahead of time. Don’t wait until the first snow falls to update vital elements of your home or automobile as that will be too late.

In this series, we provide you with some how-to tips to keep your items safe and secure this winter, as well as look at how you can avoid costly insurance claims. This time of year can be one of the busiest for insurance agents.  These tips may help you avoid being part of that that statistic.

Make sure that you are well-covered.  If you haven’t done an annual insurance review yet, the beginning of the year is a great time.  It’s easy.  Just give us a call at 865-922-3111 or click here to use our contact form.