CBIZ INNKEEPERS INSURANCE BLOG

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Hayden Ward
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Winter Woes: Top Innkeeper Insurance Claims & How to Prevent Them

Top 5 Winter Insurance Claims for Innkeepers

You face unique risks each day as a Bed & Breakfast owner. Harsh winter weather elevates those risks with ice and snow buildup, ice covered tree limbs and walkways, and freezing pipes. Those risks lead to increased property damage and liability claims.

Let’s take a look at the top five winter Bed & Breakfast insurance claims and ways you can reduce the risk of having to file a claim.

Top Winter Claim #1: Frozen Pipes

Winter’s frigid temperatures lead to the most common and expensive claim -- water damage caused by frozen pipes. Use pipe sleeves or heat tape to insulate pipes in areas that are susceptible to freezing … think crawl spaces and basements. Take it a step further by installing a water detection device like Flo that alerts you when a leak occurs.

Don’t forget to disconnect, drain, and store outdoor hoses before the first freeze of the season. Close indoor valves that supply outdoor spigots.

If you close your Inn for winter, make sure to open all of your faucets and drain your water lines. Don’t forget to have someone check the premises on a scheduled basis while you are away. They can help in the event of a winter storm or emergency. For more ideas to take before leaving your Inn or just preparing it for the colder season, download our free Winterizing Checklist.

Top Winter Claim #2: Fire

The chances of indoor fires in the winter are increased because of drier air, gatherings and meals, and increased use of fireplaces and space heaters. Following correct maintenance and safety precautions is your best line of defense to prevent a fire. Most insurance carriers require operational fireplaces, chimneys, flues, and wood-burning stoves and be cleaned and inspected annually.

Top Winter Claim #3: Slip and Fall Accidents

Snow and ice contribute to an increase of slip and fall injuries. If one happens on your Bed & Breakfast property, you could be held liable.

Reduce the risk of a winter slip and fall by keeping your walkways, driveway, and outdoor steps free from ice and snow. Apply a commercial grade ice melt product to melt the ice, provide traction, and prevent refreezing and black ice. If you’re unable to clear snow and ice at your property, consider hiring a professional snow removal service.

Top Winter Claim #4: Property Damage from Snow and Ice

Snow and ice can provide an idyllic setting, but it can also wreak havoc on your Bed & Breakfast. Heavy snow and ice can weigh down weak tree branches causing them to fall, possibly injuring someone or causing damage to property. It is never a bad idea to display falling ice and snow signs around the premises if your property is prone to heavy snowfall. When weather allows, it is always prudent to remove weak branches and dead or dying trees.

Ice dams are another common problem caused by snow and ice. Ice dams are formed in your gutters when snow and ice melts and refreezes. Ice dams can cause water runoff to back up, potentially seeping through your roof and causing damaged ceilings, walls, roof structure and more. Keeping your gutters clean can help prevent ice dams.

Top Winter Claim #5: Don’t Get Blown Away by Wind Damage

You may be surprised to learn that wind damage is a top claim source. Winter storms and changing weather can create massive gusts causing major property damage.

Remove anything outside that isn’t secured to the ground — like furniture and shade umbrellas. These items can become projectiles and cause serious damage to your property. Inspect your gutters, shutters, and exterior for loose items and make repairs before the wind has a chance to damage them further.

Protect Your Bed & Breakfast with Innkeepers Insurance

Preventative measures can reduce your risk, but still claims happen. Innkeepers insurance can help protect you from these common winter claims and more with property damage, liability coverage, and loss of income protection. Don’t let winter woes get the best of you. Rest easy knowing you have comprehensive coverage. Speak with one of our CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance experts or request a consultation!

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. Coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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