Impending winter weather can affect more than just the bread supply at the grocery store and your child’s chances of a day off school. From the workers who have to brave the roads to your own fun at home, there are numerous situations when insurance plays a role in your safety during inclement weather.
Below is a fictional winter tale where you will encounter FIVE different scenarios that all have one thing in common: snow. See if you can spot the five times insurance could protect you and your family during a routine snow day.
Jim and Pam live in Anytown, a picturesque, family-friendly Midwestern city where they are lucky enough to experience all four seasons – sometimes, all in the same week!
One winter day, a massive storm rolls through and blankets Anytown in 10 inches of snow. Fortunately, newscasters knew the storm was coming. Roads, walkways and parking lots are being plowed before the residents of Anytown head to work. Jim decides to drive Pam’s SUV to work, since his sedan does not have four-wheel drive.
Pam stays home to plow the driveway while her children, Philip and Cecelia, are making a snowman. Once they are inside and drinking hot cocoa, Pam calls Jim to make sure he made it to work safely. She is pleased to know that several of Jim’s coworkers made it to the office, too, so that he won’t be all by himself. What a lovely snow day in Anytown!
Snow Insurance #1: Snow Plow Insurance
“Fortunately, newscasters knew the storm was coming. Roads, walkways and parking lots are being plowed before the residents of Anytown head to work.”
When an area has experienced any kind of precipitation, road and parking lot safety are a high-priority concern. Property owners of any kind have a legal obligation to maintain a safe environment for others. So, when a business owner contracts with a snow removal company, they have a shared liability for any accidents that occur on the property as a result of services performed to treat the snow and ice – whether insufficiently or not at all. Because of this, it is critically important that businesses hire reputable snow plow companies that are properly insured.
Just one snow plow vehicle can have at least four different types of insurance coverages, including:
- Commercial Auto Insurance – To protect the truck or fleet of trucks;
- Inland Marine Insurance – To protect the actual plowing tool;
- General Liability Insurance – To protect against claims of injury, property damage, or other similar risks, and;
- Workers’ Compensation – To protect employees who operate the snow plow.
Snow Insurance #2: Car Insurance
“Jim decides to drive Pam’s SUV to work, since his sedan does not have four-wheel drive.”
Jim was smart to make sure his car has the capability to drive on snow more safely, and it would be wise for your family to do the same.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, more than 70 percent of the nation’s roads are located in snowy regions – defined as areas that receive an average of 5 or more inches of snowfall annually. In other words: a lot of drivers are out in less-than-desirable conditions nationwide. For insurers like us, this creates a big concern for car accidents.
- Case Study: In January 2019, the greater St. Louis area received nearly a foot of snow over the course of a frosty Friday storm. By 2 p.m. the next day, the Highway Patrol had responded to 3,918 calls for service and 878 crashes, including dozens of injuries and four casualties.
The easiest way to avoid a car accident in the snow is to avoid driving altogether. If that is not an option, make sure your Car Insurance includes comprehensive coverage to protect you against damages caused by natural disaster, including snow. Click here to learn more.
Snow Insurance #3: Homeowners Insurance
“Pam stays home to plow the driveway while her children, Phillip and Cecelia, are making a snowman.”
Home is the absolute safest place to be during a snow storm. You and your family can enjoy hot chocolate, blankets, movies and endless pet cuddles. But just as snow and ice can pose some unique challenges for drivers, the same is true for homeowners who are tasked with prepping their space for a winter hibernation. The best way to ensure you won’t have to file for costly repairs and unexpected home renovations is to take the proper precautions.
Several common Homeowners Insurance claims resulting from snow damage are:
- Frozen pipes, which may or may not cause…
- Water damage and flooding;
- Fallen trees;
- Slip and falls;
- Roof damage from the weight of snow and/or ice; and,
- Losses or expenses related to power failure, such as food or hotel bills.
Contact an Insurance Broker to make sure your Homeowners Insurance protects you from all of the above scenarios.
- Bonus Tip: If you are looking for recommendations for a reputable local tree removal service to protect your home from fallen trees or branches, Webb Insurance proudly recommends Hansen’s Tree Service and Liscombe Tree Service.
Snow Insurance #4: Commercial Property Insurance
“Pam calls Jim to make sure he made it to work safely.”
Not everyone can enjoy a snow day. In some parts of the country, where heavy snowfall is common, it can take two feet of snow in order for schools and certain businesses to close. Those odds aren’t good!
If you are among the first responders, government employees or just-plain dedicated employees heading to the office when there’s snow on the ground, your employer’s Commercial Property Insurance probably helps provide them with peace of mind.
In the simplest of terms, Homeowners Insurance is to homeowners as Commercial Property Insurance is to business owners. A more detailed definition would be:
- Commercial Property Insurance is a policy that protects an office premises and all of its contents from water damage, losses or expenses related to power failure, and other risks outlined in the “Homeowners” section above.
Commercial Property Insurance is an important tool that can help protect small business owners from the financial losses of any unexpected mishaps, such as a power outage or office closure due to snow and ice. If your business is renting an office space, talk to an Insurance Broker about Commercial Renters Insurance.
Snow Insurance #5: Workers’ Compensation
“[Pam] is pleased to know that several of Jim’s coworkers made it to the office, too, so that he won’t be all by himself.”
Some employees, such as snow plow operators, work in inherently dangerous conditions. For others, even coming into the office on a snowy day could pose a threat to their safety – if they fall and break their arm in the parking lot after slipping on a patch of ice, for example. You may be familiar with these being referred to as “slip and fall” incidents.
Workers’ Compensation is a type of coverage that is typically mandated by state law, and covers medical expenses and lost wages for employees who are injured while performing the duties of their job (whether or not they are on-premises).
- Note: The specifics of this type of coverage are an issue of state law, and the penalties for forgoing this coverage are severe. Skimping on the coverage your business needs, whether intentionally or unintentionally, is one of the most common (and costly) small business insurance mistakes.
An Insurance Broker can help procure the Workers’ Compensation coverage you need to be in full compliance with your state’s law. To get a free, no-obligation quote on Workers’ Compensation coverage in your state, click here.
Get the Snow Insurance You Need from Webb Insurance
Don’t let snow get you down. The team of independent brokers at Webb Insurance has a wide variety of Personal Insurance products to help protect your belongings from a blizzard. For business owners, you can count on Webb Insurance to serve as a trusted St. Charles insurance broker for all of your Commercial Insurance needs.