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Pipe burst on vacation may lead to denied insurance claim

For many homeowners in Minnesota, the winter season always seems to be dragging on by the time we reach February. After shoveling tons of snow, putting salt on the driveway and sidewalk and trying to remove snow or ice from the roof, many homeowners are fed up with winter. 

Typical winter weather is likely to continue for at least a few more weeks. Minnesota homeowners should be aware of a property loss case in another Midwestern state to show why it is important to take steps to prevent winter weather from damaging your home and why it is vital to understand your homeowner's insurance policy. 

The case for a family in Missouri may have many readers cringing but serves as a reminder to why you should check your insurance policy and take steps to prevent any damage to your home before going on vacation. 

A Missouri family went on vacation to Florida and while they were away, a pipe burst in their home. The pipe was on the top floor of their home and caused 44,000 gallons of water to leak through the house before water was turned off. Due to the cold weather, ice poked out through the window frames and siding on the lower floor and the entire house was soaked. 

Water and ice damage is a home is never good news and can be very costly to clean up and repair. That is why homeowners turn to their insurance policy for coverage. Unfortunately, depending on the provisions in the homeowner's policy, the insurance company may not provide insurance coverage

The insurance company often asks what caused the pipe to burst in the home. If it was because the homeowners turned the heat down or off while they were gone, causing the pipe to freeze and burst, they may not provide coverage for the damage. If the homeowner's failed to maintain heat in the home, the insurance company may be able to deny their insurance claim, leaving the homeowner struggling to try and clean up the mess.

This case is an example of why it is important to understand your insurance policy and what steps the insurance company will expect you to take to prevent any damage to the property and personal items. In some cases, insurance companies may claim the homeowner failed to maintain certain provisions and their insurance claim may be denied. 

Source: Property Casualty 360, "The Year's Worst Winter Property Loss Nightmare?" Diana B. Reitz, Feb. 14, 2014

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