|Snow Moon image courtesy of pixabay.com|
Last week brought us the “Full Snow Moon”, also known as the “Full Hunger Moon”. Maybe I simply wasn’t paying close attention in the past, but this was the first time I heard each moon came with its own name, based on the month, dating back to Native Americans. With February being known as having heavy snow falls which makes hunting more difficult, it is easy to see how “Snow” and “Hunger” was connected to the name for the February moon.
Anyway, today’s forecast once again featured a weekend warning for strong winter storms, sure to bring huge amounts of the cold, wet, white stuff. Sure, it looks beautiful as it is falling, but man does it ever wreak some havoc when it lands!
So in the spirit of all the heavy snow, I wanted to point out a few ways those cute and fluffy flakes can be dangerous to all kinds of property, and how insurance companies might try to slide out from covering the damage.
|Image courtesy of en.wikipedia.org|
While it looks a bit like whipped marshmallow topping, snow is actually quite heavy. Accumulated snow and ice (we usually only see the snow on top, but there is usually ice underneath) can topple trees, or at least break large branches. These trees and branches may harmlessly fall to the ground, or they can smash anything they land on…roofs, fences, pools, walkways, power lines, cars, outdoor furniture and swing sets…whatever gets in the way. Trees being heavy and dense, they can really pack a wallop. I once handled a claim where a large tree basically split a 2-story apartment building in half, causing over $400,000 in damages.
Even without involving trees, heavy snow can collapse roofs. And what do you suppose happens to the tons of snow once it gets inside the warm building whose roof just caved in? If you guessed, “melts into hundreds of gallons of freezing water and soas every last nook and cranny of a home,” you’re right!
The snow and ice can also bring down power lines that are sparked from falling trees. When damaged by trees or just the weight of ice and snow, once the power lines come down, the damage totals rise. Food spoils, electrical components get spikes and surges (before or after the outage), and temperatures inside homes drop drastically. This often makes for frozen pipes, and in many cases, as the water inside the pipes freeze, the water expands, causing the pipes to rupture. Since these ruptures take place inside of walls, they can’t be seen – until, that is, the frozen pipes thaw out and water pours from the ruptured section of pipe.
|Image courtesy of YouTube.com|
Snow falling on roadways create other hazards, such as reduced visibility, black ice, snow drifts, and generally slippery conditions that are prime for auto accidents. Cars then slide into other cars, or other property, making for colossal collisions costing copious quantities of cash.
As you can see, when it comes down to it, snow (in one form or another) has the ability to damage pretty much anything it comes into contact with. Naturally, the heavier the snow even, the greater the potential for damage. But that is why you buy insurance, right? Of course, it is.
But if you’ve been following my blogs at all, even an insurance novice can probably begin to formulate some of the slippery excuses some insurance companies might try to give in order to slide out from paying these claims:
“Wear and tear”
“Faulty construction, defective materials, or poor design”
“Failure to maintain heat”
“Failure to drain plumbing pipes”
“Continuous and repeated seepage of water”
“Excluded power surge”
“Failure to mitigate damages”
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Heck, some might even claim you misrepresented some obscure and completely unrelated answer on your insurance application form when you initially purchased the policy many years ago. If so, they could declare the entire policy to be void, regardless of whether or not this particular loss is covered. I call this phenomenon, “Denial by rescission”, and yes, it really happens.
Even if they can’t find a way to deny the claim completely, there are always plenty of icy obstacles they can use to delay, deflect, reduce and defend their actions and your payments. All of these can frustrate weary policyholders to the breaking point, where walking away from a fair settlement seems better than continuing to engage in the mental torture an insurance claim can inflict.
Well, that got cold and gloomy in a hurry! So let’s come back around and end on a nice note, with the names of all the full moons for the entire year (according to www.farmersalmanac.com):
– January - Full Wolf Moon
– February - Full Snow Moon
– March - Full Worm Moon
– April - Full Pink Moon
– May - Full Flower Moon
– June - Full Strawberry Moon
– July - The Full Buck Moon
– August - Full Sturgeon Moon
– September - Full Corn Moon or Full Harvest Moon
– October - Full Hunter’s Moon or Full Harvest Moon
– November - Full Beaver Moon
– December - The Full Cold Moon; or the Full Long Nights Moon
And if you ever find yourself sliding down the slippery slope of insurance company denial, remember to call your friendly pubic claims adjuster. He knows how to cut Frosty down to size.
Mark Goldwich is president of Gold Star Adjusters, a group of public insurance adjusters dedicated to helping citizens get the maximum settlement for any insurance claim.