Protect Your Home and Business From the Aftermath of Winter Storm Octavia

The Appalachian region is bracing for winter storm Octavia, which is bringing with it a wintry mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow. Many homeowners may feel powerless against the wrath of Mother Nature, but Bill Arowood, president of Appalachian Underwriters, Inc., says there are things homeowners can do after the storm passes to protect their homes from damage.

“First, everyone needs to know that standard homeowners or business insurance policies cover a wide range of winter-related disasters such as burst pipes, ice dams, wind damage, leaky roofs, and building collapse caused by the weight of ice or snow,” Arowood said. He adds that coverage for backup of sewers and drains also is available. Flood damage is excluded from most standard policies.

Arowood recommends homeowners do the following to prevent damage from the melting snow and from future storms:

  • Keep your home warm. The temperature in the home should be at least 65 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Watch for snow accumulation on the leeward (downwind) side of a higher-level roof, where blowing snow will collect. For safe removal that won’t damage your roof, consult a roofing contractor for a referral.
  • Snow or rain that freezes in gutters can cause an “ice dam,” damaging ceilings as melting ice spreads under roof shingles. Keep gutters clean of leaves and debris to prevent this condition.
  • Remove branches that become heavy with snow and icicles hanging from gutters and over walkways.
  • As snow melts, water can back-up sewers and drains resulting in flooding. Local government officials should be notified if street drains are clogged.
  • Stock up on fuel in case of a power outage, such as firewood or propane if you have a back up heat source.

For more information about Appalachian Underwriters, Inc., please visit

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