SCC Encourages Virginians to Review Insurance Ahead of Severe Winter Weather


JAN 19, 2024

RICHMOND – With severe winter weather here, now is the time to protect your home, business, vehicles and other property from the elements.

Every year, winter weather causes billions of dollars in losses on homes, businesses, vehicles and other property.

The State Corporation Commission’s (SCC) Bureau of Insurance (Bureau) encourages Virginians to give their insurance coverage a thorough review and get their homes and vehicles ready for harsh winter conditions. Knowing and understanding the limits of your insurance coverage, as well as any deductibles you may have to pay in the event of a claim, is essential.

Winter weather events are often responsible for tree limbs breaking and falling on homes, vehicles and power lines. Flooding of property and interior damage to structures can occur as snow and ice melt after a winter storm ends. Sub-freezing temperatures can lead to broken pipes inside and outside your home.

“Plan ahead for seasonal and other hazards,” said Virginia Insurance Commissioner Scott A. White. “Homeowners, renters and commercial-property policies can protect you against many types of winter weather threats, but there are exceptions. Contact your insurance agent or company or the SCC’s Bureau of Insurance to learn more.”

To help reduce the risk of damage to your home and property this winter, the Bureau suggests the following:

  • Remove dead, dying, diseased or broken tree limbs near your home and property.
  • Remove debris from your gutters to help prevent ice dams and allow melting water to drain freely away from your home.
  • Inspect your attic insulation and ventilation to ensure warm air stays in the living areas of your home and out of the attic. Keeping attic air cold can help minimize the freeze/thaw cycle that causes ice dams, which may cause interior water damage to your home. Proper insulation of your home has the added advantage of helping save energy and may reduce your heating costs.
  • Protect your pipes from freezing. Detach garden hoses from your home before temperatures drop below freezing and properly winterize pipes and irrigation systems around your home. To protect interior pipes, leave your faucet running slightly to allow water to trickle through the pipes, reducing the chance that standing water will freeze. Opening the cabinet doors under your sink allows warm air to circulate around your pipes and to help keep them from freezing.
  • Make sure fireplaces, wood stoves and electric heaters work properly. Additionally, keep combustible items away from heat sources.

Damages to property due to wind, snow, cold and freezing rain are often covered under standard homeowners, renters and commercial-property insurance policies. Property damage caused by flooding typically is not covered, but separate flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program at and may be available through your insurance carrier.

It’s important to contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible in the event your home or property suffers damage from severe winter weather. When safe to do so, make any necessary emergency repairs and take reasonable steps to prevent further damage. Record all damage to your property and include photographs, notes and repair-related receipts.

Your homeowners policy may also cover certain incidents where someone slips and falls on slick sidewalks or other surfaces on your property. Review your policy or contact your agent or company to check for this coverage under the liability and medical payments portion of the policy.

In the event of an auto accident between two or more vehicles due to snowy and slippery road conditions, or if your vehicle crashes into an object affixed along a roadway (such as a streetlight) due to those conditions, standard auto insurance policies generally provide collision coverage. Checking to see whether your auto insurance covers damage to your vehicle caused by ice, snow and falling tree limbs is also helpful. Damages of this nature usually fall under other-than-collision (or comprehensive) coverage on your vehicle, which protects against damage to a vehicle from such things as fire, water, hail, vandalism, glass breakage, wind and falling objects.

The Bureau offers consumer guides regarding homeowners, renters, commercial and auto insurance and disaster-related property insurance claims. For copies of these and other publications, or for answers to your insurance questions, contact the Bureau’s Property and Casualty Consumer Services Section at 804-371-9185 in Richmond or toll-free at 1-877-310-6560. Copies of the consumer insurance guides are also available on the Bureau’s website at


Contact: Jordan Bondurant, 804-371-9141