Winterize your home to avoid personal injury claims

While typically done in the earlier autumn months, if you haven't yet winterized your property, there is still time. Doing so now can save you a bundle of money — not just on costly repairs, but also by preventing potential accidents that could lead to premises liability litigation.

Below are some winterizing tips for Kentucky homeowners to get a jump start on the season.

  • Clean out your gutters. When gutters get clogged with leaves and other debris from trees and winter storms, they can create leaks and cause other damage.
  • Don't forget the roof. It's easy to forget about routine maintenance tasks on the roof. Out of sight, out of mind, as the adage goes. But failing to do at least an annual sweep of the roof while also checking for loose tiles, soft spots or other signs of wear is a recipe for disaster.
  • Clear deadfall off of property. If you have trees or even just bushes on your property, now is the time to pick up downed limbs. If snow covers the surface, they can cause trip-and-fall accidents.
  • Check the viability of trees. Different types of trees have varying lifespans, but even the shorter-lived ones can last 50 years or more. Most homeowners are clueless about the age of their trees, however. This makes it especially important to check for dead or dying trees that can present hazards for homeowners and their guests.
  • Hire a chimney sweep. If you have a fireplace, you should get your chimney inspected and professionally cleaned annually. Forking out $150 or $200 now is money well spent if it prevents a deadly house fire.
  • Check your furnace, too. If your furnace was acting a little iffy last winter, don't put off repairs until it's in the teens with an Arctic front pushing south.
  • Drain and wrap your pipes. The design of your home dictates how you access your pipes, but almost every home has an exterior water outlet. In especially cold weather, these pipes can burst and cost you thousands in repairs.
  • Prepare for snow removal. Kentucky doesn't get snowstorms like New England does, but we are far enough north to see some accumulation in the winter. If you don't want to shovel yourself, arrange for a service to do it.

The best way to avoid a lawsuit from injuries that occur on your property is to stay on top of routine maintenance tasks that will prevent them from happening in the first place.

Remember, too, that if you are injured this winter while on another person's or company's premises, you may be able to make a claim against the liable party's homeowner's or business insurance company.

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