When The Snow Comes Your Personal Liability Goes Ups
When the winter comes, so will snow and ice. And with snow and ice comes increased risk to homeowners. Every homeowner has rights and responsibilities when it comes to snow and ice exposures. According to many legal experts, the average medical expenses associated with falling on ice or snow is around $3,500. One study saw that during an ice storm, 72% of emergency room patients had injuries due to falls. Those falls resulted in fractures 39% of the time. (Source: US National Library of Medicine)
Responsibility for maintenance of sidewalks, whether public or private, varies from city to city. But most cities or local governments require the homeowners to maintain the sidewalk in front of their home. You are also legally responsible for your driveway and any other walks or steps around your home. So if someone slips on ice or snow on your property, as a result of your negligence, you will most likely be held responsible for any injury and damages.
How Does Your Homeowners Apply?
Most standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for winter-related storm liability that occurs as a result of snow and ice. You will want to review your homeowners policy to find out which wintertime perils are specifically covered and excluded.
How To Reduce Your Personal Liability
- Use a de-icing product. Follow manufacture directions. Before applying, shovel and remove as much snow and ice as possible. Apply the product sparingly in the area of highest foot traffic. Apply the product away from the base of your home.
- Use a snow blower, it will help prevent back injuries.
- Use sand or kitty litter to add traction to slippery surfaces.
- Before the ground freezes place stakes around plant beds near paths and driveways so that you know where to stop shoveling.
- Clear snow daily, as it is easier to remove a small amount than let it build it over time.
- Make sure snow is piled in a place where when it melts it is not close to your home.
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