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How to Protect Your Home & Vehicles in Cold Weather
Written by Whitney Wetzel
Last updated on January 22, 2013 @ 7:35PM
Created on January 22, 2013 @ 7:24PM
 
The cold temperatures felt Tuesday are expected to last through the day on Wednesday. With such frigid temperatures, there are a few things you should do to your home and vehicle to make sure they stay protected.
 
How to Protect Your Home in Cold Weather:

Insurance specialists said when temperatures drop below 20 degrees, water pipes tend to freeze and break. But a few simple steps can help keep that from happening.

According to State Farm Insurance, frozen pipes affect 50 million homeowners each year. Homes that have little to no insulation, like older homes, have the most risk. A one-eighth inch crack in a pipe can spew out more than 250 gallons of water a day. That can destroy your floors, soak your furniture, and ruin personal belongings.
 
Cleaning up that mess during this bitter cold, definitely wouldn't be fun for anyone. So you can avoid that by insulating pipes that run along outside walls, floors, and ceilings. Homeowners should also unplug outside garden hoses, and seal foundation cracks that let bitter cold air freeze pipes in small spaces. Insurance specialists said the most important thing you should do if you notice a leak is to turn off your home's main water supply.
 
"It can destroy your floors, it can soak your furniture, and ruin your personal belongings. Cleaning up is often smelly and time consuming, it's not fun. If you notice a crack in your pipes or even a small water leak, immediately turn off your home's main water supply," said Amy Preddy, State Farm Insurance Media Specialist.

It's also a good idea to make sure you know how to turn off your main water supply now, so you can find the switch fast, during an emergency. After that, you should call your insurance agent and a plumber to figure out the next step.
 
How to Protect Your Vehicle in Cold Weather:
 
Just like your home, your car or truck is also sensitive to temperatures below 20 degrees. The best thing you can do is have all the necessary items ready in case of an emergency.
 
"Prepare a road survival kit. A recent survey found that only one in 10 drivers have all the necessary supplies if they were in a road side emergency or stranded. We also found that drivers of trucks or SUVs tend to be a little bit more prepared than sedan drivers," said Amy Preddy, State Farm Insurance Media Specialist.

First, insurance specialists said you should check your lights, windshield wipers, fluids, and most importantly, your battery. Older batteries are at a greater risk to leave you stranded. So keeping those parts up to date can help save you from the side of the road. 
 
Second, you should protect your paint job from road salt build up and damage, by washing and waxing your car on a regular basis.
 
Finally, insurance specialists said having an emergency kit in your car is necessary. It should include the following:
  • jumper cables
  • spare tires
  • road flares
  • flashlight
  • first aid kit
  • water
  • blanket
For more information on home and car insurance, visit State Farm's website.

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