Winter Wear: Cobbs Allen on Protecting Your Home this Season

A garden home insured by Cobbs Allen against winter weather.

While we dream of a white Christmas for festivity’s sake, we do not for our homes. For as magical as winter weather can be for the holidays, freezing temps often bring complications. Enter Cobbs Allen, Scouted Members of The Scout Guide Atlanta and The Scout Guide Birmingham. Here, we chat with Margaret Ann Pyburn, Executive Vice President at Cobbs Allen, who shares her expertise on protecting your home this season by mitigating winter’s weather risks.

The Scout Guide: What are the winter season’s biggest risk factors for homes? 
Margaret Ann Pyburn: As colder weather approaches, I recommend clients familiarize themselves with the common causes behind winter claims. Often, winter’s risk factors stem from everyday household activities and appliances. Typically, we see the most claims for frozen pipes, fireplaces, and carbon monoxide poisoning. 

The Scout Guide: How can they be mitigated? 
Margaret Ann Pyburn: Fortunately, these risks are mitigated by planning ahead and routine maintenance. For frozen pipes, we recommend homeowners take preventative measures. This includes insulating pipes, ensuring proper heating, and allowing faucets to drip during extremely cold weather to prevent freezing. It’s also important to install an automatic water shut-off that will control any water leaks from frozen pipes or appliances. 
When it comes to fire hazards, regular chimney inspections and cleanings by a licensed chimney sweeper are critical. It’s also essential to follow safe wood-burning practices and proper disposal of ashes. Finally, installing carbon monoxide detectors throughout the home and scheduling regular maintenance for heating systems can mitigate the threat of gas poisoning. 

The Scout Guide: What of these risks does homeowners insurance cover? 
Margaret Ann Pyburn: Homeowners insurance typically provides coverage for a range of risks, but specifics vary depending on the policy and provider. Generally, homeowners insurance covers damage to the home and personal belongings caused by fires. It may also provide coverage for temporary living expenses if relocation is necessary.
Homeowners insurance often covers sudden and accidental water damage, such as burst pipes or a malfunctioning appliance. Some policies, however, may not respond if the homeowner did not take proper steps to safeguard their property. It’s also crucial to discuss water damage limits with your insurance provider, as many policies limit this coverage. Flooding is typically excluded and requires a separate flood insurance policy. As for carbon monoxide poisoning, specific incidents may not be covered. Coverage for medical expenses or liability related to injuries caused by carbon monoxide poisoning may depend on the terms and conditions of your policy. If your policy does not include coverage, discuss with your agent the availability of endorsements or supplementary coverage options specifically designed to address the risks associated with carbon monoxide poisoning

Margaret Ann Pyburn of Cobbs Allen posing in front of a garden house.

The Scout Guide: How do you recommend addressing gaps in coverage? 
Margaret Ann Pyburn: I recommend clients periodically review their insurance policy and always consult with their insurance provider for the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding their coverage and specific risks they want to address. 

The Scout Guide: Are there any other assets at risk during the winter? 
Margaret Ann Pyburn: Other assets that face heightened exposure during winter months include vehicles, outdoor structures, and landscaping. For each asset, it’s important to tailor preventative measures based on specific needs and local climate conditions. Regular inspections, timely repairs, and preparation for winter conditions can significantly reduce the risks associated with winter. 


Clean your gutters, ensuring proper drainage by removing any debris to prevent blockages and potential water damage.

Install an automatic water shut-off device, ensuring swift response in case of leaks or emergencies. 

Turn off outside water faucets and cover them with insulated covers to shield against cold temperatures. This will prevent freezing and damage. 

Service your heating and/or furnace system to ensure efficient operation during the winter months. 

Install a CO2 detector on all floors, alongside smoke detectors, to enhance safety. 

Keep an eye on the temperature. When temps drops below freezing, open taps to allow water to drip and cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around pipes. This will relieve pressure in the plumping system. Learn more about water shut off devices.

Reach out to Margaret Ann Pyburn ([email protected]) to learn more or inquire about coverage. Cobbs Allen appears in The Scout Guide Atlanta Volume 11 and The Scout Guide Birmingham Volume 7.