Snow and cold weather resulted in billions of dollars in damage and hundreds of thousands of insurance claims last winter.

Tips for preparing your home in advance of another freeze:

• Get your chimney inspected and cleaned. Creosote buildup can start a fire.

• Test your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms. Replace alarms that are 10 years old or more.

• Trim trees hanging over your house and cars.

• Seal leaks or cracks around bathroom and kitchen pipes.

• Wrap outdoor pipes and indoor pipes in unheated areas (like a clothes washer in your garage).

• Drain lawn sprinkler lines and house fire sprinklers.

• Find your water shut-off valve. It’s usually under a metal lid near the street.

• If you leave your house before a freeze, turn off the water at the shut-off valve and leave your heat on.

Have a question about insurance? Call the Texas Department of Insurance at 800-252-3439 or visit

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