Winter is now here in full blast in New York. Along with the cold weather, we experience a lot of snow and the potential for ice to build up around your house, especially on the gutters and roof. When the temperatures plummet well below freezing, everything becomes frozen. That snow hanging from your roof suddenly becomes ice and melting snow is unable to run off the roof. You end up with ice dams that could potentially damage your roof.
What Is An Ice Dam?
Ice dams usually occur after a snow fall, when ice builds up on the edge of your roof, usually at the gutter, and prevents melting snow from running off the roof. The formation of an ice dam occurs when the higher portions of your roof are above freezing while the lower portions of your roof are at or below freezing for extended periods of time. The melting usually happens either from the Sun or something within the home is heating the roof, causing the melting that forms the dam itself. Eventually, water beings to collect behind the dam itself. Over time, the water will cause damage to the roof or will find a way into the home, seeping into the ceilings and walls and causing major water damage.
Ice Dams and Homeowners Insurance
Most of today's homeowners insurance policies are written on an "all perils" basis, which means you have coverage for any type of loss that is not specifically excluded from the policy. Unless your policy specifically excludes ice dams, most homeowners policy will cover damages caused by ice dams. So whether your roof needs major repairs, your walls or ceilings need to be restored, or personal belongings like furniture or clothing need replacing after water seeps into your attic, your home insurance could step in to save the day.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Ice Dam Removal Costs?
If an ice dam has developed on your roof but hasn't resulted in any damage to your home, your insurance company won't likely pay to have it removed. It is generally your responsibility as a homeowner to take measures to protect your home against any damage that could occur.
However, if an ice dam does cause damage such as leakage or water damage, most home insurers will pay ice dam removal costs for the portion of the dam that actually caused damage to your home. Be aware of how you report the damages since you will only be covered for anything they assess to be causing actual structural damage to your home.
Preventing Ice Dams
Before Winter hits, make sure you take some time each Fall to check and winterize your home. There are some steps you can take to prevent ice dam formation:
- Check that your gutters are clean and working properly to move water away from your home and foundation.
- Be sure to inspect your home for sources of heat leaks (electrical outlets, vents, furnaces, small cracks or holes in the walls) and seal them off.
- Double-check that the insulation between your attic and the rest of your home is sufficient enough to prevent heat from your home from leaking into the attic.
- Call a professional service to have the snow or ice dams removed from your roof.
Written by Pepe Insurance Agency
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