What You Should Know About Insurance Coverage for Ice Dams Damage

Snow and ice are common companions to winter throughout much of the U.S. Along with snow and ice is another companion – the infamous ice dam. Ice dams are destructive forces that can cause a great deal of damage to your home. And besides the damage it can cause your home, another thing to be concerned about is whether your insurance will coverage damage to your home caused by ice dams or not.

What are Ice Dams?
Ice dams occur along the edge of your roof preventing melting water from running over the edge. What happens then is that the water gets back up behind the ice dam and may cause water damage that gets into the ceilings and walls of your home as well as damaging personal property inside your home.

Will Your Insurance Cover the Damage Ice Dams Cause?
This is the big question on everyone’s mind. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t exactly cut and dry. In some cases, repairing damage to the structure of your home caused by ice dams is covered by your insurance. But, the damage it causes to your personal property may not be.

The reason for the discrepancy is that personal property coverage usually only applies to specifically named perils (fire, wind, theft, etc.). If ice damage or ice dams are not named among the potential perils your insurance covers, you probably aren’t protected.

However, if the insurance company determines you failed to properly maintain your roof, it is not likely to pay for repairs to your roof caused by ice dams or they will only pay to repair the portion of the roof that was actually damaged by the ice dams while not addressing damage caused by disrepair, age, or improper maintenance.

Preventing Ice Dams
When it comes to ice dams, the best cure is prevention. Preventing ice dams doesn’t require spending endless hours in the cold sweeping your roof in the heart of the storm. In fact, that’s not at all advised.

Instead, consider insulating the space between your home and attic very well and installing an attic fan to improve ventilation in your attic. Keeping your attic cooler in the winter will help to reduce the melting that takes place along the edge of your roof, eliminating the formation of damaging ice dams.

Work with your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate protection for your home heading into winter and consider preventative actions you can take now to protect your home from the destructive force of ice dams all winter long.