Homeowners insurance is there to financially support you in a variety of unfortunate circumstances. If you live in an area that gets significant snowfall in winter such as here in St. Paul Minnesota, one of those unfortunate events could be an ice dam. When the temperature hovers around that freezing mark, it’s time to be on the lookout for potential ice dams.
Beware of Icicles
Icicles are pretty, especially when they reflect sunlight in the morning. However, when you see them hanging off the side of your home, they are likely evidence of an ice dam on your roof. An ice dam is a buildup of ice, usually on the edge of a roof, which prevents melted snow from running off, and flowing freely to the ground. Instead, the water accumulates, then the temperature drops and it freezes once again, making the ice dam even bigger. When this cycle repeats itself time and time again, the weight of the ice dam can harm the roof or lead to its collapse. In addition to collapse, the water can the find a path of least resistance inside your home, causing damage and potential mold growth in walls, ceilings, floors, insulation and more.
As mentioned earlier, homes in the U.S. where winter precipitation is considerable could be at risk for ice dams and the damage they cause. Older homes can be even more likely to experience ice dams and water damage, as well as homes with flat tops and valleys.
How Homeowners Insurance Helps
Homeowners insurance policies will likely pay for damage caused by an ice dam. Additionally, it may even pay to have an ice dam removed if it is causing damage to your home. However, insurance will probably not pay to have an ice dam removed if there has been no damage. It this is the case, it would be up to the homeowner to either remove it or to have it removed by a professional.
Ice Dam Removal & Prevention
Ice dams should be removed as soon as possible to prevent or reduce the damage. As mentioned above, a professional company can be hired to remove it for the homeowner. For people with a “do it yourself” spirit, roof rakes and shovels can be used to remove ice dams. Keep in mind, though, all roof work is dangerous, so be very careful.
Most ice dam occurrences can be prevented, however, with some foresight, the right tools, and regular checks of the roof and attic.
- Begin by making sure that your attic has good ventilation and the roof is sufficiently insulated, as this can slow snow melt in the winter.
- Before winter falls, clean the gutters so water can flow freely.
- Throughout the cold months, remove snow any time 6 inches or more of snow is present.
The temperature is dropping and winter is setting in. If you live in Minnesota or another state that experiences cold and snow, review your insurance policy to ensure you’re covered properly should an ice dam cause damage to your home. Then, use the preventative techniques mentioned here and consistently remove snow throughout the winter, and you may never have to file a claim for ice dam damage.