Does my home insurance cover ice dams?

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With temperatures predicted to be back up to the 40s next week, it will feel like a relief after this week’s persistent snow storms. While the roads will finally be clear of snow and ice, can the same be said about your house?

If an ice dam has formed along the edge of your roof, you may be in trouble as the warmer temperatures melt the ice and snow that have accumulated behind it. The ice literally acts as a dam, trapping the water resulting from the melted ice and snow. As temperatures drop overnight, the water freezes and expands, lifting your roof’s shingles in the process. When it unfreezes, the water penetrates the roof deck and leaks into your home. Do you have coverage for the damage?

In general, a home insurance policy will cover damage caused by an ice dam, as long as the damage is to the home itself. For example, if the ice dam pries the shingles off your roof or causes water to leak onto your walls, ceiling, or insulation, then your home insurance policy will cover the loss. Don’t forget though: the deductible always applies on home insurance claims.

Although damage to your home caused by an ice dam generally is covered, damage to your personal property is not. Keep that in mind if you store valuable personal property in your attic as it’s usually the first area damaged by an ice dam.

The cost of removing an ice dam is likely less than your homeowners deductible, so if you see one forming on your roof, it’s best to contact a snow and ice removal company as soon as possible.

This article was written by Derek Boer & Tori Roughley. Please email questions or comments to Tori at victoria.roughley@boerinsurance.com.