Winter is just around the corner and many conscientious homeowners are busily preparing their homes for the cold weather. Typically, winter months in the South are moderate, but sometimes we get enough snow or ice to damage some homes. With that in mind, now is the time get your home ready and review your homeowners insurance policy to determine if it provides coverage for ice-related damage.
If you aren’t sure if your homeowners policy covers ice damage, call your agent or insurance agent to get the facts. In the meantime, you can find answers to some of your questions here.
Am I Covered if My Roof Collapses from Ice Damage?
A standard homeowners policy typically provides coverage for snow and ice damage under the “weight of snow and ice” section in your insurance policy. This means they will reimburse you for damages to the roof and dwelling. Homeowners policies also cover roof collapse including damage to the inside of your home and your personal belongings.
The types of coverage that protect you from snow and ice damage include:
- Dwelling Coverage – Covers the physical dwelling including walls, flooring, and ceilings.
- Other Structures Coverage – Covers garages, sheds, and fences not attached to your home.
- Loss of Use Coverage – If a collapsed roof renders your home uninhabitable, loss of use coverage provides additional living expenses for housing, food, and other essential needs.
You may not be covered for damage that occurs as a result of a lack of maintenance before or after the ice damage.
What Are Ice Dams and Are They Covered?
An ice dam forms on your gutter or roof when snow or ice begins to melt and then refreezes. The ridge of ice this creates can get higher as more water freezes. Ultimately, it will block the gutters and prevent water from draining off of the roof properly. This situation can cause significant damage such as shingle damage, water leaks, or a roof collapse that can be costly to repair.
The dwelling coverage portion of your homeowners policy may cover the cost of repairs resulting from ice dam damage. However, personal property damaged by ice dams may not be covered. Also, your homeowners insurance may not cover the removal of the ice dam. Insurance companies differ in what they cover for ice dam damage, so you’ll need to speak with your insurer to find out how much protection your policy provides.
You can prevent ice dam damage by clearing your gutters, checking for signs of poor ventilation, and keeping snow or ice from accumulating on the lower sections of the roof.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Slip and Fall Injuries?
Keeping your walkways or driveways clear from ice or snow can minimize the risk of injuries but keeping them clear is not always easy. Personal liability insurance may cover medical bills and legal costs if someone slips on ice on your property and suffers injuries.
When Is Ice Damage Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
Generally, damage caused by ice that results from poor maintenance before or after an ice storm aren’t covered by your homeowners insurance. Also, some homeowners policies exclude ice-damage coverage for structures such as:
- Swimming pools
- Retaining walls
Other ice-related problems that are not usually covered by homeowners insurance include flooding caused by melting ice or snow. You may need a separate flood insurance policy or endorsement.
Is It Worth It to File an Ice-Damage Claim?
Frequent claims generally make your homeowners insurance more expensive and make it harder to get coverage later. Many insurance companies deny insurance coverage to people who file multiple claims in a short period of time. For this reason, many people pay for small damages out of pocket.
However, if the ice causes thousands of dollars in property damage, filing a claim is the smart choice. All in all, whether to file a claim depends on your claims history, how high your deductible is, and how much you can afford.
Contact Sandifer Insurance for All of Your Insurance Needs
Sandifer Insurance Agency has over 40 years of experience in helping homeowners protect their most valuable assets. We offer a comprehensive line of coverage including homeowners, renters, historic homes, and manufactured homes insurance. Along with these, we offer automobile, farm, life, and commercial insurance.
When you trust Sandifer for your insurance needs, you can expect excellent customer service. We are a family-owned business that not only appreciates our customers, we consider them neighbors. Whatever your insurance needs, Sandifer will help you get the right coverage at affordable rates. Bundling your policies with us will lower your costs even further.
Reach out to us by phone, email, or online to learn how Sandifer will help you protect your family and belongings. Or, feel free to visit our office near historic downtown Cheraw if you would like to speak with an agent in person.
doi.sc.gov/ – Understanding Basic Homeowners Insurance