I am sure you've been hearing and reading a lot about Ice Dams lately, but you may be wondering what are they, how can I prevent them, and if this happens to me will my insurance cover the costs associated for repairs? The information below will help shed some light on these questions.
What is an Ice Dam?
Ice dams are formed when the snow on your roof melts above a warmed attic. When the snow melts the water moves down to the cooler roof edge and soffit and freezes. If the water is not allowed to drain properly, the resulting freezing can create ice dams on your roof.
Ice dams can cause damage to the shingles, soffits and gutters and if the ice dam spreads up the roof the water eventually works its much under the shingles and into the attic. Once the water enters the attic, there is risk of damage to the roof, ceilings, walls and contents of your home. Once ceiling insulation becomes wet, it looses its insulating value and will allow more warm air into the attic accelerating the growth of the ice dam.
How can I prevent Ice Dams?
Now that you know what an ice dam is and how its caused, there are a few steps you can take to prevent them:
- Keep the amount of snow on your roof to a minimum. Use a roof rake or hire a professional to clear the snow away - Never go up on the roof yourself
- Ensure that the melting snow has a path to drain off your roof by keeping gutters and downspouts free of snow, ice buildup and icicles
- Check to make sure your attic is properly insulated and ventilated to prevent the heat from inside leaking into your attic
- Cleaning the leaves and debris from your gutters in the fall will ensure that any water has a clear path to travel away from your roof
I had an Ice Dam that caused damage to my roof and the interior of my home, is this covered by my insurance?
That is the million dollar question and unfortunately most things cannot be cleared up with a yes or no answer. One definitive "No, it is not covered" is the damage caused by the ice dam to your roof. No matter what type of policy you have, the roof damage will not be covered by your insurance.
The interior or "resultant" damage is where the answer varies. Depending on what type of policy you have, the resultant damage may or may not be covered. However as with any claim it is subject to your policy deductible and will affect your claims rating which can cause your premium to increase.
To ensure you are properly insured, please review your current policy and contact your broker with any questions you may have or discuss the options that may be available to you.