Filing a Homeowners Insurance Claim for Ice Dam Damage
Posted on February 18, 2020
From freezing pipes to roads covered in snow and ice, winter in Massachusetts comes with a big set of headaches. As the snow starts to melt, however, some local homeowners face even bigger problems on their property: ice dams.
When water freezes along the gutter of your roof, it forms a dam-like structure that prevents proper drainage for melting snow, causing damage, backups and leaks. While most homeowners policies cover the water damage to your home resulting from an ice dam, it is helpful to know what to expect when filing this type of claim.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU NOTICE WATER DAMAGE CAUSED BY AN ICE DAM
If you become aware of water damage to the walls, ceilings, or other areas of your home, the first thing you should do is to work to prevent further damage. The three ways to prevent further damage are:
- Melt the dam
- Chop up the dam with a tool
- Remove the snow
The best way to melt the dam is to use calcium chloride or another ice-melting product. A great method for this is to fill an old stocking or thin sock with the product and get it onto the section of the roof you are trying to melt. If needed, you might consider breaking up the ice with a hammer (dangerous, but sometimes necessary)
You can remove the snow yourself (if you can do so safely!) with a roof rake or hire someone to come in and remove it. You can also hire a professional to assist you.
As soon as possible, you also want to report the claim to your insurance agent. The quicker you file the claim, the quicker the insurance company can pay your claim allowing you to fix your home reducing cost & effort for everyone.
If you have to make immediate, significant repairs before an adjuster can review the damage, preserve as much of the damaged property as possible. This will help your adjusters to give the most accurate estimate for your claim while helping you to minimize extra repairs and costs. Likewise, before you start to remove, repair, or make changes to the affected areas, you should take lots of photos of the damage and the surrounding square footage so your adjuster can have a clear picture of what you’ve updated.
WHAT MAY BE NOT COVERED
After the winter of 2015, there were a lot of homes incurring damage from ice dams. Unfortunately what a lot of people discovered is a standard homeowner policy does not cover damage to your “personal property” when you have an ice damn. “Personal property” or “contents” is basically everything you have in your home which isn’t a part of the home itself. The standard homeowners policy (referred to as an HO-3) does not specifically list water damage as a loss to be covered. There is another type of policy (referred to as an HO-5) which would allow for coverage to your personal property caused by this type of water damage.
HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE IN MASSACHUSETTS
A Massachusetts winter is tough enough to handle without damage from snow, ice, and melting water, which is why the team at Aronson Insurance strives to provide outstanding service to our policyholders through every step of their claim. Of course, each ice dam claim is completely unique, which makes the review, estimation, and approval process dependent on the details of each particular case. Your account manager Aronson Insurance will be with you throughout the process as needed to assist you.
A good review of your policy and coverages can help determine if you have coverage in the event of an ice damn. If you are a client, call your account manager today to review your policy. If you are not a client, call us today to get a detailed review of your current policy and learn about your options and benefits of working with your local independent agency, Aronson Insurance.
We’ve partnered with local residents for over 100 years, and we’re honored to continue serving Massachusetts residents with flexible and personalized policies. To get professional advice on any of your insurance questions and concerns or to schedule a consultation and find the right coverage for your home, call us today at 781-444-3050.