I’ll be DAMNED!

By Amy Streifel
Its nearing the beginning of December and there's not much snow! A lot of us would love this weather all winter, but we know what's coming. I think back to last winter. The snowbanks were over my head. I specifically remember a time I told the kids to watch for me as I was going to brave walking around to the back of my house. No one had walked back there since fall and it was snow half way up the side of the house. As I was walking I could see my kids watching out the window. Do you know what they saw? An avalanche of snow fall off the roof right on top of me. You'd think their initial reaction would be checking my safety, but as I climbed out and into the house they were rolling on the floor laughing….Why was I behind the house you may ask? I have seen and heard too many horror stories in my time being an insurance agent of ice dams. Ice dams not taken care of can literally destroy homes and you’ll be saying more than damn if it happens to you. They occur when heavy snow buildup melts during the day and then refreezes overnight. When this happens the buildup can become very heavy. If not taken care of, they can fall off the roof, taking your gutters with them. We have seen it happen on several homes. And that’s just the damage to the outside. Unfortunately, there are many times, your ceiling and walls may be compromised. Ice builds up under the shingles and gets into the interior walls, then the walls cave in.
The good news is that ice dams are preventable. One main thing you can do is use a snow rake to get the snow off of your roof. De-icing cables are another great way to get that moisture moving through your gutters instead of freezing in them. Making sure your attic is thoroughly insulated also helps. These are just a few things to try. If you do what you can to prevent ice dams, you will save yourself a lot of time and money. Depending on your homeowners policy, the dwelling coverage may cover the cost to repair ice dam damage. That may include repairing your roof, walls and other damage to the structure of your home up to your coverage limits. However, depending on your coverage, you may have out of pocket expenses, such as the actual removal of the ice dam, or if you damaged the shingles trying to get the ice dam removed yourself. As always, this is great scenario to discuss with your insurance agent to make sure you have coverages you are comfortable with.