Does My Home Insurance Cover Winter Storm and Snow Damage?
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Whether it’s through frozen pipes, damaging winds or hail, or excessive snow on the roof, winter weather can cause significant damage to your home. While most home insurance policies cover such damage, there are a few winter weather occurrences that this type of insurance does not cover. In addition, taking the proper steps to winterize your home can save you the headache of having to file a claim if winter weather does damage your home.
In the article below, Part 1 digs into whether your home insurance covers damage from winter weather, Part 2 gives examples of specific winter weather events that it doesn’t cover, and Part 3 discusses some of the steps you can take to help protect your home against winter weather damage.
Part 1 of 3: Does my home insurance cover winter storm and snow damage?
With winter weather affecting a large portion of the U.S. each year, homeowners might ask the question, does my home insurance cover winter storm and snow damage? The answer to that question is yes, with a few exceptions.
The section below shows the most common types of winter weather damage covered by your home insurance policy:
- Fallen trees
- Flooding caused by melting snow
- Freezing pipes
- Hail damage
- Ice dams on roof
- Power failure
- Roof damage
- Roof damage from the weight of snow and ice
- Some instances of water infiltration into your home, dependent on cause
- Water damage
- Wind damage
Part 2 of 3: What types of winter damage does home insurance not cover?
While a standard home insurance policy does cover most damage from winter weather, including ice, snow, and water damage, a few cases exist where it does not provide coverage. The following section details two special cases when your home insurance does not cover winter weather damage:
- Ice quakes: Ice quakes, while rare, occur when water under the ground freezes, causing the earth to expand and shake the ground, subsequently causing damage to homes and property. A lack of coverage by home insurance policies represents the downside to this rare event.
- Ice Surge: An ice surge occurs when sheets of ice from nearby bodies of water push onto shore, damaging homes and property in the area. The only way to cover damage from this phenomena is through flood insurance and not a standard home insurance policy.
Part 3 of 3: Steps you can take to protect your home from winter storm and snow damage
In addition to making sure your home has the proper coverage when buying home insurance, you can also take steps to help protect your home when winter weather does arrive. The section below details some steps you can take to protect your home from winter weather damage.
- Clean gutters: You should clean your gutters and downspouts before winter so that the water from melting snow and ice can flow freely and not back up, which can lead to damage.
- Roof repair: You should also keep your roof shingles and flashing in good repair, replacing worn or non-working components before the onset of winter. This keeps your roof in good shape and prevents leaks, which can cause even more damage within your home.
- Trim trees: Make sure to trim trees occasionally to prevent a limb from breaking and falling because of the additional weight of snow and ice.
- Add or replace weather stripping: Keep a good seal around your windows and doors by applying caulking and weather stripping. Also, replace any worn weather stripping when needed.
- Drain water: Drain water from any pipes leading to exterior faucets to prevent damage from freezing.
- Insulate pipes: If you cannot drain water from pipes leading to the exterior of your home, make sure to insulate them properly to keep them from bursting.
- Monitor heating system: Inspect, clean, and repair your heating system yearly to keep it in good condition and working properly.
In addition to properly preparing your home for winter weather, you can also protect your home by making sure you have an adequate amount of home insurance. And while your home insurance policy does cover most damage from winter weather, a few instances do exist that are not covered.