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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Ice Damage?

Updated Dec 23, 2022

Updated Dec 23, 2022

Home > Home Insurance > Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Ice Damage?

In most parts of the country, winter comes with a significant amount of ice and snow, which can cause a lot of damage to the home. According to the Insurance Information Institute, this situation is so common that one in 50 insured homes files a claim each year that is attributed to water damage and freezing. 

Ice and snow damage can be costly, leaving many homeowners to wonder what kind of coverage their homeowners insurance policy has for ice damage. Below, we cover if homeowners insurance covers ice damage, hail damage, snow damage, and more. 

When Is Ice Damage Not Covered by Home Insurance?

ice and snow on a roof
Image Source: Canva

Generally, home insurance will deny claims whenever the homeowner is considered at fault. You may be considered at fault if the damage is due to a lack of maintenance. 

For example, if your fence collapses due to snow damage that occurs after the snow is left on the fence for weeks. The homeowner would be considered at fault because it’s reasonable to expect a homeowner to maintain their property after a winter storm by clearing excessive, heavy snow. 

Many homeowners insurance policies will also exclude coverage for specific structures that are damaged by the weight of snow, water, and ice, such as: 

  • Pavement
  • Patios
  • Foundations
  • Swimming pools
  • Piers
  • Docks
  • Fences
  • Retaining walls
  • Wharves

Is Hail Damage Covered?

Hail, otherwise known as frozen rain or ice pellets, is a massive issue for homes, roofs, cars, and anything else outside without shelter. 

If hailstorms are a covered peril on your insurance policy, your policy may cover the cost of repairs to your home and other covered structures, like a shed, after a hailstorm. Remember that anything covered will always be up to the insurance limits of your other structures’ coverage and dwelling coverage limits. 

If you live in an area where hail damage is typical, double-check that it’s covered. Some insurance providers may exclude it or limit coverage significantly because of the high-risk area. 

Cosmetic hailstorm damage often won’t be included either, meaning that claim reimbursement will only cover repairs to the structural integrity of your home, not the cosmetic appearance. For example, if your roof is severely damaged, this may be covered, but a dented wall may not be if it doesn’t compromise your home. 

Are Ice Dams Covered?

ice damming on a roof
Image Source: Canva

Ice dams form when snow on your roof melts from the warm air inside your home. Then, the water runs into the gutters and eaves. As the water hits the edge of your roof, it refreezes, creating a ridge of ice on the roof and gutter. This ice dam can continue to “creep” up your roof if more water freezes. 

Ice dams are a severe problem for several reasons. Ice dams can block your gutters, prevent water drainage, and create giant dams. Ice dams can also weaken the roof and gutters, causing gutters to buckle under the weight, shingle damage, water leaks, and even roof collapse. All of these problems are costly to fix. 

In most cases, home insurance companies don’t cover ice dam removal. That is left to the homeowner to arrange or perform. However, most standard homeowners insurance policies will have some coverage for ice-related damage from the weight of snow, sleet, or ice dams on your roof, especially if it’s something a homeowner cannot be reasonably expected to remove or happens immediately from heavy snowfall or ice. 

Is Snow Damage Covered?

Suppose your policy covers snow damage. In that case, your dwelling coverage may cover the cost of replacing your roof or gutters after they collapse from the weight of ice and snow and the cost of replacing personal property. 

Personal property coverage covers the cost of personal belongings that are destroyed during a covered peril, such as a tornado, or as the result of a covered peril, such as snow causing your roof to buckle after a snowstorm. 

For example, if your personal belongings are destroyed from water damage from the snow coming through your roof, this would be included in many personal property coverage plans. Your policy may also have a loss of use coverage that covers your living expenses if you’re forced to stay at a hotel or eat out at restaurants because your home is unsafe or unsuitable to live in until the repairs are completed. 

What Should I Do if My Home Is Damaged From Snow, Ice, or Hail?

In urgent situations, such as finding frozen pipes, immediately call a plumber for assistance to try and prevent burst pipes and further damage. 

Otherwise, call your insurance agent and company as soon as possible. The insurance adjuster won’t need to see the situation before you take action, such as hiring a roofer or plumber, but they’ll need to inspect damaged items. Save all receipts and information about the necessary repairs from the technician. You’ll want to save receipts for additional living expenses, such as eating out or hotel stays, if you can’t stay in your home. 

Create a list of damaged personal property and take steps to make temporary repairs to protect against further damage. For example, remove furniture, electronics, or rugs from a room to salvage them and seal broken windows. 

Closing Thoughts

In most cases, a good homeowners insurance policy will cover most ice, snow, sleet, and hail-related damage as long as it is not deemed preventable from reasonable maintenance from the homeowner. 

Double-check your policy to ensure you are appropriately covered, especially for the area and weather you typically experience. If your policy is inadequate, speak with an insurance agent about increasing the types of coverage and coverage limits on your policy, or shop around for a new homeowners insurance policy.  

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