As you know, it’s ideal to get ahead of ice dams. To help your customers prepare, let them know that for prevention, attics need to be properly insulated and sealed. Attic vents should be clear to ensure cold air flow inside the roof. Gutters should also be cleaned prior to the winter. A good investment to consider is a roof rake. After snowfall, a roof rake can be used to safely remove snow at least three feet from the roof above the gutters. If an ice dam has already formed, it could be removed by hiring an experienced, and properly insured, roofing company. A calcium chloride ice melt kit placed on top of the ice dam may melt the ice. Keeping the roof clear of snow, even when an ice dam has formed can help stop additional ice formation.
Ice dams can create both direct and consequential damage. Direct damage could include destruction to roofs and shingles, especially when resulting from improper removal of the ice dam, along with water damage to insulation, ceilings and walls. In rare occasions the weight of ice and snow, particularly if not removed, could create structural damage.
Ice dam coverage is generally associated with the standard HO 03 policy or like kind HO first party policies. Properly endorsed, the HO 06 would provide coverage. Coverage would generally just apply to the building (COV A) with some exceptions. Certain all risk endorsements could provide contents (COV C) coverage; otherwise personal property is not covered. Forms of the Mold endorsement often come into play, which usually limit first-party coverage to a specified limit (i.e., $10,000), which could cover COV A and COV C damages.
Delayed repairs, lack of preventive measures and late reporting are potential claim coverage challenges. Repair delays can increase damages and costs, particularly mold arising from hidden water intrusion (mold testing generally is an afforded coverage within most Mold endorsements and corresponding limit). The longer the delay in preventing, identifying, removing, and repairing ice damage, the more likely issues, including increased costs, will arise.
One never knows what a rough winter, or ice dam, will deliver to our homes. Remember, the MAPFRE Property Department is always available to answer questions and offer assistance.