Does homeowners insurance cover snow damage?

Preparing your home for winter doesn’t just mean cleaning your gutters and stocking up on firewood. You also need to make sure your home is protected from the ravages of snow damage. Once the snow accumulates outside, it may be too late to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to help protect you financially in case your home suffers snow damage.

In this article, Bankrate explores how homeowners insurance can help you with those unexpected winter weather hiccups. Perhaps you have a question about whether or not your policy covers damage from melting snow or if there are any limitations to what is covered.

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How snow damage can be covered by homeowners insurance

Snow damage can come in all shapes and sizes, but homeowners insurance coverage can help cover repair costs in many cases. Here are examples of the damage snow can cause and how it is covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy:

  1. ice dams: These can develop when snow accumulates near the roof and is melted by heat inside the house, causing a ridge to form. The problem is that these ridges can cause a roof leak due to water backing up and seeping into your home from the top down, which is where ice dams get their name. Ice dam damage to the roof and interior walls is likely to be covered under Coverage A, homeowners coverage.
  2. broken branches: Branches can break during high winds or heavy snow and are at risk of damaging your roof or other parts of your home. Falling objects are considered a covered peril, and your homeowners insurance policy would likely provide coverage if your property were damaged by falling branches. If the branch falls on your car, your auto insurance policy may cover these repair costs if your policy has comprehensive coverage.
  3. The roof collapses: Although rare, heavy snowfall can cause roof collapse if the roof is not strong enough to support the weight of the snow for prolonged periods. In rare cases like these, your homeowners coverage will likely cover repairs again.

Preventing damage from frozen pipes is another thing to be prepared for when winter hits. While pipes don’t necessarily get frozen by snow per se, cold weather does cause water to freeze, even the water inside pipes. Your homeowners insurance policy should help cover damage to your plumbing if a frozen pipe bursts. The best way to prepare for this winter is to understand what your homeowners insurance policy covers so you can have peace of mind all season long.

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