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Does Home Insurance Cover Snow Damage?

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When you have homeowners insurance, you expect it to protect you from all kinds of weather-related hazards. Living in a cold area means snowstorms are inevitable. If your home gets damaged during a blizzard, it is important to know exactly what is protected. So does home insurance cover snow damage?

Homeowners insurance does cover damage that comes from snow and blizzards. No matter how unpredictable the weather becomes, you are always going to be prepared if you require a roof repair or need to replace your siding.

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Key facts
  • Your homeowners insurance policy will cover snow damage.
  • Damage caused by flooding as a result of a storm is not covered.
  • Preparing your home ahead of time will lower the likelihood of needing to file a claim.

Snow can cause falling tree branches, ice dams, and ridges

During any storm, there is a risk of objects falling onto your roof or into other exterior parts of your home. 

  • This can be anything from a tree branch to additional debris that gets carried by the snowstorm. One of the most common is when branches break loose from trees. Heavy wind provides enough pressure to carry these branches onto your home. While they might not initially damage the roof, they can pile up and cause problems as the storm persists. Since falling objects are covered, you will be able to file a claim if this occurs.
  • An ice dam is another danger that can build up during a winter storm. When the snow begins to cover your home, wind can often cause ice dams to form. These dams appear as ridges and can hold a lot of weight if they are not cleared away after the storm. This can happen when there are multiple days of bad weather in a row. If you notice a leak, it could be coming from an ice ridge above. This is another peril covered by your homeowners insurance policy.

Which coverage will cover what if snow damages your property

In case you do need to file a claim, your home will likely need repairs to preserve its integrity. Dwelling coverage A should cover the repair of your main home. If snow causes damage to one of your detached buildings like a detached garage, shed, or gazebo, other structures coverage B part of your home insurance will cover the losses. This can often be an inconvenience as you might not be able to stay in your house during the repair. Coverage D is part of most standard home insurance policies to cover your additional living expenses during this time. 

  • If you need to be out of the home while the roof is being repaired, you will be able to receive compensation to stay at a hotel until the problem is fixed. This will alleviate a lot of stress because handling these repairs often takes time.
  • If you want to verify that your current policy has these coverages included, you can ask your agent to go over them with you. It is helpful to learn about your specific coverages in case a claim must be filed and repairs are necessary. Understanding the process will make it more efficient if you do need to fix any damage left behind by the weather.
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When is snow damage not covered?

There is one peril that might not be covered by your homeowners policy, and this occurs when large pools of water build up after the snow melts. If major leaks form during this time, the damage might fall into the category of a flood. Homeowners insurance does not protect against flooding. You will need a specific insurance policy in place for flood damage to make sure this will be covered.

Another instance where you will not be covered is in the event a window is left open in your home. If the snow gets inside and damages your flooring, walls, and window sills, this will likely not be covered because they are seen as negligence and a preventable situation. Insurance will only cover damages that could not be prevented ahead of time by the homeowner.

snow damage

Preventing snow damage

It is always a great idea to prevent damage from occurring ahead of time. 

  • Before it snows, you should be sure to clean your gutters. This will allow the melted snow to flow down into the ground instead of pooling up on your roof. If the storm brought ice, you should also do your best to rake this off the surface of your roof to ensure it will melt and not sit in ridges for a long period of time. Using a telescopic rake is perfect for this.
  • Trimming any extended or loose branches is another great way to prevent damage during a storm. Since falling objects will often cause homeowners to file a claim, clearing the area ahead of time will help to eliminate the risk. It is most important to trim the ones that hand over your roof since they are most commonly going to fall first.
  • Checking for existing damage is another great precaution to take. You can do this by getting regular roof inspections and handling any leaks or cracks as soon as you notice them.

When you know the basics, you will feel prepared even when the weather takes a turn. Having a homeowners insurance policy in place will save you a lot of money and will assure you that any damage that does occur will be taken care of after filing a claim. Combined with the preventative measures you can take, your house will remain durable in the Winter.

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Kristen Nadel has worked as an insurance agent for 4 years and has an extensive background in writing homeowners insurance content. She is also a published author residing in Oklahoma. Her creative spirit and tenacity for excellence allow her to stay inspired. Writing is more than just a task to her — it is a lifelong passion.
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