Is ice damage covered by homeowners insurance?
Last updated: January 1
Typical homeowners insurance policies may help cover ice-related damage, but there are some important things to keep in mind.
In many parts of the country, winter is accompanied by snow and ice. And ice can cause a lot of headaches for homeowners. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), one in every 50 insured homes has a claim related to water damage or freezing every year.
Below are some examples of how homeowners insurance may help if ice damages your home.
Does homeowners insurance cover hail damage?
Hail can do serious damage to roofs and windows. Most homeowners insurance policies include dwelling coverage, which may help cover specific perils, including hail and other ice-related losses. It helps pay to repair covered damage, up to the limits specified in your policy.
If hail damages a building on your property that's not your home, such as a shed or unattached garage, it may be covered by other structures coverage, which is a component of some homeowners insurance policies.
It's important to keep in mind that insurance provides protection up to the limits indicated in a policy and that other policy restrictions or limitations may apply. Your insurance provider can provide you with information to help you choose levels of protection to fit your needs.
Am I covered if my roof collapses?
During the coldest months of the year, ice forming on your roof can cause serious problems. Roof collapse can happen when a roof can't bear the weight of ice and snow.
Insurance may help cover the cost of replacing or repairing a roof that is damaged or destroyed by a collapse. If your house is uninhabitable after a roof collapse, the additional living expense coverage in a homeowners insurance policy may help cover increased living expenses, such as hotel bills, while your home is being repaired. Coverage limits and terms will apply, so be sure to check your policy to learn what it covers.
Of course, no one wants to deal with a roof collapse. You may be able to prevent a situation like this by taking some preventative measures, such as cleaning gutters or clearing the roof of ice and snow as necessary. Consider hiring a professional if you're concerned about safety or causing damage to the roof.
Does homeowners insurance cover ice dams?
Ice dams may result when ice forms on the edge of a roof and stops melting water from running off. When water gets backed up against the ice dam, it may leak through the roof and cause water damage.
Dwelling coverage may help pay to repair damage from an ice dam. However, personal property coverage typically does not provide protection for damage of your personal belongings caused by ice dams.
While dwelling coverage may help cover water damage cause by an ice dam, your policy likely won't pay for services to remove the ice dam. And again, even if a loss is covered, policy terms and limits will apply. Check your policy to learn about what protections you have in place and talk with your agent to help determine whether you may benefit from additional coverage.
Keep in mind that some routine maintenance may help you avoid this kind of damage. The III advises keeping gutters clean so water can flow freely.
Are frozen pipes covered by homeowners insurance?
Homeowners insurance may help cover damage to homes from burst, leaking or frozen pipes. However, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners warns that frozen pipes may not be covered if a proper temperature wasn't maintained inside the house. Check your policy limits and terms to see how much coverage you have for burst pipes.
Does homeowners insurance cover injuries on ice?
Ice on the ground can be dangerous and sometimes hard to see. What happens if a visitor falls on ice on your property, suffers an injury and sues you?
Liability coverage typically comes with homeowners insurance. This type of coverage may help protect you if you're found legally responsible after a visitor is injured on your property. For example, liability coverage may help cover a person's medical bills or lost wages if they're injured. It may also help cover your legal costs.
Like other types of coverage, liability coverage has limits and conditions, and legal claims can be very expensive. If you're concerned you may not have enough liability coverage, talk to your insurance agent about a personal umbrella policy, which can offer additional protection.
As you prepare for another chilly winter, your insurance provider can help you understand the specifics of your policy and provide you with information to help you make any necessary changes. You may not be able to escape the cold, but you can pass the months with the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have protections in place, just in case.