The short answer is no. Are there exceptions? Yes. This article is designed to help you as it relates to understanding and working with your insurance company.
Let’s begin with why your insurance company doesn’t cover ice dam removal. Can you imagine if insurance had to remove every icicle and every ice dam in the Midwest? Many ice dams will not cause leakage or damage. What if they only removed the ice dams that were going to lead to leaking and interior damage? If that is knowable, the policy will most likely state that it is up to the homeowner to make the required changes to insulation, ventilation, heat cables, etc. to prevent ice dam related damage from happening. At the very least the policy requires the homeowner to take steps to prevent ice dams through snow removal and ice dam removal. Your policy most likely reads that it is up the homeowner to take the necessary steps to maintain their property to prevent or mitigate the damage that ice dams can cause.
Here’s an example that might be helpful as to why your insurance company most likely won’t pay for your ice dam removal until leaking/damage has occurred. Say you have a tree in your yard that looks like it someday soon will fall on your house. Your insurance company isn’t going to come out and take down a tree that might end up falling on your home. They will however pay for the damage that is caused when the tree falls. They will say that it is your responsibility to remove the tree. Even after the tree has fallen on your home, they won’t pay for the removal of the tree.
In summary, in almost all cases, your insurance company is not going to remove an ice dam that is not causing leaks. There are exceptions, but they are very rare.
What if you have leaking and water is seeping through walls, dripping through light fixtures, and warping your wood floors? Your insurance company in most cases will pay for the damage to the walls and wood floors. They may or may might not pay for the collateral damage to insulation or the mold and mildew that will follow. Keep in mind, that you will have to endure the damage, find the contractors to make the repairs, and live through the reconstruction process. This, of course, can be prevented by staying on top of your snow and ice removal. Some people have the belief that if the insurance company isn’t going to remove the ice dam, they will let the damage occur and let the insurance company pay a much bigger bill. That eventually causes them much more in time and money than they realize.
There are insurance companies that will pay for some ice dam removal once leakage and damage has started to occur. They may pay for ice dam removal if it will lessen or mitigate the damage. In those cases, they usually only pay for the ice dam removal that is causing the leaking and damage. They may pay for a quarter or half of the ice dams that are present.
Insurance companies have an ice dam payment policy in place. Your insurance agent knows what that policy is. He/she also knows the boundary that he or she must work within. The best time to have the conversation about what your company is willing to do is before you, and everyone else, has an ice dam. Our Midwest weather has become more extreme in the last several years. Polar vortex is a weather event we have all heard of. Ice dams are becoming more common. Knowing in advance what your insurance will do and requires from you will is a great idea. What documentation will they want. Pictures, detailed invoices from your ice dam removal company, etc.
If you have any questions or would like to talk the owner of RTD Ice Dam Removal, please call our office. All of us are here to help.