Insuring Winter’s Woes Dealing with the Problems of Ice Dams

While ice damming on roofs is nothing new, the record-breaking snowfall of the 2014-15 winter was especially devastating in terms of ice dams. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.  

“A combination of factors determines the root cause of the ice dam, and unfortunately, there is not always a quick fix,” says María Elena Solís, a commercial manager at Lemus Construction in Furlong, Pennsylvania. 

Michael J. Sparks, an insurance agent with American Family Insurance, which has locations around the country, says, "In addition to ice damming, and of course frozen pipes, roof collapse is also common, along with slips and falls on ice, or snow not properly removed from walkways."

“The damage can be partial or total, depending on how severe the weather is and how soon the problem is detected,” Solís says. “The repair or replacement can be even more expensive and inconvenient if actually undertaken during the winter.” 

Alan R. Geisenheimer, CIC, president and founder of the Geisenheimer Agency in Fair Lawn, says, “Repairs to the interior usually consist of removing the damp or damaged sheet rock--and possibly the wet insulation—and replacing and painting, or wallpapering.”

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