This winter, many areas of the U.S. were hit hard with brutal winter weather. Locally, we were hit by the worst snowstorm in over a decade, with 20+ inches of snow, high winds, and temperatures that plummeted below zero. It was a true blizzard, which left all kinds of hassles and damage in its wake.
The storm left many people dealing with all kinds of snow-related problems. It closed offices, shut down schools, and left roads impassable for several days. In short, it really crippled the area for the short-term.
In addition to stopping the flow of daily activities, storms such as this can pose many risks for homeowners. The problems might be immediate, in the case of damage during the storm itself. Or, the problems might emerge later, such as in the case of water damage from rapidly melting snow. In situations like this, it’s important to consider what may or may not be covered by insurance. What may seem obvious might not actually be the case.
I’ve done some research on this, and have come up with the following general findings on coverage for these winter weather-related risks:
1. Frozen Pipes: Most insurance policies should cover pipe replacement, as well as related water damage from burst pipes
2. Wind Damage: If a severe storm rips shingles off the roof, most policies should cover this
3. Power Outages: If a storm causes loss of power for an extended period of time, the cost of shelter is covered by many polices
4. Fallen Trees: When trees fall into a house due to a storm, this should be covered by most policies
5. Ice Dams: If an ice dam in your gutters causes water damage, many policies will cover it
6. Snow Removal: If there is damage caused by snow removal, this is probably not covered by a basic homeowners policy
7. Snow Melt Flooding: If you’re counting on your homeowners’ policy to cover this, you might not be in luck.
The 7th issue listed above, Snow Melt Flooding, seems to be a tricky one. If water comes into your home due to the melting of heavy snow, you might have to enlist the aid of flood insurance. The thing is, these policies generally have a 30-day waiting period before they become active. So, if you think the risk of flooding is present within the next week, but you don’t have flood insurance – you’ll have an issue.
With warmer temperatures coming as we move closer to spring, this becomes more of a concern for people. Even when traveling, one might consider travel insurance. Maybe some lessons can be learned here, and applied for next year. In any event, I’m not an insurance professional, so please contact your insurer for actual, specific details.
My Questions for You:
Have you (or anyone you know) ever encountered any weather-related issues that required the help of insurance? These could be during winter or any other season.
Do you have any tips for dealing with such situations?