Winter in Minnesota is brutal. Snow accumulates, and when the sun shines, it melts and turns into ice. When you combine these wintry elements with freezing temperatures, it creates particularly dangerous conditions. This can cause issues in your home.
You may wonder if winter home repairs are covered by homeowners insurance. Here is what you need to know about a few common problems.
When temperatures drop, water pipes can freeze and burst. This is often an extremely costly fix. The burst pipes must be replaced, and you might have significant water damage to your home. State Farm Insurance estimates the average insurance claim for frozen pipes is about $15,000.
You can prevent pipes from freezing by checking that pipes in attics and crawl spaces are insulated. In the winter, turn off the water to garden hose faucets. Seal up any cold air leaks around your home. If you go out of town, open cabinets underneath the sink to allow warm air to circulate around pipes.
Insurance companies typically cover burst pipes, if it was not due to any negligence on your part. Not keeping your home warm enough during freezing temperatures may cause an insurance company to blame you.
When snow melts on the roof, it can refreeze and then push up under roof shingles. This may cause water to leak into attics and walls. Icicles hanging from gutters or eaves can get heavy enough to pull gutters down or cause other damage to your home.
Knocking down icicles hanging from your roof or gutters can help. Just be sure to exercise caution when doing so. You should also check that exhaust fans and dryer vents do not discharge into the attic. The hot air blowing into the attic can cause ice dams to form.
Most homeowners insurance covers damage from ice dams. However, if creek or river forms an ice dam and floods your property, this will not be covered unless you also have flood insurance.
Snow can get very heavy. A roof in good repair can hold 20 pounds per square foot, which equals about 4 feet of snow. However, wet snow weighs more than dry snow.
If you receive several large snowstorms, consider investing in a roof rake. A roof rake allows you to stand on the ground and pull snow down from your roof. This prevents snow pileups that could lead to a roof collapse. It also keeps you from getting up on a ladder to remove snow, when conditions are slippery and unsafe.
A roof collapse is usually covered by your homeowners insurance. The only issue you may encounter is if the insurance company argues that your roof was too old and should have been replaced.
Snow, ice and freezing temperatures can cause problems in a home. Most common issues are covered by homeowners insurance. If your insurance company disputes your claim, do not automatically accept their rejection. You pay for your insurance coverage, and you have the right to compensation on a reasonable claim.