Ice Dam Coverage
Be Aware of This Homeowners Insurance “Gotcha.”
The brutal winter of 2014-2015 resulted in billions of dollars of blizzard-related damages. Unfortunately, many homeowners were inadequately covered and suffered financial losses as a result. Most home policies cover damage to the structure of your house when an ice dam damages it. But not all policies will cover the property inside your house when it’s damaged by water that backs up from the dam and runs down inside walls. You may be shocked to find that the damage to your attic contents, furniture, area rugs, or other property in your home is not covered.
Interior furnishings, floor coverings, electronics, clothing, etc., are generally not covered for damage caused by water from ice dams unless you have an “Open Perils” policy. This is one of the many reasons to get this coverage – so make sure you’re educated about your risks.
What to Do
Ask for an “HO5” policy that provides “Open Perils” coverage. This type of coverage applies to everything except certain causes of loss that are specifically listed:
- Earth Movement (earthquake coverage can be endorsed)
- Ordinance or Law (some coverage is provided by your policy)
- Water Damage (coverage for “Sudden & Accidental Water Damage” is automatically included; others types of water-related coverage can be endorsed onto the policy)
- Power Failure
- Nuclear Hazard
- Intentional Loss
- Government Action
- Collapse (coverage for abrupt collapse is provided by your policy)
- Theft to a Dwelling Under Construction
- Vandalism or Malicious Mischief (only if the home is vacant more than 60 days)
- Mold, Fungus, or Wet Rot (some coverage may be provided in your policy if such results from a covered cause of loss)
- Wear & Tear, Deterioration
- Mechanical Breakdown
- Smog, Rust & Corrosion
- Smoke from Agricultural Smudging & Industrial Operations
- Discharge, Dispersal, Seepage of Pollutants
- Settling, Shrinking, Bulging, or Expanding
- Birds, Vermin, Rodents, Insects
- Animals Owned by Insured
A standard HO3 policy covers damage caused by only 16 very specific things – and loss to your personal property caused by water from an ice dam isn’t one of them. Coverage is extended to loss caused by:
- Fire or Lightning
- Falling Objects
- Volcanic Eruption
- Windstorm or Hail
- Riot or Civil Commotion
- Damage caused by Aircraft
- Vandalism or Malicious Mischief
- Damage due to weight of Ice, Snow, or Sleet
- Sudden & Accidental Tearing Apart, Cracking, Burning, or Bulging
- Sudden & Accidental Damage from Artificially Generated Electric Current
- Accidental Discharge or Overflow of Water from Plumbing, Air conditioning etc.
Neither policy provides coverage for damage caused by flooding due to tidal water, rain, etc. Always remember to discuss a Flood insurance policy with your Electric Insurance Company Risk Coach.
What to Do Now
Call us to work with an Electric Insurance Risk Coach to help ensure you have the coverage you need. Our Risk Coaches are licensed insurance professionals who are glad to help you navigate the often-perplexing world of insurance coverage. Call us at 800.227.2757, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET.