That beautiful snowfall you enjoy today can become a hazard for your home when it begins to melt. If you think your homeowner's insurance policy will cover damage caused by melting snow, think again -- most problems caused by melting snow fall outside the coverage of standard homeowner's insurance policies.
Winter Weather and Homeowner's Policies
Winter's extreme temperatures and wild weather events can result in damage to your home. While most standard homeowner's insurance policies cover some of the damage winter can wreak, the coverage is generally limited to the damage that is caused by the initial storm -- that is, problems caused by wind, ice, freezing rain and snow. A home damaged by heavy snow, therefore, is covered, but not a home damaged by the result of melting snow.
A Different Problem Altogether
Water seeping into the foundation, roof leaks caused by faulty gutters overrun with snow melt, basements flooded by snow runoff -- these are all problems that can result from melting snow, and problems that most standard homeowner's insurance policies won't touch. Damage that results from melting snow is considered an "outside" water condition. Problems caused by melting snow and snow runoff conditions are considered the result of "outside" water conditions. Outside water conditions call for another type of policy altogether: flood insurance.
Get It Covered
Flood insurance covers nearly every type of problem caused by water outside the home, be it from an overrun river, a stopped-up storm drain and even melting snow. However, the extent of what flood insurance will cover when it comes to any water-related damage is limited. Most flood insurance policies do not, for instance, cover the contents of a basement. While the structure itself is covered, and larger items like appliances, personal items are not typically covered.
Mitigating the Damage
The damage melting snow can do to your home likely won't be covered completely by any insurance policy, so it's a good idea to mitigate the damage yourself. Check your roof before the first flake falls, and clean gutters to make sure runoff has a clear path away from your home. When the snow appears, shovel snow away from your home's foundation and well away from your house to stop melting snow damage before it begins.
- Nationwide: 9 Myths About Flood Insurance
- Minnesota Department of Commerce: Minnesotans Reminded to Consider Flood Insurance Before Snowmelt
- The Massachusetts Real Estate Blog: Claim Denied! Hidden Water Seepage And Dry Rot Not Covered Under Massachusetts Homeowner’s Insurance Policy
- RealEstate.com: A Checklist for Winterizing and Weatherproofing Your Home
A writer and information professional, J.E. Cornett has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Lincoln Memorial University and a Master of Science in library and information science from the University of Kentucky. A former newspaper reporter with two Kentucky Press Association awards to her credit, she has over 10 years experience writing professionally.