Ice Damming claims are prevalent right now in Michigan and can cause a lot of inconvenience and damage to property owners.
Ice Damming is caused by typically a large build of snow on the roof. The gutters with the buildup of snow and little bit of melting cause the gutters to freeze up and prevent water flowing which results in large icicles forming and more importantly the water back-ups under the shingles and leaks into the interior of the home or building. The interior damage is manifested in water leaking through ceiling and wall drywall.
Prevention is the best course of action. Making sure you have adequate installation before winter begins is a key step to preventing ice damming from occurring on your roof in the first place. There are also roof heating cables that you can have installed that help melt ice around your gutters.
Once we do have a snow of 4-6 inches or more, or a series of snowfalls that cause a buildup of snow on the roof, raking and removing the buildup of snow from the roof can be effective. Placing Calcium Chloride in the gutters and roof area where the ice and snow are building up to help break up the ice dam can also be helpful. Keep in mind DO NOT USE ROCK SALT, it damages shingles. Its best if you can do this from the ground. Ladders can be unstable and slippery in the snow and ice environment. Roof Rakes and Calcium Chloride can be purchased at most hardware stores. Please call a professional or utilize extreme caution if you attempt to do this work yourself. Most roofing contractors, some snowplow contractors, some restoration companies, and some handymen will be able to assist with these services.
If you have leaking into the interior the home the best of course of action, is to try to mitigate the spread of dry wall damage. If you can isolate the dripping through the drywall you may want to punch a small hole in the drywall with a screwdriver to allow the water to drip into one spot into a bucket. Placing fans and a de-humidifier in the room can help dry the area after the leaking has slowed. If the leaking is around any electrical boxes or fixtures, you will want to take extra precautions and call a professional. It is a good practice to take photos of the damage and the exterior areas of concern if a claim is to be filed.
Once the damming and leaking is finished, the next step is to determine the amount of interior damage. Getting an estimate or ballpark on cost will help you decide if a claim should be filed. Once you have an estimate, compare that to your deductible to see if there is going to be enough repair cost to justify a claim. Costs to rake roofs or remove ice dams are not typically covered by insurance. Keep in mind when you file claims it impacts your future rates. We do not have the ability to give you the exact future rate changes, but we can give you an educated guess. If you have had any other claims in the past 5 years, multiple claims can cause underwriting concerns as well. Its ultimately up to you whether you choose to file a claim, we just want to make sure you have all the information.
As always as soon as you have any questions or concerns, your TDA family is here to help.