Winter is once again on its last legs, and many homeowners will have fresh (or old) tales to tell about how much snow and ice their beloved residences had to put up with this year. The coldest season comes around once every year, so it’s a good idea to ensure your home – particularly your roof and everything on it – is winterized.
The bad news is that no matter how well you take care of your roofing system, severe winters can still take a toll. The good news, though, is that you can protect your finances from taking a serious blow by getting insurance.
Roof Collapse Due to Snow and Ice
A typical homeowner’s insurance will cover severe winter- or blizzard-caused damage to your roof, including snow- or ice-related roof collapse. However, if your roof does collapse due to the added weight of snow and ice, your insurance provider still has to assess your roof to determine whether the company should cover it and, if so, for how much.
Roof Condition and Maintenance
Just because your roof collapsed doesn’t mean it automatically qualifies you for an insurance pay-out. An insurance adjuster will visit your home and inspect the damage. If the person is able to prove that your roof was already old and needed to be replaced before the storm, your insurance might not pay for the collapsed roof.
Your choice of material also has a lot to do with whether the insurance provider pays for its replacement or repair. If your residential roofing material was not specifically designed for the climate in your area, your insurer might deny payment.
Maintenance plays a huge role as well. Even if your roof is only a few years old, if it collapsed because you didn’t once bother to inspect and repair potential issues, your insurance is not likely to send you a check.
Whenever you have work done on your roof for its maintenance, keep a record. You’ll need those receipts and other documents to prove you were not negligent.
Condition of Gutters
Your insurance is likely to pay for damage caused by the winter weather, but you still have to pay a deductible, so it’s truly in your best interest to keep your roof as healthy as possible. One way to do that is to make sure your gutters are free of debris like leaves, branches, pine needles and birds’ nests, which can clog your gutter system and contribute to winter problems. Think about installing an effective gutter guard system and heating cables as well.
Proper Attic Insulation and Ventilation
Heat typically gets trapped in the attic because of the natural tendency of hot air to rise. This can cause ice dam formation at the exterior edges of your roof as well as winter frost formation underneath, which are both perfect conditions for leak development. Too much heat from underneath can also bake and weaken your shingles and other roofing components.
Proper ventilation can help prevent these problems. If you think drafts are entering through the roof vents, don’t cover those vents. Add attic insulation instead.