Wisconsin Winter Weather: Ice Dams and your Insurance Premiums

Wisconsin presents many challenges to its year-round residents and although winter may be a little late in visiting this year, there is little doubt that Mother Nature will show up sooner rather than later. Wisconsin residents truly experience four different seasons during the course of the year – a spectacular event to witness as a resident.  Mother Nature’s miracles also provide numerous hurdles for homeowners.

Have you seen this before!?

Wisconsin’s winter weather comes in several shapes and sizes:  snow, ice, rain, sleet, hail, wind, etc.  However, one of the most common claims that we see due to winter weather are ice dams.  Ice dams can cause major damage to homes and businesses and are often signs of larger problems that exist.

First things first:  what is an ice dam?  An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents water (melting snow) from draining off the roof.  The water backs up behind the dam and may leak into a home and cause damage to the walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.  The damage can be extensive – often times causing mold and mildew due to the moisture and wet walls/insulation.

What are signs of an ice dam?

  • Icicles hanging from roof eaves
  • Water dripping down or ice forming on the exterior surface of home
  • Ice is developing along the overhangs of the roof and/or gutters are filled with ice
  • Icicles forming on the underside of the roof
  • Water penetrating into home

So, what can you do to prevent ice dams?  Some suggestions are:

  • Remove snow from roof using a roof rake or a push broom
  • Make the ceiling air tight, ensuring that no warm, moist air can flow from the house into the attic space
  • Increasing ceiling/roof insulation to cut down on heat loss by conduction
  • Install sufficient soffit vents and adequate ridge vent for better ventilation

As always, if you witness signs of an ice dam – consult a professional immediately.

Ice dams are generally covered under a standard homeowner’s insurance form, so there is most likely coverage for a claim.  With that being said, ice dams are generally preventable claims.  By taking measures to prevent these types of claims, an insured is saving themselves money by not paying a deductible and keeping their claim activity to a minimum!  The less claim activity one has the more competitive rates they can obtain!

Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have – we’re happy to help!  As always, please read the policy forms for exact coverage.