Q: Does Homeowner's Insurance Cover Ice Dams?
If I try to remove ice dams and accidentally damage my roof, will my homeowner's insurance cover the cost of repairs?
The ice dams on my house are getting to be a real nuisance. I’m planning to get up on a ladder with an ice pick and break them up. If I accidentally damage my shingles or gutters in the process, will my home insurance cover the cost of repairs?
A: I’m sorry, but it will not. Homeowner's insurance policies specifically list exclusions for damages caused by defective, inadequate or faulty repairs; and in this case, your damage to the house would fall under this exclusion category. While treating ice dams is good for your house, doing so irresponsibly is not.
Some effective, but dangerous, ways to deal with the ice dams are by breaking them up with an ice pick (as you plan to) or melting them with a blow torch. The risks associated with these methods, however, are very high. If you end up damaging your house in the process, you are most likely going to have to foot the entire repair bill yourself.
There are a number of ways to deal with ice dams, most of which are safe. These include such methods as using a roof rake, placing de-icing tablets on the roof, or even filling nylons with rock salt and laying them across the dams. These techniques are recommended because not only are they less likely to result in injuries to you, but they also present little risk of damage to your home.