The Dreadful Ice Dams in Massachusetts: How to Prevent Them and Who Pays for the Damage They Cause?

Find out how ice dams form, how you can prevent them, and which insurance coverage can reimburse you for the damage.
Christine Lacagnina Written by Christine Lacagnina
Christine Lacagnina
Written by Christine Lacagnina

Christine Lacagnina has written thousands of insurance-based articles for by authoring consumable, understandable content.

Reviewer: Jeffrey Green Reviewed by Jeffrey Green
Reviewer: Jeffrey Green
Reviewed by Jeffrey Green

Jeff Green has held a variety of sales and management roles at life insurance companies, Wall street firms, and distribution organizations over his 40-year career.  He was previously Finra 7,24,66 registered and held life insurance licenses in multiple states. He is a graduate of Stony Brook University.

Huge icicles hang from the roof. How to Prevent Ice Dams and Who Pays for the Damage They Cause in Massachusetts.

Especially in states like Massachusetts with long, harsh winters, ice dams can be extremely common. The problem with ice dams is that they can cause major damage to your roof and even the inside of your home if they don't melt correctly. When water gets trapped, it has to go somewhere.

Fortunately, an independent insurance agent in Massachusetts can help you get set up with all the homeowners insurance you need to protect your home against ice dam damage. They'll help you find the right type of coverage for other disasters as well. But for starters, let's discuss ice dams in Massachusetts and who pays for the damage they cause.

How to Protect Your Massachusetts Home from Ice Dams

Protection against ice dams and the damage they cause starts with prevention and ends with the proper protection in the form of insurance coverage. 

Take these steps to prevent ice dam damage to your home this winter:

  1. Get a professional to inspect your roof for temperature leaks.
  2. Keep your roof clear of any puddles by clearing melting snow quickly.
  3. Before winter ever rolls around, seal any leaks in your home, such as around doors and windows.
  4. Always keep your gutters clear, periodically removing dead leaves and other debris to keep water flowing.
  5. Get a professional to inspect your home's interior for faulty or patchy insulation. 
  6. Get equipped with the right type of homeowners insurance to protect you against potential damage costs.

An independent insurance agent can help you find homeowners insurance that can reimburse you for damage caused to your home by ice dams. But taking these steps to prevent them from forming and causing damage in the first place can save you from the hassle of filing claims.

How Does Home Insurance Help after Ice Dam Damage?

According to insurance expert Jeffery Green, damage to your home from ice dams would be covered by standard homeowners insurance. However, damage to your personal property caused by the ice dam wouldn't be covered. Damage to other structures by ice dams is also not covered.

Home insurance typically covers incidents of roof collapse, which can happen if an ice dam is stuck for a while and the roof becomes overloaded with snow, ice, and melting water. If a serious ice dam caused such extensive damage to your home that you had to stay somewhere else while awaiting repairs to be completed, your home insurance would cover additional living expenses as well.

When Is Freezing and Ice Dam Damage Not Covered?

Green said that instances when freezing damage wouldn't be covered would include freezing of pipes, and damage to plumbing systems, sprinkler systems, or household appliances. However, these incidents could be covered if heat was maintained or the system had been drained. 

As far as ice dam damage, Green added that personal property and damage to other structures are excluded from ice dam damage coverage. If you're still concerned about what's covered and what's not, ask your independent insurance agent to review your home insurance policy with you.


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Who Pays for Ice Dam Damage?

The homeowner is responsible for covering the costs of home damage caused by ice dams if it's not reimbursed by their home insurance. So if water damage occurred within the home that wasn't covered by your policy, you'd have to pay for those costs out of pocket. That's all the more reason to prevent ice dams from forming in the first place.

How Do Ice Dams Damage Homes?

If your roof doesn't warm up evenly after a heavy snowfall or ice accumulation on your roof, it can lead to the precipitation melting unevenly. Since the roof of your house tends to thaw out faster than your gutters do, the frozen water in your gutters can act as a dam for water accumulating on your roof as the snow and ice melt there first. 

Ice dams can damage your home in the following ways:

  1. Causing severe damage or destruction to gutters due to the weight of trapped snow and ice
  2. Causing internal damage to the home if water runoff seeps inside through little openings around doors, windows, etc.
  3. Causing basement floods if too much of the water runs off into the home
  4. Causing internal damage after water seeps indoors and then freezes and expands
  5. Causing mold or mildew growth within the home if water runs inside, especially if it's not noticed right away
  6. Causing personal property damage to furniture and other items inside, especially in the basement or lowest floor of the home where flooding occurs

Knowing just how badly and in how many ways ice dams can cause serious damage to your home can provide even more inspiration to follow the checklist of how to prevent these disasters from ever forming.

Facts about Massachusetts Ice Dams

Still interested in learning more about ice dams? Here are just a handful of facts about ice dams and why preparing your home against them can save you from a potential nightmare.

Fast ice dam facts for Massachusetts:

  • Just one inch of snow can cause an ice dam to form, however, six inches of snowfall or more provides the biggest threat.
  • Ice dams can form in under 24 hours.
  • After an ice dam accumulates to four to six inches in length, it can already prevent water from flowing normally through your gutters, leading to potential drainage into the home.
  • Just one gallon of water prevented from draining by an ice dam can back up enough to seep indoors.
  • Professional removal of ice dams can be quite pricey, at an average of $400 to $600 per hour.
  • Preventing ice dam damage can start by keeping the inside of your home set to 68 degrees or higher.
  • Your roof's pitch can factor into ice dam prevention, as roofs with 12:12 pitches or higher can make it extremely difficult for an ice dam to form.

Before winter ever rolls around, take some time to review these staggering statistics about ice dams and the real damage they can cause. Also, be sure to speak with your independent insurance agent to make sure you've got enough home insurance, just in case. 

Why Choose an Independent Insurance Agent in Massachusetts?

A Massachusetts independent insurance agent can simplify the process by shopping and comparing insurance quotes for you. Not only that, but they’ll also cut through the jargon and clarify the fine print so you'll know exactly what you’re getting.

Independent insurance agents also have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best home insurance coverage, accessibility, and competitive pricing while working for you.

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