Tag Archives: homeowners policy

Preventing Ice Dams and Winter Roof Damage

Ice Dam

We hope that everyone has remained safe through this snow storm. Now that the snow has fallen, it’s time to think about the ice dams that are likely to form and follow. In an effort to help keep you informed of some of the best practices, allow us to share some helpful tips surrounding ice dam prevention and/or removal.

An ice dam forms when melting snow freezes at the edge of your roof line. If you do not remove the snow, you run the risk of the ice dam growing large enough to keep the water from draining off the roof.  The water could then back up underneath the shingles and find its way to the interior. This can damage your roof, attic, and upper levels of your building.

How do you tell if you have an Ice Dam?

  • Look for large icicles hanging from the gutters and sides of the roof, as this is a sign that water may be trapped on your roof
  • Look for water stains in your attic ceiling or exterior walls

Steps you can take to prevent an Ice Dam:

  • Remove snow from your roof after every heavy storm before it freezes by using a roof rake.
  • Make sure that leaders and gutters are clear of leaves and debris so melted snow can drain properly
  • Insulate your roof and attic.
  • Seal up any holes in the roof that can cause water to seep through
  • Make sure any vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic fans, and light fixtures are properly insulated and sealed.
  • Install a leak barrier underneath the shingles to act as an additional preventative measure, as it keeps water from seeping inside your building.

Tips for removing an Ice Dam:

  • Call a roof professional. If this is done incorrectly, you may cause further damage to your roof.
  • Do not use rock salt to melt the ice, as this could lead to even more damage.
  • If you do choose to remove it yourself, you can use calcium chloride to melt the ice.

As the cold winter months continue, please be proactive and prepare for the possibility of an ice dam forming on your roof. Doing all you can to prevent an ice dam will alleviate your stress and bring you closer to a worry-free season. We hope you all remain safe.

Who Is Covered Under Your Homeowners Policy?

keysOwning a home comes with many different freedoms and luxuries. In addition, you may have the flexibility to host others in your home.

Have you been faced with any of the following situations? *

  • Things are getting more serious with your significant other, and they find themselves staying over more often than not.
  • You have the opportunity to lend a helping hand and welcome a friend to stay at your place during troubling times.
  • You need assistance with paying the bills, and opt to get a roommate.

These examples, or any of similar circumstances, do not necessarily qualify an individual to be protected under your Homeowners Policy. Your Homeowners Policy only covers an “Insured.”

An “Insured” is defined in the policy as:

  • You (the person named on the policy)
  • Your Spouse (must be a resident of the same household)
  • Resident Relatives
  • Legal Domestic Partners
  • Any other person under the age of 21 who is under the custody of the person named on the policy

Clearly, your friends do not fit the definition of an Insured. Should you and your significant other get engaged, he/she would still not be covered. Therefore, their contents would not be covered under your policy. The definition of an Insured is also the same for condos, co-ops and renters policies.

Let’s look at this scenario for clarification: *

Hosting a gathering of mutual friends with your houseguest sounds like a fun idea. However, when one of your friends falls and gets injured in the home, they subsequently sue the both of you for their injuries.

Your policy will only defend you in this lawsuit and your houseguest will be left to hire an attorney at their own expense. Once again, they do not meet the definition of an Insured, so property coverage as well as liability coverage will not apply. This would turn into an unfortunate source of newfound stress.

The best way to ensure that everyone in your household has contents and liability coverage is seeing to it that additional residents purchase their own Renters policy. As always, please contact your broker for more information on all the possibilities. Every company has different guidelines for these situations.

* The examples in this post are intended to educate the reader generally about the benefits of insurance, through the use of hypothetical “details” including coverages, cash values and premium costs. These are approximations based on the author’s experience, but are not facts that would necessarily apply to the reader’s own situation or to that of any other person. Reliable information regarding such items as coverages, cash values and premium costs may only be obtained through formal communications with your broker.

 

Ask Sherri: Insuring Your Valentine’s Day Gifts

With the spirit of love in the air as Valentine’s Day approaches, it is only appropriate for us to bring back our classic Valentines’ Day episode of Ask Sherri. If you plan on proposing this Valentine’s Day or just getting your loved one an expensive gift, we highly recommend that you check out this episode. Sherri will show you why you may want to consider a Floater Policy or adding extra coverage to your Homeowners or Renters Policy for these special gifts.  And…. why you may want to stay away from putting your ring in the cake…