More on Home Insurance
More on Home Insurance
Nothing says “winter wonderland'' like a layer of delicate snow on your home, lawn, and nearby trees, but excessive snowfall can pose a threat to your home — and too much snow can even cause your roof to collapse under its weight. A standard homeowners insurance policy will typically cover roof collapse from snow, ice, or sleet, as well as damage to your personal belongings if roof collapse causes snow to enter your home or damages your possessions. But a roof with existing maintenance issues or prior, unresolved damage may not be covered, which is why you should keep your roof well-maintained all year round.
To prevent roof collapse from snow and associated water damage, you should keep your gutters clear of debris, remove accumulated snow in between snowstorms (if possible), and look out for any warning signs, such as curling shingles.
Roof collapse caused by snow, ice, or sleet would be covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy
Damage to your ceiling and personal belongings would also be covered if your roof collapses on top of them
It’s best to keep-up your roof all year round in order to avoid damage to the rest of your home in the event of a roof collapse
Snow can certainly cause a roof to collapse under its weight, especially if repeated snow events prevent it from fully melting in between. If snow is followed by rain, the snow might absorb the rainwater, making it even heavier and harder to remove.
According to Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, most roofs can withstand up to “20 pounds per square foot of snow” before becoming distressed (assuming they’re in good condition before it snows). But a poorly maintained roof can support much less than that, so it’s best to keep your roof well-maintained in order to avoid significant damage.
Yes, homeowners insurance covers roof damage from snow, including roof collapse and related ceiling damage. Ice dams, which can cause your roof to cave in, are also covered. Unless specifically excluded from your policy, homeowners insurance may also cover related weather conditions like:
If it can be determined that your roof was previously damaged or in poor shape prior to snowfall, then homeowners insurance won’t cover it. In general, standard homeowners insurance won’t cover maintenance issues, like wear and tear, corrosion, and anything else that if addressed, could’ve prevented the snow from causing your roof to collapse.
Typically, however, roof damage or collapse from snow or ice is covered by home insurance. When you file a claim after a roof collapse, your insurance company will likely send you some portion of the settlement right away, so you can start arranging repairs and pay for temporary housing while yours is a construction zone.
The best way to prevent roof collapse from snow is to maintain it all year round, especially in the months leading up to winter. To minimize the impact of severe weather conditions on your roof, you should:
Stephanie Nieves is an insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City, specializing in auto and home insurance. She's been writing about insurance, finance and financial planning since 2018, and loves helping readers get the knowledge they need to make financial decisions with confidence. Her words can also be found on PayScale, Fairygodboss, and The Muse.
Stephanie has a B.A. in writing and rhetoric from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
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