What is an ice dam? An ice dam is a wall of ice that forms at the edge of the roof, typically at the gutter or soffit point. When ice dams form, they prevent melting snow from draining off the roof and away from the house. This can lead to water backing up and leaking inside of the house.
Are you covered by the water damage caused by an ice dam? Home insurance policies will generally cover the resulting water damage and roof damage caused by ice dams. The coverage is subject to your deductible so talk to your agent first before you put in a claim. Remember, water coming in from the top down (roof), is generally covered. Water coming in from the bottom (basement or foundation), generally is not. Unless you carry flood insurance, and the damage is determined to be a flood loss.
What can you do to prevent ice dams? First off, make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris before the first snow falls. Other suggestions would be to clear the snow around the gutter line using a roof rake after a storm. For your safety, climbing on the roof is not advised. There are contractors for hire to help you with this.
What if it is too late and an ice dam has formed, and water is coming into the home? If water is coming into the home, move furniture and other personal property away from the affected area to prevent other items from being damaged. Contact a roofer and ask for advice to help in removing the dam.
Ice dams can be quite destructive. Taking steps during the warmer months to make sure your roof and gutters are in good shape can help prevent ice dams from forming in the first place.
Want to learn more about how to protect you home from rain and ice: https://extension.umn.edu/protecting-home-rain-and-ice/dealing-and-preventing-ice-dams
This old house even did a nice piece on this topic: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/roofing/21017660/how-to-get-rid-of-ice-dams
The Jim Eagan Agency is always happy to share important home insurance information. Living in CT, knowing about how to protect your home from rain and ice is critical. https://www.jimeaganagency.com/home-insurance