While most Americans welcome the spring season with its warmer temperatures
and sunnier days, seasoned homeowners know that it can also bring several
problems. As the snow melts, the damage of winter weather is often revealed.
These are some of the most common spring insurance hazards.
When a region experiences several big snowstorms with substantial amounts of
snow or ice during the winter, spring flooding often ensues as the frozen
precipitation melts. As the water runs into rivers and creeks, they may rise
beyond their banks. If there are spring showers, the added flood waters can
cause major problems for residential areas in flood zones.
It is important for all homeowners to remember the difference between flood
damage and water damage. While flood damage is caused by widespread rain or
flooding bodies of water, regular water damage comes from broken pipes, roof
leaks and similar home-related problems. A home insurance policy covers water
damage but not flooding. All homeowners who live in flood zones should purchase
flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.
Salt, sand, ice and traffic create a damaging combination for roads. When
spring approaches, it is common to see more potholes in the road. These can
ruin tires and damage the wheels on some cars. Drivers who have collision
insurance are usually covered for pothole damage. When unsure, ask an agent
about what an individual policy covers.
3. Ice Dams
If snow or ice accumulates on the roof and only partially melts, additional
snow or rain can cause an ice dam to form. Ice dams often result in water
leaking into the home and down the walls, which may ruin the walls. A home
insurance policy usually covers the water damage to the walls. However, the
insurer will not pay for removal of the ice dam from the roof.
4. Hail Damage
Spring storms are often severe enough to produce hail. These ice balls hit
roofs and unprotected vehicles hard enough to cause cracks or dents. Damage to
the roof is usually covered under a home insurance policy. If the hail breaks a
window and causes rain to leak into the home, the broken window and resulting
water damage are both usually covered as well. Auto owners should review their
coverage to find out if they are covered for hail damage.
5. Driveway Cracks
Extreme temperature changes and the pressure from snow, ice and vehicles can
cause a driveway's surface to crack. Homeowners should check their policies to
see if they are covered for cracks. If the damage was caused by a neighbor using
sand or salt, the neighbor's insurer is liable.
When spring arrives, vehicle owners should wash their cars at a drive-through
carwash that also sprays the undercarriage. This helps remove salt residue that
accumulates on the vehicle from the roads. Salt can damage a car and cause rust
or worsen existing rust problems. Rust is not typically covered on an auto
policy. Fortunately, this is not a common problem with newer vehicles.
7. Damaged Landscape
Heavy snow or ice storms may flatten trees, bushes and landscaping. It is
important to remove dead tree branches every spring. This is especially true if
they are hanging over the home itself. Rotting mulch and other hazards should
be removed. Home insurance policies do not cover snow-damaged trees, bushes or
8. Snow Plows
City snow plows and private snow plows often knock over mailboxes or hit cars
on residential properties. Homeowners and vehicle owners who experience such
problems must first contact their city to see how to file a claim if a city
snow plow was to blame. If a neighbor was operating a private snow plow, the
claim must be filed with the neighbor's insurer. If the culprit is unknown,
contact an agent to learn how to proceed.
Make a habit of watching for these hazards as temperatures start to rise and
snow piles start to diminish. It is important to address issues immediately and
take preventative measures. To learn more about preparing for hazards and
updating insurance, discuss concerns with an agent.