Help! My Home is Damaged

Hiring a Contractor

Some people dealing with snow damage will no doubt have to hire a contractor to do the work.

  • Get estimates. if one is a lot less than the others -- do NOT go with that one..
  • Check the company with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Always have a contract.
  • And if it's a roof contract, ask for a warranty.

But this is exactly the time that con artists come out of the woodwork.

Experts say you do not want to hire the guy driving down the road who knocks on your door and says he's doing work in the neighborhood and would you like him to repair your damage.

Obviously, if there's a danger of more damage you have to get some work done immediately but after that, be patient.

What Will My Insurance Cover?

When your home does gets damaged, regardless of how much damage, you're probably wondering what is and is not covered under your homeowner's policy.

We asked Stephen Vahey with Allstate Insurance to pass along a little advice.

Here are some of the things a standard homeowner's policy should cover:

  • Wind-driven snow or freezing rain that gets into a home.
  • Tree limbs that fall on a house would be covered for both the damage the limbs cauase to the home and the cost of removing them, generally up to about 500 dollars.
  • And, if the weight of the snow or ice causes a part of your home to collapse, such as the roof, that should also be covered.

What About Ice Dams?

We went to Nick Blassman from Home Depot for advice on that topic.

They're usually caused by ice dams: heat escapes from your attic, warming the snow on the roof, it melts, but can't drain off because the eaves of the home are cold..

So ice accumulates along the eaves, forming a dam.

And then the water has nowhere to go, but leaking inside the home.

So the snow on the roof melts because at some point the roof is warmer than 32 degrees, but then as it drains, it hits a point below the freezing mark. 

And then you have an ice dam.

So what can you do?

First here's what you should not do:

  • Do not get up on your roof. 
  • And do not hack away at the ice with a hammer, chisel or shovel. That could seriously damage your roof.

You should try to safely remove the snow from your roof using a roof rake, which is one with a long handle so you can do it from the ground.

You should contact a roofing contractor to fix the leak and to prevent any future ice dams.

The goal is to make the ceiling airtight so no warm or moist air can get into the attic space, which then warms the roof.

It may require increasing the insulation to cut down on the heat loss. 

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