Weight of Snow on Roof Threat
Weight of snow on roof threat constant on Long Island NY, and the weight of snow claims are expected to surge this year. With seven foot snowfalls in Buffalo, N.Y. 30 homeowners are filing weight of snow claims for the first time, according to a December 14, 2014 article by Claire Davidson. In Nassau and Suffolk counties [in New York] homeowners there have also been under assault.
They’ve endured over two feet of snowfall in January 2015 — resulting in frozen pipes, broken and bursting pipes, weight of snow damage, broken windows, cracked walls and broken windows, felled trees — and horrendous driving conditions in a place with heavy traffic congestion to begin with.
Back upstate, Tami Diestler, an Alden resident whose roof collapsed, told The Buffalo News “I cried. Today, as soon as I walked in here, that was it.” She and her husband had had their home on the market to sell, but that has now all changed as they try to rebuild.
If you too have experienced weight of snow damage and planning to file a claim for weight of snow, broken pipe or other claims for snow damages, what’s covered and not — buried deep within your policy like a car buried in a snowstorm — may surprise you. And like the aftermath of a snowstorm you may need to enlist help to shovel your way out. In the case of insurance claims, this help comes in the form of a public adjuster (click to read “What Is A Public Adjuster?”)
Long Island NY Weight of Snow Threat
The Fine Print
With weight of snow, frozen pipe, and the flooding [that follows a storm with the arrival of warmer weather], claims can be complicated. Insurance companies are in the business of denying claims, not paying them; and those they do pay they attempt to pay the least amount possible. And with the complicated policy language that they have themselves written, they have an unfair advantage.
While most homeowner policies will cover damage caused by the weight of snow and ice, or damages by high winds, it will not likely cover these if they occur at the same time. There is what’s known as an “anti-concurrent causation” provision found in most policies.
During storm season there is also water damage claims, which is different from a flood damage claim. For example, if snow melts from your roof and leaks into a house, or a pipe bursts, that would be covered by a homeowners insurance as water damage (as well as the subsequent damage created by mold) and should be covered. If after a snow-melt however, water rushes into your home from ground level, that would be covered only if you have “flood” insurance. Flood insurance is offered through the through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program or a private insurer.
Expect to wait for your payout
According to a 2014 survey by Consumer Reports, 4 in 10 policyholders filing a claim of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000) or more, had to endure delays, slow payouts and under-compensations.
For better results, an insurance policyholder should interview and then select a good Public Adjuster (read “How To Choose a Public Adjuster“) to represent them.
They can help policyholders determine the order in which damages occurred; evaluate the true cost of the damage claim; file the necessary paperwork to expedite the claims process; and negotiate hard on the policyholder’s behalf for the highest payout. Many public adjusters work on a straight percentage of what they secure for the policy holder, so their interest is in line with the policy holder.
Insurance companies have an edge over policyholders because they’ve written the language that dictates the terms and limitations of the agreements that most policyholders simply sign, unwittingly trusting their agent. They never truly know what they’re coverage is.
A Public Adjuster knows their way around the fine print of insurance contracts, understands how to get the highest estimates, negotiates in terms the insurance company will adhere to, and gets a policyholder the highest payout in a timely manner.
For most critical areas of ones life they hire professionals — doctors, lawyers, and real estate agents, for example — and insurance should be no different. So hire a professional.
Make your safety a priority
Safety is important. So when you think about getting repairs to the winter storm season damages, hire professional, specialized contractors to make those repairs. It’s always tempting to make fixes around the house yourself, but the safety of the home and the family should have weight in your decision. Removing ice from a roof, for example, can be dangerous work, both to the person doing the work and the roof itself. For those who haven’t cleared snow or ice from a roof they could accidentally cause more damage to the shingles — ultimately increasing the cost of repairs.
Preventive measures can save you money in the long run. Broken pipes can be a hassle and costly to have repaired. Preventative actions and maintenance is a better plan.