We don’t usually address snow and ice damage in March, much less just days before spring begins. Considering the blizzard that just hit the northeast and the forecasts predicting winter weather will linger into spring across much of the United States it is still a timely subject.
Most farmowners insurance policies cover damage to the home and contents resulting from pipes broken due to freezing. Coverage is provided on the policy’s Special Form which is commonly referred to as an all-risks type of policy. Damage due to ice and snow is also covered. So if there is roof damage due to the weight of snow or if an “ice dam” causes roof leakage, these perils are covered. And what about your farm’s out buildings?
Be aware that these perils are usually not covered on your scheduled farm barns, buildings and structures unless you choose to add the Special Form endorsement to your policy. If policy holders opt not to add this protection and live in a “snow belt”, it would be wise to at least include the endorsement that covers collapse due to the Weight of Ice, Snow or Sleet.
Frozen Pipes: Wrap pipes that are at risk in insulated heat tape and keep the building heat at an adequate level throughout the winter. If you have a power loss, however, you will lose heat, so if you’re away more than a day or two, arrange for someone to check on things. If you’ll be away for an extended period of time, drain your pipes. If you’re going to be out of the home for even a short time, shut off the water supply. That way, if pipes do burst, the only water that will be released will be what’s in the pipes.
Snow and Ice Buildup: Using a long-handled snow puller or roof rake, pull the snow from the roof back just a few feet from the edge of the eaves before ice has a chance to form. This will give melting water a chance to drain from the eaves and prevent the formation of ice dams that may damage your roof, walls and ceilings.
Submitting a Farmowners Insurance Claim
First, take immediate steps to prevent further damage, take photos and contact your carrier’s claims representative to verify coverage and for instructions. Generally, you will be asked for repair estimates and a list of items that will need repair or replacement. Depending on the amount of damage, an adjustor from the insurance company may need to see the damage. As with any insurance claim, keep all receipts.
Weather – A Daily Topic of Conversation!
From what we have experienced so far in the northeast, bitterly cold and windy weather returned with a vengeance after teasing us with near 70 degrees here in New Jersey! The storm that hit the northeast this week brought feet of snow disrupting travel and resulting in thousands of power outages. It’s a reminder to be prepared and have an emergency plan!
If you are uncertain about the adequacy of coverage on your farmowners insurance policy, review your policy now. Contact your agent with any questions or concerns that should be addressed – sooner rather than later!