Winter Storms

Broken tree branch in snow storm

Winter can be a beautiful time in Michigan. There are also multiple factors that can spoil a beautiful winter day and lead to insurance claims. Wet heavy snow can cause roofs, porches, awnings, carports and outbuildings to collapse. There can also be significant damage from downed trees and limbs, ice dams, water leaks, and out-of-pocket living expenses when people are forced out of their homes due to storm damage. Winter storms can also lead to bad roads, causing an increase in vehicle accidents. Below are some things you may wish to consider before a claim occurs.

Advice for Homeowners and Business Owners

Standard homeowners or business owners insurance policies cover a wide range of winter-related disasters such as burst pipes, ice dams, wind damage, leaky roofs, and a building collapse caused by the weight of ice or snow. Coverage for backup of sewers and drains may also be available by purchasing additional endorsements to your policy.  Flood damage is excluded from most standard policies. It is important to read your policy closely and make sure you understand the provisions. Talk to your agent or insurance company to clarify any questions you may have regarding your policy coverages.  

Advice for Automobile Owners

Whether you are a first time driver or an experienced driver, winter can cause conditions that we do not expect. Take the time to review your policy and understand what coverage you have. Under Michigan No-Fault Insurance, unless your vehicle is parked, your insurance policy is going to be responsible for repairing your vehicle. Two optional coverages you may consider purchasing:

  • Collision Coverage: Provides coverage when your vehicle collides with another vehicle, or when your vehicle hits an object such as a tree or pole.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Provides protection when your car has sustained damage that did not result from a collision. Some examples are damage from: a falling object, hail, or vandalism. 

Ways to avoid winter damage:

  • Keep your home warm. The temperature in the home should be at least 65 degrees to prevent the pipes from freezing. If you take a long vacation, have family, friend(s), or a neighbor check on your house to catch any damage which may occur as quickly as possible.
  • Keep gutters clean of leaves and debris to prevent ice damming, which occurs when melting ice spreads under roof shingles.
  • Avoid parking under trees with ice and snow weighing down the branches. Consider removing trees from the property which have died or are rotting.
  • As snow melts, water can back-up sewers and drains resulting in flooding. Local government officials should be notified if street drains are clogged.