Thousands of homeowners seek repair damage after New England’s epic winter. In Boston alone successive storms dumped 110 inches of snow which is a record for an entire season. Governors across the six state region have requested federal disaster relief to help state and local governments pay for snow removal and other costs. These requests do not cover home or private property damage.
With such high volumes of Boston area claims, insurance companies need more time to process and finalise payments. Another problem may be finding contractors to do the repairs. They are in high demand now.
Some property owners are expecting to have to pay for some of the repairs themselves. Since the first winter storm hit Boston at the end of January, the city has removed over 10, 000 truckloads of snow after a record six feet of snow fell in the last 30 days. This broke a previous record of 58.5 inches, set in 1978.
Liberty Mutual could not share the number of claims they received as a result of the winter storms. Glenn Greenberg, director of media relations at the insurer, said the company assigned dozens of claims adjusters in the field to assist customers.
Many adjusters came in from other parts of the country to help expedite the claims process. The insurer had several more adjusters ready to come to the region should claims volumes increase. A majority of these claims are water damage from ice dams and collapses.
Boston Public Works Department crews have continued to work around the clock to remove the record amount of snow. According to the Mayor’s Offices the snowiest month long period on record has kept the PWD busy – 244, 064 miles of roadway have been plowed in 136, 652 hours and 70, 051 tons of salt have been used.
Reportedly 6, 000 of the 10, 000 truckloads of snow have been melted to increase capacity at the city’s snow farms. The Tide Street site has been melted to 50 percent capacity. The Reservation Road site is at 10 percent capacity.
Total economic damages and losses as a result of U. S. winter storms during the month of January were estimated at $500 million.
Winter storms caused an estimated $2.3 billion in insured losses in the U. S. in 2014, up from R1.9 billion in 2013. From 1994 – 2013 winter storms resulted in about $27 million in U. S. insured catastrophe losses. Deland, Gibson Insurance Associates, an independent insurance agency in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts, said the agency has seen a noticeable uptick in claims.
A lot of the claims are property damage related to ice dams. In addition his agency also received a couple of claims for roof collapses due to snow and ice. While the majority of those claims are roofs and ice dams, there have also been a number of fender bender claims.
The roadways are a lot narrower because of the snows and the snow piles are a lot bigger so its more difficult to see around corners. People are getting into little fender benders as well.
The widths of the roadway have narrowed considerably. There is nowhere to put the snow, so the snow is falling back on the roadways. This makes the two-lane road a one-lane road. The snowbanks are also hard. You could bounce off of it into oncoming traffic. Also people are not taking enough precaution when they are making right or left turns on the roadway with high snowbanks.
Quite a few claims are claims enquiries on ice dams, where water is leaking into people’s houses. The Arbella Insurance Group is seeing a high volume of three types of claims. The first type and the most significant are ice dams. There are also a number of frozen pipe and water damage claims and then finally, are roof collapses.
Interior or exterior damage caused by an ice dam on your roof is typically covered by standard homeowner’s insurance policies. However, most policies will not cover ice dam or snow removal from your roof or anywhere else on your property.
The best way to deal with ice dams is to physically remove them from your roof. Hire a crew to do this job.
Try to remove snow from the roof, but only if it can be done safely. There is an amazing new type of roof rake called a Roof Razer.
Chisel grooves into the dam to allow the water behind it to drain off.
Fill an old pair of your wife’s panyhose with calcium chloride snow melt and lay it across the dam. It will help to melt the dam and also keep that area of the roof clear. DO NOT USE ROCK SALT. It will stain the roof and siding. It is best for small dams and prevention. In addition it is also a good idea to scrape the snow off the roof first.
Furthermore, there are also ice melting pucks which you can purchase from Home Depot.