Every year, homeowners and businesses will find that snow melt water turns to ice and harsh weather elements cause their roof to accumulate snow and ice. When icicles start to form, it may remind you of a time when you are a child, and you would play with icicles and embrace the beauty of them.
But ice dams that build on roof edges typically begin as icicles.
These ice dams can weigh several hundred pounds, and they pose a risk not only to your roof, but personal injury occurring from the ice dam dislodging and falling. Insurance claims skyrocket during the winter months due to ice dams, and many homeowners and businesses are unaware of the potential risks, liabilities and dangers that accompany them.
The Wall Street Journal posted an interesting article in 2011 about a man named Mark D’Ambrosio from Massachusetts who had a large icicle from a pine tree fall on him. The man was hospitalized with a head wound, and the same occurrence can happen with ice dams. Injuries aside, some homeowners and businesses experienced $20,000 worth of property damage last year due to ice dams.
Needless to say, ice dams are a major issue, and one that is more prevalent in areas of the country where snow is in abundance. Colorado, Massachusetts and upstate New York are just a few of the many areas where ice dams will cause injuries this year.
The exact number of injuries that occur each year due to falling ice dams is hard to determine. Weather is the obvious variable that will affect the amount of injuries that occur. Last year, for example, Boston had significant amounts of snow and blowing snow. Deland, Gibson Insurance Associates stated that the amount of claims that occurred increased from 2 – 3 per week to over 30 when heavy storms came through.
Most of the time, claims are not due to injuries, but due to roofs collapsing or property damage related to pooled water behind an ice dam.
We were able to find some statistics based on region for the amount of claims for ice dams. The statistics are:
- 2/3 – 2/6 in 2014: 30,000+ claims and 9 deaths occurred in the Midwest, Plains and Northeast.
- 2/11 – 2/14 in 2014: 50,000+ structure claims were listed and 25 deaths occurred in the Southeast and Northeast.
- 2/20 – 2/21 in 2-14: 20,000+ claims were filed and one death occurred.
The deaths that occurred were not elaborated on in the filings. These deaths could have occurred from roofs collapsing, falling off of a roof, or an ice dam falling on a person.
Prevent Ice Dams