When a region experiences several big snowstorms with substantial amounts of snow or ice during the winter, spring flooding often ensues as the frozen precipitation melts. As the water runs into rivers and creeks, they may rise beyond their banks. If there are spring showers, the added flood waters can cause major problems for residential areas in flood zones.
It is important for all homeowners to remember the difference between flood damage and water damage. While flood damage is caused by widespread rain or flooding bodies of water, regular water damage comes from broken pipes, roof leaks and similar home-related problems. A home insurance policy covers water damage but not flooding. All homeowners who live in flood zones should purchase flood insurance.
Salt, sand, ice and traffic create a damaging combination for roads. When spring approaches, it is common to see more potholes in the road. These can ruin tires and damage the wheels on some cars. Drivers who have collision insurance are usually covered for pothole damage. When unsure, ask an agent about what an individual policy covers.
3. Hail Damage
Spring storms are often severe enough to produce hail. These ice balls hit roofs and unprotected vehicles hard enough to cause cracks or dents. Damage to the roof is usually covered under a home insurance policy. If the hail breaks a window and causes rain to leak into the home, the broken window and resulting water damage are both usually covered as well. Auto owners should review their coverage to find out if they are covered for hail damage.
4. Driveway Cracks
Extreme temperature changes and the pressure from snow, ice and vehicles can cause a driveway's surface to crack. Homeowners should check their policies to see if they are covered for cracks. If the damage was caused by a neighbor using sand or salt, the neighbor's insurer is liable.
When spring arrives, vehicle owners should wash their cars at a drive-through carwash that also sprays the undercarriage. This helps remove salt residue that accumulates on the vehicle from the roads. Salt can damage a car and cause rust or worsen existing rust problems. Rust is not typically covered on an auto policy. Fortunately, this is not a common problem with newer vehicles.
6. Damaged Landscape
Heavy snow or ice storms may flatten trees, bushes and landscaping. It is important to remove dead tree branches every spring. This is especially true if they are hanging over the home itself. Rotting mulch and other hazards should be removed. Home insurance policies do not cover snow-damaged trees, bushes or grass.
Make a habit of watching for these hazards as temperatures start to rise. It is important to address issues immediately and take preventative measures. To learn more about preparing for hazards and updating insurance, discuss concerns with an agent at 314-351-HALO (4256).