<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=905697862838810&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Insurance | 2 min read

RIP, Frosty: How Melting Snow Can Increase Flood Risk for Your Insureds

Many parts of the eastern coast rang in 2022 with thundersnow—that’s right, thundersnow. If you’ve never heard of it, this rare phenomenon occurs when weather patterns characteristic of a rainstorm, such as thunder and lightning, are instead accompanied by heavy snow. The same storm system was responsible for dumping more than a foot of snow across Delaware and southern New Jersey, while parts of Maryland experienced an accumulation of 15.5 inches.

The severity of winter storms is only expected to increase with the effects of climate change. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), “The frequency of extreme snowstorms in the eastern two-thirds of the contiguous United States has increased over the past century. Approximately twice as many extreme U.S. snowstorms occurred in the latter half of the 20th century than the first.”

As if surviving a winter storm wasn’t stressful enough, did you know that snowmelt can increase the risk of flooding for your insureds? That foot of snow it took to build Frosty has to go somewhere, and unfortunately, it often ends up running off beneath homes or in basements, which can lead to flood damage. Since flooding isn’t typically covered by homeowners insurance, this is helpful information to share with your clients.

Homeowners Insurance Won’t Cover Snow Melt

Homeowners insurance is great for providing important protection for your insureds’ home in most situations. It’s important to note, however, that flooding is not one of the covered situations. This is as true for flooding damage caused by melting snow as it is for flood damage from a hurricane, and it is critical information to share with your insureds.

How Melting Snow Could Lead to Flooding

When temperatures rise following a snowstorm, the melting snow seeps into the earth. As the ground becomes oversaturated, it could leak into your home from below. The biggest risk occurs when the temperature rises quickly, creating a “fast melt.” When this occurs, the water doesn’t have a chance to drain, and flooding is more likely.

From an insurance perspective for your homeowners insurance clients, this is considered flood damage. In this case, flood insurance offers the best protection.

Water Damage vs. Flood Damage from Melting Snow and Ice

If your insured’s home incurs damage from melting snow, and the water is coming from above ground (such as a melting icicle), the resulting damage may be covered by their homeowners insurance.

According to The Nest, “In the world of insurance, flooding and water damage are not the same thing. A flood is rising water moving over what's normally dry ground. Water damage is caused by water that hasn't touched the ground. If snow comes in through a broken window and melts on your computer, that's water damage, which homeowners insurance covers. If snowdrifts in your garden melt, homeowners insurance won't pay for any flooding damage. Flood insurance will.”

Conclusion

We live at a time when natural disasters are occurring more and more frequently. While the future may be hard to predict, you can help arm your homeowners insurance clients with the information and resources they need to protect their property in any scenario.

Click Here to Join an Agent Portal

Related Categories

Insurance

Tyreo Harrison

As Executive Vice President, Lending & Insurance Solutions, Ty Harrison leads teams of lending and insurance professionals that are dedicated to delivering value-added programs, services and technology tailored to address the needs of lenders, loan servicers, portfolio managers, mortgage brokers, insurance agents and insurance brokers.

You may also like:

Insurance Real Estate

2023 Economic Outlook and Tips for Real Estate Investors

Since 2020, real estate investors have weathered a global pandemic, a housing boom, increasing outbound migration from c...

Insurance Real Estate

Real Estate Investors Face Rising Insurance Costs in 2023

With inflation reaching its highest point in 40 years and subsequent steep interest rate hikes, the real estate investme...

Insurance

[VIDEO] Navigating a Hard Insurance Market

Since the pandemic hit in 2020, we’ve seen the industry shift out of the longest soft market in decades into a hard mark...

Let Us Know What You Thought about this Post.

Put your Comment Below.

Blog-CTA-Icon_Webinar-Video

FREE Webinar

SWBC Business Matters: 2023 Property Tax Outlook

Join our experts as they discuss the state of property taxes in 2023 and beyond. 

Monday, February 6 | 11:30 AM CST

Reserve Your Seat