Bozeman Ice Dam Claims

Bozeman Ice Dam Claims Insurance Assistance

Winter in southwest Montana often brings with it plenty of snow to the enjoyment of most outdoor enthusiasts, but it also presents challenges for homeowners with ice dam claims.  One of the most common issues associated with the significant amount of snow accumulation in places like Bozeman Montana are ice dams.  These ice formations can impact roofs, gutters, and interiors, causing substantial damage if not addressed promptly.  As winter sets in it is important to understand how ice dams form, how to identify them, and the common damages they cause. Additionally, strategies to prevent and mitigate their impact.  Our Bozeman public adjusters are well versed in recovering ice dam insurance claims when damage arises.

A home’s snow accumulation, subfreezing temperatures, and heat loss all combine to cause ice dams of varying severity.  Rooftop snow accumulation occurs as winter wears on, serving as the fuel source for ice dams to form.  The snowpack on the higher parts of the roof melt when the inside heat rises and warms the roof. The eaves are colder than the rest of the slope because of overhangs and only has indirect exposure to interior heat. The melted water flows down the slope, reaching the eave where a layer of ice is created here when the water refreezes.

The ice layer at the eaves thickens with each melting and refreezing cycle, forming a dam that prevents the flow of melted water.  After that, the water that was trapped behind the dam rises again, seeping through the shingles and into the inner workings of the roof, and in some cases to the interior of the building. Ice Dams can occur on flat and metal roofs as well.

Below is a visual representation from the National Weather Service’s page on ice dams.


Ice Dam Claims public adjusterCommon Damage Caused by Ice Dams

Roof Damage Caused by Ice Damage

Integrity of a roof can be degraded by shingles being lifted and damaged by the weight and pressure of ice dams.  If this damage is not repaired, it may result in leaks and more serious structural problems.  Water that builds up behind ice dams may seep into the roof structure, jeopardizing the decking, shingles, and structural components. On metal roofs, ice dams attack the eaves, laps and seams in the form of “ice-jacking.”  The term “ice jacking” describes a phenomenon in which expanding ice presses against buildings or other objects, causing lifting, displacement, or damage.  This can happen in a lot of different places, like frozen ground, paved surfaces, or even construction materials.  Water expands when it freezes, and if this expansion isn’t allowed to continue, it can exert a lot of force and break or disturb the material in question.

Gutter and Downspout Damage Caused by Ice Dams
Ice dams almost always extend into downspouts and gutters, clogging them.  This obstructs appropriate drainage, resulting in more propagation of the existing ice dam.  Further, the weight of ice buildup in gutters and downspouts can put strain on these components, possibly leading to their separation from the fascia or roof.

Interior Damage Caused by Ice Dams
Water seeping through the roof can leave unsightly stains on ceilings, walls, and even flooring. These stains not only diminish the aesthetic appeal of a home but also serve as visible indicators of underlying water damage. Damage presenting itself in the form of peeled paint or stains may indicate widespread damage to the interior walls and floors. Moisture infiltrating the interior due to ice dams creates an ideal environment for biological growth to flourish. Beyond the cosmetic issues, a wet environment can pose health risks for inhabitants.  Water may also reach your electrical components.  Therefore, water intrusion in your home can also pose a risk of fire hazards.

Ice Dam Prevention

Sufficient Insulation
A well-insulated attic helps to keep heat loss to a minimum, which lowers the risk of ice dam formation. Sufficient insulation keeps the temperature of the roof constant, preventing the melting of the snow layers below.

Keeping the temperature of the roof constant requires adequate attic ventilation. Warm air can escape from well-designed ventilation systems, keeping it from building up and causing localized melting.

Roof Raking
Ice dams can be avoided by routinely clearing snow from the lower portions of the roof with a roof rake. Less snow will accumulate at first, which lowers the chance of melting and refreezing.

Heat Cables
Installing heat cables along the eaves can help melt snow and prevent the formation of ice dams. These cables are an effective proactive measure, especially in areas prone to ice dam issues.

Ice Dam Remediation

Professional Removal
If ice dams have already formed, it is advisable to seek professional help for their removal.  Attempting to remove ice dams without proper equipment or knowledge can lead to further damage.  There are several contractors in Bozeman and the Gallatin Valley with the special equipment, approved by insurance carriers for removing ice dams.

Interior Damage
For interior damage, consult a reputable IICRC Water Restoration Technician (WRT) certified restoration company to ensure not only the visible damage is addressed, but all areas which came in contact with water which came in from the exterior are addressed as well.

Assistance With Your Bozeman Ice Dam Damage Claim

Property damage claims resulting from ice dams often produce more damage than what meets the eye.  Accurate documentation and representation are important when pursuing a claim resulting from an ice dam.  Carriers will attempt to downplay the amount of damage and try to interpret policy language to deny required repairs.  Bozeman, the Gallatin Valley, and greater southwest Montana have a high occurrence of ice damming, and subsequent claims resulting from damage caused by them.  Prime adjustments has the ability to review your policy, inventory the damage, work with your restoration contractor, and resolve your ice dam claim.  If you have an ice dam claim in Bozeman Montana that is being delayed or denied, give us a call for a free consultation.


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