Ward, Hayden

Prepping Your Rental Property for a Snow or Ice Storm

Ice Storm Vacation Rental

Did you know winter storm property losses in the United States average $1.2 billion per year? The U.S. experiences some of the most extreme winter weather in the world, and property owners constantly have to protect their residence from blizzards and extreme cold. Among these risks, winter weather presents some of the most significant challenges—challenges that may even lead to substantial property damage.

Winter Weather Risks for Rental Property Owners

Winter weather is unpredictable, and preparation is key. While specific, preventive action is the primary way to protect your rental from the elements, there are some additional, up-front steps to consider:

1. Evaluate your property and vulnerabilities—Every property is different and has its own set of unique risks. Inspections, when completed by a certified professional, can provide valuable insight into your property’s age, roof capacity and ability to withstand winter weather.

2. Work with a qualified insurance broker—While winter weather poses a real threat to your rental property, many of the risks can be addressed through insurance. To get a better understanding of your options, it’s important to meet with a qualified rental insurance broker. They can provide a wholesale review of your unique exposures and the policies available to you.

Depending on the size and location, winter weather risks can vary. However, there are several concerns owners must account for if they are to protect their investment from the elements. Among other things, severe winter weather can lead to things like roof collapse, ice dams and frozen pipes.

Roof Collapse

Heavy snowfall, ice and freezing rain can wreck havoc on your roof. In some cases, roofs can’t withstand the heavy loads brought on by extreme weather, causing them to collapse altogether. In addition, as snow and ice melt, water damage can occur if your roof isn’t structurally sound.

Assessing Your Roof

Even with a sloped roof, snow and ice can still build up on flat areas or around obstructions like chimneys, skylights and dormers. As a result, it’s important for owners to regularly evaluate their roof, particularly after a significant storm. Specifically, you should look for:

1. New water leaks that appear to come from the roof or attic area

2. Exterior doors that become difficult to open or close as a result of heavy loads on the roof

3. New cracks in drywall and plaster

4. Sagging roofs

If you notice any of the above issues following a storm, it’s important to take immediate action to clear loads from your roof and avoid a potential collapse.

Ice Dams

During cold winter months, a row of icicles on your eaves may be a sign that a ridge of ice is forming at the edge of the roof. This ridge, also known as an ice dam, can be the result of uneven heat loss from your property, which causes the roof to warm above freezing and melt accumulated snow. When the snow melts and then re-freezes before reaching the roof’s edge, an ice dam forms, causing water to collect behind it. This pool of water can cause extensive damage to the roof, attic, ceilings, walls and contents of your property.

Frozen Pipes

One of the messiest and most costly repairs is fixing a burst, frozen pipe. Water expands as it freezes and puts significant pressure on the metal or plastic pipes that hold it. If you fail to take the proper precautions, your pipes can easily fail during a cold winter.

Liability Concerns to Consider

Extreme winter weather not only has the potential to damage your property, but it can also create serious liability concerns. During the winter season, walkways, stairs and driveways can become slip-and-trip hazards as snow falls and ice forms. Should someone injure themselves on your property, you could be held liable for medical costs as well as any other damages, particularly if you didn’t take the appropriate precautions following adverse weather. To adequately protect yourself from such liability concerns, consider doing the following:

Shovel and de-ice. It’s very common for someone to slip on ice during the winter and injure themselves. To keep you, your guests and members of the public safe, ensure driveways, stairs and sidewalks around your property are clear of ice and snow.

Inspect your stairs. During the winter, a slip or fall on your outdoor stairs could lead to serious injuries. In addition to clearing snow and ice from your stairs, it’s important to inspect them and ensure they are in good condition and equipped with handrails.

Trim your trees. You may not realize it, but snow and ice accumulation can cause tree branches to snap and fall. When this happens, the branches can strike passersby or property below, potentially causing significant injury or property damage.

Weathering The Storm Together

While you can’t always predict when a pipe will burst or heavy snow will affect the integrity of your roof, adequate insurance can go a long way toward protecting your finances. To learn more about protecting your business from the unexpected, request a free quote today from CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance today.

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. Coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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About Us

CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services,Inc., is the largest insurer of short-term vacation rental properties in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we are the first broker to develop specific policy coverage to meet the needs for vacation rental properties and the amenities offered by these businesses. We have insured vacation rental properties since 2002.

The CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance team knows insurance, specifically the risks and exposures related to short-term vacation rentals.We won't confuse you with technical "insurance speak" ~ our representatives are well versed in explaining your coverage in plain English. With hands-on, personal customer service, we guarantee swift communication and a 24/7 claims team that is ready to respond to your call any time of the day. As specialist in the industry, we leverage our knowledge and passion to ensure you and your business are adequately protected.