Insurer: early spring snowmelt places buildings at risk

[Dagmar Gilden | 15.03]

The fluctuating temperatures and weather conditions characteristic of early spring make the snow found on rooftops both heavy and watery, which places the roof structures, façades and interior finishing of houses at serious risk.

According to Seesam’s representative, people hope for good weather and don't deem it necessary to deal with snow clean-up. However, it is the thaw, followed by the rain and sleet, which is capable of multiplying the weight of the snow load, with big loss numbers offering proof that the spring melt can end unhappily for houses.

‘Spring snow melt often penetrates through structures and in doing so damages the interior finish. In a worst case scenario, the water works its way between structures and causes significant damage to wood constructions. Seesam’s experience from previous years shows that the average damage caused to interior finishing by melt water is EUR 3000. Serious structural damage, however, exceeds EUR 20,000. In summary, a great deal depends on the winter, the quality of construction work and how the water penetrates the house. When the damage is discovered also plays an important role,' said Dagmar Gilden, Property Insurance Product Manager at Seesam, as she went over the damage caused by snowmelt.

Timely snow removal saves you from the worst

According to the insurer, heavy snowmelt poses such a great risk to private homes, summer houses and smaller outbuildings that it may end with the failure of roof constructions. Also common are situations in which snow has found its way into the attic during winter blizzards, and ends up causing water damage to the entire house as it melts. In a worst case scenario, the blanket of snow, covering old summer homes that have been abandoned for the winter and outbuildings, may end up causing a collapse.

‘Even if the quantity of snow doesn't appear to be dangerous, it is the responsibility of the homeowner or custodian to prevent the accumulation of a snow mass on the roof. In order to prevent an accident from occuring, the smartest thing to do is to remove the snow from the roof in a timely manner, either independently or with the help of a specialist. Clean-up works are definitely more affordable than liquidating damages after an accident' , said Gilden.

According to Seesam's representative, a problem is posed by rain deflectors and piping that was not cleaned out during the fall, which could cause the continuous spraying of water onto the façade during a thaw. If this melts and then refreezes with the changing temperatures, the plaster façade could begin to crumble.

It also pays to visit a summer house or country house following any significant changes in weather, to help ensure that undamaged property will be waiting for you in the spring and that you will be free to begin enjoying the pleasures of your garden without worry.

Insurance is provided by Compensa Vienna Insurance Group, ADB Estonian Branch, which operates under the Seesam trademark in Estonia. Before concluding policies, please read the terms and conditions at www.seesam.ee and consult an expert if needed.
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