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Transcript Of Online Chat About Winter Storms And Making Claims

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Fox CT held a Morning News chat with Rich Toce of Bearingstar Insurance. With insurance claims skyrocketing amid the recent winter storms, Rich took questions on what kinds of insurance you should have, how to file a claim, and issues that may affect homeowners once the snow thaws.

Here is the chat text:

Rich Toce: Good Morning this is Rich Toce and I am available to take questions regarding your homeowners coverage. 

8:32 Rich Toce: Most companies in the state are only paying to remove snow and ice from your roof if you are reporting a claim for damages. They are removing the snow to prevent further damage from happening. 

8:34 Rich Toce: Each event is usually considered a separate claim. With the recent ice damning losses some companies will remove the snow and ice and hold off on completing the interior repairs until the conditions improve.

8:39 Rich Toce: Generally speaking the condo association policy would cover the damage to the structure, and your homeowners policy would cover the damage or loss of your personal property.

8:41 Rich Toce: Ray, Removal of snow and ice is your responsibility and the insurance companies are only providing assistance if you already have water coming into your home. 

8:43 Rich Toce: Most homeowners policies cover your dwelling for all risks related to water damage. Ice damns are generally covered.
Rich Toce: Ceiling damage (sheetrock, crown molding, etc..) is covered. The issue with ice damns is that it usually does not cause damage to the exterior roof. Water seeps in under the shingles and when the ice is gone the shingles settle back down.

8:45 [Comment From GuestGuest: ] 1- Will homeowners insurance cover my collapsed aluminum shed ?

8:47 Rich Toce: Your policy should cover the shed up to your policy limit for "Other Structures". It is listed as coverage B on your declaration page.

8:47 [Comment From CarolCarol: ] Will basement flooding be covered as a result of thawing snow in the spring?

8:48 Rich Toce: Great question! Flooding is not generally covered under the homeowners policy and we expecting widespread flooding with all of the melt in the spring. Flood policies can be purchased, but you must live in a declared flood zone.

8:49 [Comment From chercher: ]8:44 Lastly, my parents have water coming in through their windows from the build up in the gutters. Should they contact their company? Nothing has been visibly damaged, but I worry about the damage to the interiro /insulation in walls, etc.

8:51 [Comment From GuestGuest: ] Hi Rich, so to be melt that causes water to enter a basement of a house that's not in a flood zone and therefore is not eligible for flood insurance will not be covered by a typical homeowner's policy?

8:51 Rich Toce: That is correct!

8:51 [Comment From MichelleMichelle: ] Because I had my roof shoveled off, I now have 6ft mounds of snow surrounding my house. If I have basement flooding when these mounds melt will my homeowners insurance cover the damage ?

8:52 Rich Toce: i have the exact same thing going on at my house. I can not keep up with the snow that I have pulled off my roof. Flooding and damage from ground and surface water is not covered.

8:53 [Comment From GuestGuest: ] So what are options for a concerned homeowner right now with respect to financially protecting the basement via insurance? Thanks!

8:55 Rich Toce: I would recommend getting all of personal property to higher ground. There are sump pump endorsements that can be purchased, but the coverage is usually limited to $5,000 or $7,000 and you need to have a sump pump in most cases to be eligible to purchase the coverage.

8:56 [Comment From GuestGuest: ] Hi, I was wondering with all the storms coming through connecticut, if you could tell me if roofing tiles are covered on most insurance policies. I have been noticing some of my tiles in my front yard, and they appear to be coming off the roof under windy conditions.

8:58 Rich Toce: Your roofing tiles are covered if the are damaged by wind or hail and other perils. Insurance companies have the option of repairing or replacing your roof. If you have only lost a few shingles, the claim could be under your deductible. If you have extensive damage or if the shingles can not be matched then the entire roof may need to be replaced. 

8:59 [Comment From chercher: ] Good morning, Rich. I have homeowners insurance, but am curious about what the typical insurance covers. Are "Acts of God" exempt?

9:01 Rich Toce: The typical homeowners policy covers your dwelling for all risks with the exception of a handful of specific exclusions. Falling trees, fire, lightning strikes are all covered. Falling trees are only an issue when they fall on a neighbors property because normally you can not be held liable for a healthy tree falling.

9:07 [Comment From GuestGuest: ] Thanks the answer is little to nothing...I guess having an unfinished basement now is a better thing!

9:08 Rich Toce: Yes, I also have an unfinished basement and I am anticipating that I will have water coming in this spring.

9:08 [Comment From DonnaDonna: ] I'm confused. If you have a bucket in your living room because water is dripping from the ceiling, what should you do and what is covered?

9:10 Rich Toce: The first you want to do is hire someone to rake the snow off your roof. The problem is that we expect the damage to get worse and it really does not make sense to repair the interior damage now. The damage will be covered, but I would wait until the spring to have the repairs completed.

9:11 [Comment From AlbertAlbert: ] I was told yesterday by several remediation companies that some insurance companies are slowly moving towards considering this (weather) mess one single event, as they are not adequately protecting the homeowner by considering each new snowfall a new claim event. Any truth to that?

9:15 Rich Toce: The company I work for and many others are going to handle the ice damn claims as one event because the damage is only going to get worse. Do what you can to remove the snow and ice in the areas where the water is coming in and wait until spring to get the repairs completed. Please hire a professional to clear your roof to avoid injuries!!!

9:18 Rich Toce: I am signing off now, but I would be happy to answer questions at a later time. I can be reached via email at: or


You usually can't chip away an ice dam, and working on the roof is a dangerous matter in the best conditions. 'Hire a professional' is right!

You spelled "ice dam" as "ice damn"

WTF? Proofread please.

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Matthew Sturdevant is the insurance reporter at The Hartford Courant. He grew up in East Aurora, N.Y., a small village near Buffalo. He started his journalism career in 1999 ... read more

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