How Do I Prevent Ice Dams on My Roof?

Homeowners in Minnesota, or anywhere with significant snow, have to deal with the maintenance that comes with winter weather. This work includes trying to prevent ice dams from forming. While the kids may squeal at the arrival of snowy days, adults aren’t always so thrilled.

With the snow and ice come the many tasks and chores to keep everything working smoothly. There is shoveling, de-icing, cleaning off cars and windshields, and ensuring your house is safe. Guarding your home includes preventing ice dams on your roof. They can be an unfortunate fact of life when you live in a winter wonderland.

At Lake Region Insurance Agency, we have your back and your roof. We want to ensure your house has coverage for our Minnesota winters. Contact us today to find out more about homeowners insurance for your property.

What Are Ice Dams?

An ice dam works a lot like a beaver dam…but colder. It is a build-up of ice at the edge of a roof that creates a pool of water.

Ice dams can create tremendous damage to your roof and home when left untreated, so homeowners in cold climates must remain vigilant.

These blockages form when accumulated snow warms up at the top of the roof due to heat from the attic. The snowmelt flows down the roof and refreezes when it gets to the colder spots of the roof, forming the dam.

As more and more snow falls and melts, the ice dam grows, pooling more water on your roof. It also gets quite heavy.

Why Are Ice Dams Dangerous?

The description of an ice dam makes it sound rather benign. In actuality, these blockages pose a significant threat to your home and its occupants.

Ice dams can become a physical hazard for your family. This massive collection of ice could come loose and fall, hurting someone underneath or damaging property. Ice dams can weigh hundreds of pounds, so they are not something you want landing on you.

Your roof and home also are at considerable risk as ice dams build. Water backs up behind the blockade and can back up under your shingles. This water accumulation causes damage to your roof, allowing more water to drain into your house, causing huge problems for you as the homeowner.

The weight of the ice dams also can compromise the integrity of your roof. The eaves of your roof do not have the strength to withstand that much sustained pressure.

How Do I Prevent Ice Dams?

Since it is clear how dangerous ice dams can be, homeowners wonder how to prevent them. Avoiding these blockages could save you thousands and thousands of dollars in damage. Thankfully, there are some ways to prevent  ice dams from forming in the first place.

If your home has proper ventilation in the attic, ice dams are less likely to form. When the cold air from outside the house can circulate through the attic, the temperature of the roof remains below freezing during cold weather. This low temperature prohibits the snow from melting and forming ice dams.

To improve ventilation in your attic, ensure air can continuously flow under the entire roof, from the soffit to the peak. There will need to be a channel or open layer of a couple of inches between the insulation and exterior. You do not want insulation blocking the airflow.

Insulating and Sealing

Another method to prevent ice dams from forming is to utilize proper insulation in your attic and ceiling. If your home has an attic, make sure the ceiling has enough insulation. If you don’t have an attic, completely insulate the rafters.

Adequate insulation will keep the warm temperatures in your home and the cold temperatures outside. Your roof will remain below freezing, preventing ice dams from forming. And as a bonus, you will save money on your heating bills.

Another critical step is to ensure that you seal all gaps and airways between your living spaces and the attic. Check all areas around plumbing, wiring, and chimneys to make sure no warm air is escaping into your attic.

Elbow Grease
You may also prevent ice dams by using some good old-fashioned elbow grease. Pay attention to your roof once the snow starts falling so that you can remove small blockages before they grow. Some homeowners invest in a good roof rake with a long handle to tackle the snow as it’s building up.

Typically, you can work from the ground to remove snow from the lowest four feet of your roof. Carefully scraping off the accumulation should prevent ice dams from forming. Check with your roofer on the best way to use the rake without damaging any shingles.

What Do I Do Once an Ice Dam Forms?

Although there is a lot you can do to avoid these blockades, preventative measures do not guarantee ice dams won’t form. Sometimes storms make it difficult or unsafe to remove snow build-up, and suddenly you are facing an ice dam.

If you see one forming, you can do a few things yourself at home. If the dam isn’t too large, try sprinkling calcium chloride or another de-icer on it to help it shrink.

Some homeowners choose to chip away at the ice carefully. You should never climb onto your roof to do this, however. Reach what you can with a ladder, and keep in mind that you don’t have to remove the entire blockage. Instead, focus on creating a channel for melted snow to flow through. You will need to repeat this method several times for it to be effective.

When in doubt, call a professional. Frequently, ice dams grow to the point that it is not practical or safe for you to handle it on your own.

We Can Help Protect Your Home

For all homeowners insurance needs, Lake Region Insurance Agency is your go-to team. Reach out today to find out how we can protect you with homeowners, auto, life, and health insurance.


Got a Speeding Ticket. What Happens to my Auto Insurance Now?

The flashing lights. The siren behind you. That anxious feeling in the pit of your stomach. You know you were speeding, and unfortunately, you got caught this time. As the police officer walks away from your car, you get that sinking feeling of anxiety. You think to yourself, “What will happen to my auto insurance now?”

No matter what the situation, people dread getting speeding tickets. Between the hassle of taking time to deal with it and the financial cost, speeding tickets are a huge burden.

At Lake Region Insurance Agency, we know you have questions about insurance. We offer our customers everything from auto to life insurance and can help with all those decisions. We’re happy to serve our New London, Willmar, and Cokato, MN neighbors.

Does a Ticket Increase Auto Insurance?

The short answer: probably. Speeding tickets become part of your driving record, just like parking violations and accidents.

Sometimes, you won’t see an increase with your first ticket. If you are generally a safe and responsible driver with minimal violations, your auto insurance rates may not go up much, if at all.

But being an overall safe driver doesn’t guarantee that a speeding ticket will go unnoticed.

Why Does Your Auto Insurance Increase?

No matter the type of insurance, your rate comes from the risk an insurance company takes in protecting you. If you are statistically a low-risk individual, that means the insurance company is not likely to have to pay out a large sum on your behalf.

So your auto insurance rates will remain low when you fit into the safe driver category. If the algorithms show that you are unlikely to get in an accident or need to make a claim, you get a lower price.

Your auto insurance company bases this risk on your prior driving behavior. Do you have several moving violations? Or have you had a few close together? The more tickets or accidents that you have on your record, the higher your premium will go.

Speeding is one of the most common causes of traffic tickets. It is also a reliable indicator that you will be the at-fault party in a traffic accident. Therefore, speeding tickets increase your car insurance.

Your auto insurance company will examine your driving history when you initially apply for coverage. They also periodically check your record as long as you have insurance with them. Traffic violations will likely increase your premium. And too many tickets could mean they drop your policy completely.

Factors that Affect this Increase

Getting a speeding ticket alone doesn’t result in a one-size-fits-all increase. Most insurance agencies have their criteria to determine how much, if any, the premium will increase.

Amount Over Limit
Some insurance companies will not increase your premiums unless you receive a ticket for going at least 15 miles per hour over the speed limit. This is not a guarantee, by any means, but a general rule of thumb for many underwriters.

Furthermore, different states have different regulations. Most states utilize a point system in which you receive points for various violations. The speed you were going can impact the number of points you receive.

There are ways to estimate your increase. This traffic ticket calculator reveals that speeding between 15 and 29 miles per hour will increase your insurance by an average of 12%.

Number of Violations
As previously mentioned, your first offense might not necessarily result in a premium increase. However, each additional ticket will likely incur a steeper punishment.

If your state utilizes the point system, the punishment gets worse, the more points you accumulate. This increased penalty certainly happens when someone receives multiple tickets in a short time since points generally drop from your record after a certain number of months.

How to Lessen the Increase

There are ways to keep your insurance premium low. Obviously, the most important thing is to be a safe driver. When you stay focused on the road, stay free from distractions, and drive within the speed limit, your rate should hold pretty steady.

If you do receive an increase, consider changing your coverage. Varying plans offer different levels of coverage with distinct premiums. Analyze how much coverage you need by speaking with your agent.

As a bonus, a safe driving or defensive driving course will often result in a lower premium. Did you know you can take a safe driving course even if you haven’t gotten a speeding ticket?

What to Do if You Get a Speeding Ticket?

Very few people will go their entire driving life without receiving a traffic citation. So, when you do find a ticket in your hand, there are a few things you could or should do.

Deal with the Ticket
Most of the time, you have three options:

  1. Pay the ticket.
  2. Contest the ticket.
  3. Seek mitigation.

If you pay the ticket as is, you admit your fault, pay the fine, and move on. Contesting the ticket involves going to court and trying to prove that you were not speeding. This rarely works. Mitigation means that you explain the circumstances and see if the court will offer a lower fine. For first-time offenders or those who haven’t had a ticket in years, this often works well.

Slow Down
Get your driving habits back under control. Receiving an additional ticket almost guarantees that your auto insurance premiums will go up.

Give yourself time to get where you’re going. Put your phone down and away from you, so you aren’t tempted to use it while driving and stay focused on the road.

Take a Defensive Driving Course
Sometimes courts allow mitigation of a ticket if you complete a defensive driving class. And many states will allow you to drop your citation from your record when you complete the course. There is usually a timeline, though, so finish the class as soon as you can so you don’t miss out on this opportunity.

Check Out Lake Region Insurance Agency

Whether you just got a speeding ticket, or you just want to check rates, give Lake Region Insurance Agency a call. Our team will work with you to make sure you have the coverage you need.