Shoveling snow: Do I have to?

Tuesday, January 1, 2019by  PEMCO Insurance

homeowner shoveling snow.Customer question

Am I obligated to clear snow off my walkway and sidewalk?

We're unaware of any local ordinances requiring homeowners to remove snow on their own property (homeowners associations, however, may have their own rules).

When it comes to sidewalks, though, the answer can vary city-by-city. For examples, scroll to the bottom of this list to see requirements for Washington cities including Seattle, Everett and Yakima; here's a similar list for Oregon. Check your city's website if you're unsure what's required where you live.

Our best advice: Do what is neighborly, reasonable and safely within your physical capabilities. Take care that your well-intended efforts don't result in a greater  hazard (for example, clearing fresh snow from a steep, icy walkway might encourage people – who otherwise would stay off – to use it). If, sadly, someone is hurt on your property, remember that your PEMCO policy offers liability coverage, including legal defense. 

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