Prevent water damage caused by melting snow



​​SEATTLE – With a quick thaw in the forecast following this week’s highly anticipated snowfall, Western Washington residents may be facing the risk of flooding and water damage from thick slush and quickly melting snow and ice. 

“Although this storm was relatively mild compared to years past, homeowners can take simple steps to avoid water damage and expensive repairs,” said Seattle-based PEMCO Insurance spokesperson Jon Osterberg.

PEMCO offers these reminders:

  • Remove large accumulations of snow from areas where it could melt and enter your home.  Shovel snow away from the perimeter of your home.  Also consider clearing decks, patios, and driveways that slope toward the house. 

  • Clean snow and debris from ground drains and gutters. Make sure drains near your home, typically around the driveway, as well as gutters are unblocked.  Ice and compact snow can create dams that keep water from draining.  

  • Consider where snow will go when it melts. The combination of melting snow plus rain can create extreme runoff conditions.  When shoveling snow on your property, think about which direction it will drain when it melts.  You may want to dig channels to divert water to the nearest drain.

  • Do not get on a ladder and do not attempt to climb onto your roof to remove snow. If you see the snow melting and dropping off the edge of your roof, that’s a good sign.  It indicates ice dams are probably not developing.   In extreme circumstances, if ice dams need to be removed from your gutters, call a professional specializing in this service. 

"You also should know what’s covered by your insurance policy. Not all household water damage is treated alike – freezing pipes may be assessed differently than seeping snow.  Check your policy or call your local agent to determine what’s covered. At the first sign of dampness inside your home, call immediately for professional help before long-term damage sets in," Osterberg said.


About PEMCO Insurance
PEMCO Insurance, established in 1949, is a Seattle-based provider of auto, home, boat, life, and umbrella insurance to Northwest residents. PEMCO Insurance is sold by community agents throughout the region and through PEMCO offices. For more information, visit