In a year of heavy snow insurance claims emerge

A s the snow piled up on local roofs and again when that snow let loose from the tops of many area buildings around Granville, insurance agents got involved as claims were made for residential and motor vehicle damage.

Tom Nelson of CH Nelson Agency Inc. on Main Street said he was surprised the claims have not been more frequent or in larger volume during such a severe winter.

“We’ve been surprised that we’ve not had many. We kind of expected that the weather might be leaking in so I’m not sure if people are waiting, or the damage is just under their deductible, but in prior years we’ve had an awful lot more claims,” Nelson said.

John Hoagland of M. Shaw Insurance on Main Street and Skene Valley Agency in Whitehall said just the opposite has been true at his office.

“Oh yes, absolutely we’ve seen a large uptick(in claims),” Hoagland said.

Between outbuildings overloaded with snow, water damage and vehicles in the wrong place at the wrong time, Hoagland said the winter has proved to be a busy one for his company.

“I’ve seen a lot of roof and lot of water problems. The ice freezes and forms a dam and then the water that runs the next time it melts, finds pinholes and gets inside. It caused a lot of ceiling damage and damage to the property inside – it was a fairly substantial increase over last year,” Hoagland said.

Asked for advice, Hoagland said doing something about ice dams before they reach the proportions seen this year is helpful. “Get up and deal with the ice that solves all of the problems and allows that water to roll off,” Hoagland said. Shoveling off the roofs of those unheated outbuildings should help prevent some of the damage reported as well as carefully parking when the weather warms up are just a few things people can do to stay out of their insurance agent’s office.

Nelson, however, is hoping his current trend continues. 

“There have been very few; the winter isn’t over, but I’m glad I’m not able to report a lot of damage,” Nelson said. 

Recently Nelson said he’s seen more claims coming in from motorists who’ve been in fender benders because of the large snowbanks on many street corners than any other winter-related claims.

Occasionally motorists can’t see when another vehicle is coming; they pull out and get clipped, he said.

“And not very much from that,” he added.

Nelson said his own building was struck by ice from another nearby building. Although it sounded quite dramatic, he said the building sustained little damage.

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