A heavy snowstorm or blizzard that can produce several inches of accumulating snow quickly can be trouble for your home. It is important to plan ahead of a winter storm to avoid serious damage.

The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) offers the following tips to preparing your home for winter weather.

Power outages:

  • Provide for an alternative heating source such as a generator.
  • Have an Emergency Preparedness Kit with three days of food, water, prescription medication, and other supplies ready.

Stay safe and warm:

  • Inspect your heat source for damage which could cause a fire.
  • Remove any combustible items placed near a heat source.

Prevent frozen pipes:

  • Install insulation in the attic.
  • Ensure that all doors and windows have proper seals.
  • Seal all cracks and openings in exterior walls.

Prevent roof collapse:

To avoid a possible roof collapse under heavy snow, it is important to know how to estimate the weight of the snow and ice on the roof and when to remove it. The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) offers general guidelines to help estimate the weight of snow:

  • Fresh snow: 10-12 inches of new snow is equal to one inch of water, or about 5 pounds per square foot of roof space. Therefore, you could have up to 4 feet of new snow before you need to worry.
  • Packed snow: 3-5 inches of old snow is equal to one inch of water or about 5 pounds per square foot of roof space. Therefore, anything more than 2 feet of old snow could be dangerous.
  • The total accumulated weight of 2 feet of old snow and 2 feet of new snow could be as high as 60 pounds per square foot of roof space, which is getting toward the design limits of even the best-designed roof.
  • If there’s ice, it’s much heavier, which 1-inch equals about a foot of fresh snow.

Visit IBHS to learn more about protecting your home from severe weather.

Policyholders at Utica National can get more risk management information at the Customer Care center. 


NOTICE: This information is provided solely as an insurance risk management tool.  It is provided with the understanding that the member insurance companies of the Utica National Insurance Group are not providing legal advice, risk management advice, or any other professional services or advice. Utica National shall have no liability to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damages alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the use of this information. You are encouraged to consult an attorney or other professional for advice on these issues.