MINNEAPOLIS — When it comes to ice dams and flooding, your homeowner's policy doesn't always cover what you might think it does. 

Removing ice dams can cost upwards of $450 an hour, with many companies requiring two or three hours of service at a minimum. 

"Probably this morning alone we got about 50 phone calls," said Jake Geisler, owner of Ice Dam Steam Team and Outdoor Services. "My last phone call last night was (at) about 3 o'clock in the morning."

Most homeowner's policies do not cover ice dam removal, but do cover damage caused by them, even if you let them build up. 

"If your roof were to collapse or water were to leak in because of the ice dams, because of the snow, that more than likely will be covered under your homeowner's policy," said Denise Aasen, a State Farm agent. 

Here's where it gets tricky. While flooding from your roof is covered, insurance agents tell us water from ground flooding requires a separate flood insurance policy. 

"If water is coming in from the outside of the house due to a flood or underground water, that is not covered by a homeowner's policy, that is covered by the national flood insurance program," said Aasen.

Not many people have flood insurance. The Insurance Federation of Minnesota says there are only about 10,000 policies statewide. There's also a-30 day waiting period from the time you buy coverage until it kicks in. 

Meanwhile, water coming in from a backed-up sewer or drain requires an extra endorsement on your homeowner's policy. 

"Say there's some sort of backup because of, you know, the flooding in the sewers," said Aasen. "There's a very specific endorsement that you need to have on your homeowner's policy and it's called Backup of Sewer and Drain."

Back to ice dams - if you attempt to remove them on your own, Geisler has a warning: Don't use a pressure washer. He says that could damage your roof even more. 

Pressure Washer damage
Damage to a roof caused by a pressure washer.
Jake Geisler