A Snowplow Caused Damage to My Property—Who’s Responsible?

With more snow bound to arrive in New England this winter, snowplow drivers are busier than ever tackling the messy winter weather. Snowplow drivers must handle large machinery in extreme winter weather conditions that it can result in accidents. Sometimes these accidents can cause minor or severe damage to personal property. There are many ways to ensure that your property is not on the receiving end of a snowplow accident, but it’s also important to discuss who would be responsible for the damage done to your property. 

What Kind of Damage Can Snowplows Cause?

Due to their massive size and power, there are many different ways a snowplow could damage your property.

  • Edges of Property: The edges of your property are the most vulnerable to snowplow damages. Plows can dig into the ground, causing sections of the lawn to be lifted up or be removed entirely.
  • Sprinklers: In ground sprinklers are usually placed along the edges of the lawn leaving them open to being hit by snowplows, rendering them useless.
  • Mailboxes: According to The Boston Globe, the town of Reading, Massachusetts replaced 24 mailboxes last year due to snowplow damage. Snowplows can end up hitting mailboxes at the end of the driveway because they can’t see them, causing them to knock down or destroy completely.
  • Cars: Cars parked on the street are at risk of getting hit by a snowplow, especially in cities where street parking is common.

Preventing Snowplow Damage to Your Property

There are several ways to prevent different kinds of damages to your property from snowplows.

  • Mark Edges of Lawn: Make it easier for snowplow drivers to see the edge of your lawn by putting brightly colored wooden stakes along the edges. Drivers are less likely to plow over your lawn if the edges are clearly marked.
  • Mark Irrigation Sprinkler Heads: While you are marking the edges of your territory, add in some wooden stakes near your sprinkler heads as well for extra protection against snowplow damage.
  • Relocate the Mailbox: Make sure your mailbox is not too close to the road. According to the United States Postal Service, the end of a mailbox must be placed 6”-8” back from the curb.
  • Relocate Cars: Park your car in an appropriate area when it snows so snowplow drivers can clear up as much of the road as possible without damaging your car.

Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Snowplow Damage?

Most homeowner’s insurance will cover the damage caused by snowplows as long as the items on your property were not placed in the wrong area. For example, a mailbox placed too close to the street may not be covered by your insurance because it was in violation of state Right of Way laws.

While you can file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance, your insurance company may suggest to first contact the local Highway District office to let them handle the situation. Most cities and towns have laws, ordinances, and insurance policies to cover any damages; or they will specifically state they do not cover snowplow damages. For more information on snow and ice laws in Massachusetts visit Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Damage to your property caused by a snowplow can be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy and in some cases, your city or town’s policy. However, it is best to take preventative measures to ensure there won’t be damage to your property. If you’re still unsure if your homeowner’s insurance policy would provide coverage from snowplow damage, contact the experts at TJ Woods Insurance today.