A major winter storm barreled up the East coast over the weekend, blanketing states from the mid-Atlantic to New England bringing record snowfalls to some regions. According to reports, the storm caused widespread power outages, treacherous driving conditions, and was blamed for at least six deaths. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s easy to forget that winter storms can pack a powerful punch, for insurers in particular. According to Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) research winter storms result in about $1 billion in insured losses annually and are the third largest cause of catastrophe losses, behind hurricanes and tropical storms and tornadoes. Melting snow can inflict significant damage to property. From 1999-2008, winter storms resulted in more than $7 billion in insured losses. Winter storms also account for a large proportion of homeowners claims each year. In 2007, water damage and freezing accounted for approximately 22 percent of all homeowners claims in the country. So what are the coverage issues for policyholders? Standard homeowners policies cover property damages caused by burst pipes, ice dams, wind and hail and damages from weight of ice or snow. However, property damage caused by flooding (water that comes into the home from the ground up) is typically covered by a separate flood insurance policy. Check out I.I.I. info on flood insurance.