If you live in a part of the country where the climate is cold, snowy and icy you may have problems with ice dams and you will need to prevent them from your damaging gutters. There are several ways to do this depending upon how much money and time you want to put into the project.
The best way to prevent ice dams from damaging gutters is to make sure there is plenty of insulation in your attic. Heat escaping through your roof will cause a freeze/thaw cycle that will allow ice to build on your roof and in your gutters. Adding attic insulation may also make you entitled to a tax credit and cut down your heating costs overall, so its a preventative with a lot of appeal. Check with your local building supply store for their recommendations on the thickness of insulation to use. This is an easy do it yourself project.
Another way to prevent iced dams from damaging your gutters is to install ice spikes on your roof. These are similar to spikes that you install to keep birds from nesting on your roof and are available at most home improvement stores or on line. You will need a ladder and basic tools to install these, and also, you shouldn't be afraid of heights.
A very budget friendly way to keep ice dams from damaging your gutters is to take a pair of nylon pantyhose and cut the legs off. Fill the legs with rock salt like the type you use on sidewalks or in your water softener. Tie a knot in the end and then put on your roof near the middle of the slope. The snow and ice will cause the salt to melt and coat the area between the panty hose and the gutter preventing ice from forming.