When winters’ storms leave a path of damage, destruction and power outages it is important to know what to do if your home is damaged or if you are involved in a weather related auto accident.
When there is weather damage to your home...
-First and far most contact your insurance company or agent. Have your policy
-Be sure to corporate with your insurer. This means making your property
available for inspection as your insurer will likely want to inspect the
-Be sure to take photos and/or video of the damage.
-Always mitigate your damages. This means go ahead and repair damages to
prevent further damage. For example: You sustain damage to your roof.
You’ll want to put a tarp on the roof to prevent the interior from being
damaged. Your insurer will reimburse you for these temporary repairs. This
reimbursement is separate from your homeowner’s deductible. Please note you
should never initiate permanent repairs without prior approval from your
-Retain all receipts for temporary repairs and supplies.
-Inquire with your agent about additional living expense (ALE) coverage. This
coverage is extended when your home is uninhabitable. If you have this
coverage, be sure to retain receipts.
What kind of homeowner’s damage is covered?
Damages or perils covered include, in the most basic homeowners policy, wind, wind-driven rain, falling objects like trees, collapse due to the weight of ice/snow. Frozen pipes as a result of extreme cold may not be covered if the resulting damage is due to negligence. Negligence includes failing to maintain an adequate temperature in the house.
What kind of homeowner’s damage is NOT covered?
Typically interior water damage from rain/storm is not covered unless there is damage to the exterior. For example: You leave your window open, it rains, and wind-driven rain causes interior damage. In this scenario there would be no coverage. However, if the wind-driven rain broke the window and rain damaged the interior—then there would be coverage. There is no coverage for flood damage (this is an exclusion and a separate flood policy would need to be purchased). The removal of fallen trees when there is no resulting damage (in other words the trees would have to fall on and damage your house, not just fall in the yard). Also, water damage from the back-up of sewer and drain is not covered unless you have a specific back-up sewer and drain endorsement (this requires an additional premium and you must ask for this endorsement).
When you are in an auto accident, do the following...
-Before you call or notify your insurance company/agent call the police.
-Be sure to get names, addresses, telephone numbers and driver’s license
numbers for each person involved in accident, including any witnesses.
-Be sure to note the time, date, location, road conditions, make and model of
vehicles involved (including the vehicle year) and general description. Also
determine vehicle damages and personal injuries, if any. If you have a
camera phone it might be a good idea to take photos of damages, intersection,
-Create a log to record when you speak with insurance company representatives,
agents, lawyers, police or witnesses. Be prepared to record dates, times,
names, and discussions.
-Inquire about coverage for a rental vehicle if your car is not drivable.
The key is to always be prepared and know your policy--what is covered and what is not covered as well as what you should do in an auto accident.