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After the Storm: Some Helpful Insurance Hints

Among the III's Tips: file a claim immediately if you have yet to do so.

Our first reaction to the damage wrought by last weekend's unprecedented pre-Halloween Nor'easter was probably something we cannot print here.

For most of us, the next thought was along the lines of: What do I do now?

Thankfully, the Insurance Information Institute has provided a course of action to help those among us beginning the road to recovery from this past weekend.

Among the biggest things for those who have not done so already: contact your insurance agent or company and file a claim immediately.

“Let your agent know the extent of the damage to your property and start to document your loss with lists, receipts or photographs,” III Vice President Michael Barry said on the Institute's website. If you have a home inventory, now would also be a good time to access it.”

The III also provided information for both auto and homeowners insurance policies. Among them:

Auto Insurance

  • Car crashes between two or more drivers caused by snowy and slippery roads are covered by standard auto insurance. A car that crashes into an object would generally be covered under the optional collision portion of an auto policy.
  • Physical damage to a car caused by heavy wind, flooding or fallen ice or tree limbs is covered under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto policy.

Homeowners Insurance

  • Wind-related damage to a house, its roof, its contents and other insured structures on the property is covered under standard homeowners insurance policies. Wind-driven snow or freezing rain that gets into the home because it was damaged by wind is also covered.
  • Tree limbs that fall on a house or other insured structure on the property would be covered for both the damage the trees inflicts on the house and the cost of removing the tree. Damage caused by ice or other objects falling on the home is also covered.
  • Damage to the house and its contents caused by weight of snow or ice that creates a collapse is covered under standard homeowners insurance policies.
  • Freezing conditions such as burst pipes or ice dams, a condition where water is unable to drain properly through the gutters and seeps into a house causing damage to ceilings and walls, is covered. However, there is generally a requirement that the homeowner has taken reasonable steps to prevent these losses by keeping the house warm and properly maintaining the pipes and drains.
  • Melting snow that seeps into a home from the ground up would be covered by flood insurance, which is provided by the National Flood Insurance Program, and a few private insurers. Flood insurance is available to both homeowners and renters. Flood damage is not covered by standard homeowners or renters insurance policies.
  • Standard homeowners policies also include additional living expenses (ALE) in the event that a policyholder’s home is severely damaged by an insured disaster. ALE pays for reasonable expenses incurred by a policyholder when living elsewhere while their home is being fixed.

Have you already filed an insurance claim? If you have any helpful hints for neighbors and fellow Patch readers, please share them in the comments below.

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