Is It Covered? Advice On Filing A Claim

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After the storm… what’s next?

Torn-up siding, damaged roofs and carports, damaged vehicles and problems related to lack of power may have you turning to your insurance provider.

AAA Mid-Atlantic has some advice:

-Know that different types of damage may affect your claim, such as whether a tree, the wind or the wind-driven rain caused the damage.

-Some damage may only be covered by flood insurance, which is available from the National Flood Insurance Program.

-Make a temporary fix to prevent further damage, but save any receipts for minor repairs to present to the adjuster later.

-Call your provider as soon as you can.

-Also, take photos of any damage caused by the storm to your home or vehicle.

The office of Delaware Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro issued this guidance:

n advance of storms, residents are urged to locate important documents, including homeowners and auto insurance policies and company contact information, as well as a complete a home inventory. If your property is damaged by Tropical Storm Isaias, contact your insurer before you clean up or make repairs, and photograph all damage. After speaking with your insurer and photographing damage, take action to prevent further damage by covering broken windows, damaged walls, or leaking roofs, but do not make permanent repairs. Your insurance company should inspect the property and estimate the cost of permanent repairs. Save all receipts and documentation, including those related to temporary repairs.

Hurricane season lasts well into the fall, and residents should make plans and take precautions now to reduce future risks, including exploring flood insurance. More than 20 percent of flood insurance claims are for properties outside of high-risk areas. Flood insurance policies typically take 30 days to go into effect. For more information about FEMA’s flood insurance program and to find an agent in your area, visit FloodSmart.gov or call 1-800-427-4661.

Here is more from AAA Mid-Atlantic:

AAA Tips on Home Insurance Coverage

  • If your tree falls on your house, your insurance will cover removal of the tree and home repairs due to damage.
  • If your tree falls on your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s homeowner’s policy would provide insurance coverage.  The same holds true if your neighbor’s tree falls on your home; you would file a claim with your own insurance company.
  • If a tree falls in your yard, but doesn’t hit anything, you would pay for its removal in most cases.
  • Additionally, if a tree on your property is weak, damaged, or decayed, but you do nothing about it, and it crashes down on a neighbor’s home (or vehicle), you could be held liable for damages. 
  • Wind-related damage to a house, its roof, its contents and other insured structures on the property is covered under standard homeowner’s insurance policies. Wind-driven rain that causes an opening in the roof or wall and enters through this opening is also covered.
  • Wind-driven rain that causes an opening in the roof or wall and enters through this opening is covered under standard homeowner’s insurance policies.
  • Water that seeps into a home from the ground up is considered flooding and 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.
  • Homeowners policies also include additional living expenses—in the event a home is severely damaged by an insured disaster, this would pay for reasonable expenses incurred by living elsewhere while the home is being fixed or rebuilt.

AAA Tips on Homeowners Insurance Claims:

  • Take appropriate immediate and temporary measures to prevent further damage. If you do make minor repairs before an insurance adjuster arrives, save receipts to submit for reimbursement.
  • Phone your insurance agent or company immediately. Be prepared with a list of questions ahead of time: Am I covered? Does my claim exceed my deductible? How long will it take to process my claim? Will I need to obtain estimates for repairs to structural damage?
  • If your home is damaged to the extent you cannot live there, find out if you have coverage for additional living expenses for accommodations while repairs are completed. If you do stay at a hotel, keep your receipts for reimbursement.
  • Schedule a time for an adjuster to inspect the damage to your property.
  • Prepare a list of lost or damaged articles. Avoid throwing out damaged items until the adjuster has visited. Consider photographing or videotaping the damage.
  • Get claim forms. Insurance companies will send required claim forms by a specified time period. Be sure to completely fill out the form and return promptly to avoid delays.

AAA Tips on Auto Insurance Coverage:

  • Physical damage to a car caused by heavy wind, flooding, or fallen tree limbs is covered under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto policy.
  • Comprehensive coverage (optional) covers the vehicle from damage that from anything OTHER THAN another vehicle – like physical damage from fallen trees or high wind
  • Liability only (no comprehensive or collision coverage) means you are liable for damage to your vehicle (even floods)
  • Car owners should contact their insurance company to determine the extent of coverage before seeking repairs.

AAA Tips on Auto Insurance Claims:

  • Take photographs of any visible damage.
  • Any vehicle sustaining flood damage should be fully inspected before being allowed back on the road. Mechanical components, computer systems, engine, transmission, axles, brake system and fuel system impacted by water contamination may render the vehicle unfit to drive and in many cases vehicles sustaining significant water damage will be determined to be a total loss.