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- Powerful Storms Produce Property Damage; PCI Offers Insurance Claims Tips
BOSTON — The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America is urging consumers impacted by the strong wind and rain storms that swept through New England to contact their insurance company or agent as soon as possible to get the claims process started.
“After a severe weather event, insurers respond quickly to help homeowners with insurance claims and start the recovery process,” said Frank O’Brien, vice president state government relations for PCI. “If it is safe to do so, take steps to protect your property from further damage and theft by making emergency repairs. Use plywood, tarps and other materials to cover openings in roofs, walls and windows. However, we urge homeowners to use caution when hiring a contractor and be alert for repair scams. Your insurance company or the Better Business Bureau are good places to check for references on potential contractors.”
If your property does sustain damage, take the following action:
- Report all damage to your insurance company or agent as soon as you can in order to settle your claim more quickly and accurately.
- Keep receipts for anything you buy so you can submit them to your insurance company later.
- Inventory all damaged property, take pictures of the damage and check with your insurance company before throwing away any damaged property. Identify the structural damage to your home and make a list of everything you would like to show the adjuster.
- To settle your claim more quickly and accurately, prepare as much information as possible about your damaged possessions when your insurance adjuster comes to look at your property.
- Talk with your agent about what your deductible will be for the storm damage. The deductible can be either a flat dollar amount or a percentage of the home value.
- Many standard homeowners and renters policies provide for reimbursement of additional living expenses when the property is determined to be uninhabitable due to damage. This provision helps in paying for increases to necessary living expenses such as temporary housing and restaurant meals. Additional living expense coverage does not pay for all living expenses. It covers only the increase over normal living expenses.
With the widespread power outages, falling trees and damage caused by those falling trees. Consumers should also take note of the following:
- Stay away from downed power lines, even if they do not appear to be “live.” Call the power company to report any outages.
- Generally, damage to refrigerated food caused by a power failure that originates off the residence premises would not be a covered loss.
- If your tree damages a neighbor’s property, he or she should file a claim with his or her own insurer.
- If the tree falls on your own house, damage to the house is covered. Generally, the policy covers the cost to remove the tree from the house.
- However, if the tree or branch falls and does no damage to a covered structure, generally there is no coverage for the tree or to remove the tree from the premises.
- PCI promotes and protects the viability of a competitive private insurance market for the benefit of consumers and insurers. PCI is composed of nearly 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write $216 billion in annual premium, 36 percent of the nation's property casualty insurance. Member companies write 43 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 29 percent of the homeowners market, 34 percent of the commercial property and liability market and 36 percent of the private workers compensation market.
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