Winter weather and insurance coverage

If you need to file an insurance claim due to winter storm damage, read some of the commonly asked questions consumers ask us, and our answers:

What damage to my home is covered?

Most standard homeowner policies cover damage from wind, wind-driven rain, falling trees and collapse due to ice or snow.

A tree fell on my home. What should I do?

Call your insurer or agent as soon as possible. Take photos or video of the damage. If it's safe, take steps - such as covering broken windows or leaking roofs - to limit further damage.

Also, don't make permanent repairs until your insurer has seen the property and you've agreed on repairs. Save all receipts, including those for temporary measures (tarps, plywood, etc.).

If you cannot live in the home, ask your insurer if you have coverage for living expenses during repair work. And save those receipts, too.

Trees and branches fell in my yard. Will my insurance pay for the cleanup?

Probably not. Standard policies don't cover tree removal and cleanup unless the tree fell on your home, garage, car, etc.

Am I covered if my car was damaged by falling limbs or because my carport collapsed on top of it?

Your car: If you have comprehensive coverage under your auto insurance, it should cover the damage to your car.

Your carport: Your homeowner insurance should cover the damage to your carport.

Remember, both policies are subject to a deductible.

My neighbor's tree fell on my house. Whose insurance pays the bills?

Your homeowner insurer will often pay, even if it was the neighbor's tree. If so, you'll be responsible for the deductible. If it can be shown that the neighbor was at fault, your insurer may be able to get your neighbor's insurer to pay. But fault or negligence can be hard to prove.

I lost power for several days during a windstorm and the food in my freezer thawed. Am I covered?

Some homeowner policies provide coverage for this, but it may not be worth filing a claim, particularly if you have a high deductible.

I’m concerned about flooding. Will I be covered?

Homeowner insurance doesn't cover floods. You'd have to buy a separate policy to protect your property against flood water. Flood insurance is available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) (www.floodsmart.gov).

My television set was ruined when the power came back on. Am I covered?

Most homeowner policies cover appliances and electronics ruined by power surges, regardless of whether they're related to an outage. But consider your deductible. Especially if you have low-cost or old equipment, it may not be worth filing a claim.

My boat sank from the strong winds. Am I covered?

It depends on your boat insurance policy. Check your policy and talk with your insurance agent.

My house is threatened by the possibility of landslide. Is this covered?

Homeowner insurance does not cover landslides. If your home is located in an area prone to landslides, talk with your agent to find out if there are other insurers that will cover landslides on a separate policy.

How do I file a claim?

There are steps you will need to take, but the first thing you should do is contact your insurance agent or insurance company.

Updated 03/27/2014

See also

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