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How to File Your Winter Storm Damage Insurance Claim

winter storm damageYears from now, you’ll be able to tell your children or grandchildren how you lived through the Blizzard of 2016.

It was fourth worst storm to hit the northeastern United States, dumping up to three feet of snow in some places. (One town in West Virginia had close to four feet.)

When big storms hit, it’s worth taking time to discuss how to respond to snow and ice damage. Here are some questions you should ask the next time your property sustains winter storm damage.

  1. What are the most common types of storm damage?

Winter storms are unpredictable. Some bring high winds, others heavy snow, or ice, or a mix of all three. The most common types of damage include:

  • Damaged and/or collapsed roofs caused by heavy snow accumulation.
  • Burst pipes from extremely low temperatures.
  • Damage from downed tree limits.
  • Car crashes due to ice or otherwise unsafe driving conditions.

Use caution during the winter. Stay off the road if you can, try to keep your roof clear, and keep your home warm – in the mid-60s — to prevent pipes from freezing. But never take any mitigation steps that could lead to injury.

  1. What do I do if I know my property is damaged, but I’m snowed in?

Do what you can to mitigate further damage, and document everything. Take a lot of photos, and don’t throw anything away. Document every exchange with your insurance company. Make sure your insurer will approve any repair estimates so that you’re not stuck paying for the work.

  1. Let’s say I had previous damage and filed a claim that was repaired just before the storm. If I sustain more damage, can I still make a claim?

Yes. Each incident is treated as a separate event. This is part of the reason documentation is so important when dealing with winter storm damage. You need to show what was repaired in the past event, and what was damaged in the latest storm.

  1. What if my home becomes uninhabitable? Will my insurance company pay for me to stay in a hotel and for other living expenses?

With luck, the worst thing that happens after a big blizzard is that you have a lot of snow to shovel. But in some cases, winter storm damage is so extensive that you’re forced out of your home. Typically, your insurance policy will include a provision for additional living expenses.

This will allow you to pay for temporary lodging, and cover other expenses such as food.

  1. What kind of winter storm damage does my policy cover? What damage is off limits?

Every policy is different, which is why it’s important to have a public adjuster, or a lawyer, or an insurance agent review it with you. Typically, the declaration page in your policy will list the different types of coverage:

  • Coverage A – Damage to the home
  • Coverage B – Damage to other structures (garage, decks, swimming pools)
  • Coverage C – Loss or damage to the contents of your home
  • Coverage D – Loss in the event the home becomes uninhabitable
  • Coverage E – Personal liability to third parties
  • Coverage F – Medical payments to third parties.

Figuring out what your policy covers – and what it doesn’t – isn’t something you should try to do on your own. That’s where we come in: A public adjuster is uniquely trained to avoid the obstacles insurance companies put in your path when you file a damage claim.

Interstate Public Adjusters LLC has decades of experience in working with homeowners in Pennsylvania and New Jersey to help them negotiate with insurance companies.

We know the law, and we know just the right legal language to use when we help you file your claim. And because our compensation is tied directly to the size of the payout you receive, you never have to wonder where our loyalties lay.

Please contact Interstate Public Adjusters today to learn more about how we can help protect you this winter, and in winters to come.

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