Thunderstorms and Your Insurance Policies
The following topics are all important and should be discussed with your personal insurance agent at least every few years. Hundreds of thousands of people each year are impacted by thunderstorms. Unfortunately, too many of them are surprised when they try to make a claim on their insurance only to find out they had no protection for certain losses under their policies. A bad thunderstorm should only ruin your day, not your life. Not having the right protection at the wrong time can be financially devastating.
How to Minimize Your Storm Related Losses
- Find a local insurance agent who you trust and that will listen to your concerns
- Only work with an agent or their licensed staff members
- Make sure your home is protected to the proper amount
- A homeowner's policy won't protect an automobile for any reason - hail, flood damage or other weather related losses to a vehicle are only covered by Comprehensive coverage on your automobile insurance policy
- Water from the sky is usually covered under a homeowner's policy - once it hits the ground it's usually covered only by a flood policy
- Trees can fall on houses in a storm. Damage to the home is usually covered - does you policy provide for removing the fallen tree or replacing it with a new one?
- Some insurance companies give discounts if you install a lightning rod system
- Unrepaired damages or maintenance on a home may lead to unnecessary damages in the event of a storm - most policies do not cover the results of such neglect - have your agent inspect your home for potential problems and get them fixed
- It's best to use non-flammable paint in and around your home to minimize fire damage caused by lightning or lightning caused brush fires
- Broken windows are subject to your policy deductible, however, most insurers will offer an option to waive the deductible on broken windows
- Get a fireproof file box at most home improvement stores or from your insurance agent - you need one to protect your vital papers and jewelry in case of a fire or flood
What to do if you experience a storm related loss
- Don't panic! Get everybody, including pets, to a safe place
- Call 911 if you have a fire or medical emergency
- If you have damage to your home or vehicles call your insurance agent, day or night
- Your insurance agent will make arrangements for emergency board up services, roof repair, water extraction or other damage control services needed immediately after a loss. Take pictures if you can
- When appropriate, minimize losses by removing expensive electrical items such as laptop computers or other expensive household items
- If you feel your loss should be covered and your agent tells you that your losses will not be covered tell them you want a claim filed anyhow. The agent may be wrong and ultimately the claims adjuster has the final say in what's covered and what's not.
- If you experience a loss that turns out not to be covered by your policy but you thought you had that coverage you still have a chance to get compensated. You will need to file a claim with your insurance agent's Errors and Omissions policy.
- Contact the Arizona Department of Insurance if you have any problems with an insurance carriers that were not handled to your satisfaction