Do you have damage from Virginia's recent severe weather? Here's what to do next and what's covered!Sat Mar 03, 2018
If you think you have damage from recent weather events, there are important steps you should take right away. Your safety and your family's safety is most important to us. Always take these safety tips into consideration before proceeding with property damage after severe weather.
- Make sure the weather event is completely over.
- Contact your loved ones and let them know you're okay.
- Wear long sleeves, long pants and sturdy shoes while assessing damage.
- Stay away from downed power lines and unstable structures. Contact authorities to report both.
- Be aware of insurance scammers! Drive-by repair solicitations should be avoided.
- Do not drive through water crossing a roadway- a few inches of moving water can move a car. Avoid this dangerous drowning risk!
What to Do If You Have Damage
- Take immediate measures to protect your home, car, or other property. That means you can make temporary repairs to prevent further damage and secure your property. Save those receipts for reimbursement, but hold off on complete repairs until one of our adjusters can assess your situation, including tree removal and clean up that has caused property damage.
- Call your independent agent to begin the claims process. Your agent can help you with your specific situation. Have your policy number and a list of questions ready: Am I covered? What's my deductible? When can I expect an adjuster to come inspect the damage? What are next steps
- If you wish to start the claims process and your independent agency is unavailable or closed, you can use any of our after-hours options, but reach out to your agent once they open. Call our Toll-Free After Hours Claims Hotline: 1- 877-968-7252. Start an online claim in our Customer Center. Emergency Roadside Assistance 24/7: 1-800-913-8847
- If your home is uninhabitable from the damage, make temporary arrangements to stay in a safe location. Save all living expense receipts, including hotel and food bills.
- Make use of your home inventory to record damage or loss. A home inventory is a valuable record of the contents of your home you have in case of a home damage claim. There are several free and useful apps to easily create one using your phone or tablet. If you don't have a home inventory, create a running list of damaged items or use a printed list. Take pictures or video-tape damage, and do not throw away anything until an adjuster has visited.
- Be sure to complete required claim forms in a timely manner to avoid delaying your claim. Also, keep in mind major weather events can result in many claims and can delay normal claims processing timelines. Your patience is appreciated.
Every policy varies depending on coverages you chose with your agent, including limits and deductibles. Keeping that in mind and checking your own policy for specific coverage, here are some general rules of thumb:
- If a fallen tree, play equipment, or other object, no matter whose it is, has damaged your house, your insurance pays for removal and repairs. Likewise, if something damages your neighbor's house- their insurance pays. However, if the tree was on your property and should have been removed long ago due to death, rotting and/or decay, you may be found liable. In that case, your liability coverage in your homeowners policy might pay the claim.
- If your tree has fallen, but doesn't damage anything, you would most likely pay to have it removed or remove it yourself.
- If your home has been damaged, including your roof, siding, gutters, windows and any contents inside, your standard homeowners policy will cover the damage. This includes damage directly resulting from the initial damage, like water damage from rain blowing through a damaged roof.
- Any damage to your car resulting from weather is protected by your comprehensive coverage. This includes damage from a tree branch or flying debris if you’re driving when it occurs or your car was parked. And remember, this includes storm damage from your neighbor’s tree. This is optional coverage on an auto policy so speak with your agent to be sure you have it.
- If you had an accident during the severe weather, damages would be covered by the collision coverage on your policy, depending on who is at fault if another driver is involved.
If you're reading this, you or someone you care about probably had damage caused the Virginia's severe weather. We're sorry if you're experiencing a difficult time and know insurance claims can be stressful. We're committed to providing the best service to get you and your family back to normal, so take heart, have a little patience, and give us a call! We're here for you.