Insurance Claims Information & Ice/Winter Storm Recovery Guide
Oklahomans affected by the ice/winter storm need to:
- Survey your property, photograph and document any damage.
- Make necessary repairs to prevent further damage quickly.
- Contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible as this will be a busy time for claims adjusters.
- Review your policy with your insurance agent to discuss what is covered.
- Visit your city’s website for details on debris removal and drop-off location.
Please contact your insurance agent or company if you have questions about specific coverage in your policy. If you need additional help, please contact our Consumer Assistance Team at 800-522-0071 or contact us here.
WINTER STORM INSURANCE CLAIM TIPS
These quick tips will help make your insurance claim process smoother if your home was damaged due to a broken water pipe, downed tree limbs, or other winter damage.
- First, contact your insurance company or agent to file a claim as soon as possible.
- List all property damage. Pictures or video of the damage is necessary. Unless your insurance company tells you to, don’t throw anything away.
- Take steps to protect your home from further damage. Cover broken windows and holes in your roof with a tarp, if possible. Turn off the water if pipes have burst. Save all receipts. Your policy may cover these costs.
- Be at home when the insurance company comes to inspect the damage. If you can’t stay in your home, let your insurance company know.
- Keep a list of everyone you talk to at your insurance company.
- Ask about additional living expenses. If you’re can’t in your home due to the damage, your insurance policy may pay for some of those expenses.
TIPS TO AVOID FRAUD
- Always get more than one bid.
- Check references and phone numbers. Contractor complaint information is collected by the Better Business Bureau, so visit their website for more information.
- Don’t pay upfront and don’t make your final payment until the job is finished.
- Avoid contractors who offer to waive your deductible or promise a rebate for it.
- Never sign a contract with blank spaces and always keep a copy for your records.
- How to file a claim
- Report damage
- Step-by-Step Post Disaster Recovery Guide
- Get Ready for Winter Weather
- File a complaint
- Winter Preparedness Checklist
- Winter Storm Insurance Claim Tips
Please note that the answer may vary depending on your policy. Contact your insurance agent to review specific coverage in your policy.
Will my insurance company pay to repair a roof damaged by the weight of ice or snow?
The collapse of a structure, such as your roof, due to the weight of ice or snow is often covered under a standard home insurance policy. However, some nonstandard policies, such as the HO2 form do not have coverage for the weight of ice and snow, and therefore, that risk would not be covered. The best thing to do is to review your policy. Check to see what the policy states about covered perils. Contact your insurance agent about purchasing a policy that would protect you from the weight of ice and snow.
A tree fell and landed in my yard. Will my insurance pay to remove it?
Typically, fallen trees are not covered unless it has fallen on your house or driveway. It will cover damage to your fence, roof, troughs, windows, porches and outbuildings. However, debris removal from your yard, in the absence of physical property damage, will generally be at your own expense.
If a heavy snow causes my carport to collapse, is it covered by my homeowner’s policy?
It depends on your policy. You would need to contact your agent to review your policy coverage.
If a neighbor's tree caused damage to my property, are they responsible for damages?
Only if your neighbor was negligent would their policy pay for your damage. If the damage is from an act of nature, then the neighbor is not liable, and you would need to file the loss with your insurance company or agent.
An ice storm caused my tree to fall on my car. Will my homeowners policy pay for the damage to my car and to remove the tree?
No. The homeowner’s policy pays for damage to the home and for liability when an insured is negligent. In this case, you would need to file the claim with your auto insurance carrier to have the vehicle repaired. If you only had liability coverage, then you would be out of pocket for repairs or replacing the vehicle. If a neighbor was cutting down a tree and it hit your car, or they did not remove a dead tree after being told to do so in writing by neighbors or the city, then your car would be covered under their policy because of their negligence.
If I lose control of my car on snow or ice and crash into a barrier, is that a no fault claim due to conditions?
No. This would be a collision claim and an at fault claim for insurance coverage reasons.
If we have a heavy snow on my roof and then my roof leaks, will my homeowners policy pay for the damages?
It depends on what the actual cause of the leak is determined to be. If the leak was caused by wear and tear or improper maintenance, it may not be covered. Remember, damage caused suddenly and accidentally is the damage that your homeowner’s policy covers. If the snow only uncovered preexisting damage, your policy may not cover the damage.
Does homeowners insurance cover spoiled food after a power outage?
As long as the power outage was caused on your premises, the homeowner’s insurance generally pays for food spoilage. If the outage occurred away from the policyholder’s property, there could be a coverage issue. Again, talk with your agent to verify how this scenario would affect you. Finally, take pictures and keep a detailed list of the food items you had to throw away and share it with your adjuster. This will assist the adjuster in assessing the loss.
Does homeowners insurance cover the cost of a hotel in the event of loss of power?
In the event of a covered loss, like fire, and your house is uninhabitable during repairs, unsafe living conditions or loss of utilities, temporary lodging costs are often covered. However, homeowner’s insurance policies generally wouldn’t pay for additional living expenses such as a hotel room simply because of an off-premises power outage. You would have to have a direct/physical on-premises loss before most insurance carriers would consider Additional Living Expenses (ALE) reimbursements for hotel stays. We would encourage you to contact your insurance agent to determine if your policy would provide ALE for your particular situation.