February 2021 saw a record-setting winter storm in Northwest Arkansas and across much of the central U.S. Freezing temperatures posed a risk to both lives and property.
Officials in our neighboring state of Tennessee have shared some insurance claim information to help consumers know what to do in case of home or automobile damage as a result of the February winter storm system.
If Your Pipes Froze
Be careful turning the water back on. Slowly turn the water back on and double-check for any additional cracks or leaks.
Frozen pipes as the result of extreme cold might not be covered if the damage is due to negligence such as failing to maintain an adequate temperature in the house when the ability to do so is there. Check your policy and call your insurance agent or company if you need clarification or have specific questions.
If You Have Damage to Your Home and/or Auto
Contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible. Determine what forms, documents, and data you will need to provide in order to process your claim.
Keep all your receipts and damaged property for the adjuster to inspect. If possible, take photos or videos of the damage before making temporary repairs to protect your property from further damage. Do not make permanent repairs. An insurance company may deny a claim if you make permanent repairs before an adjuster inspects the damage.
Remember, most insurance companies will not pay for damage to an unoccupied house unless you prepared your house for the freeze. If you’re going to be away from your house and it might freeze, you must use reasonable care to heat the house or shut off the water supply and drain the water from plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems.
What to Do if Damage Occurs to Your Home
Call your insurance company or agent with your policy number and other relevant information as soon as possible. Cooperate fully with the insurance company and ask what documents, forms and data you will need.
Take photographs and/or video of the damage.
Make the repairs necessary to prevent further damage to your property (i.e., cover broken windows, leaking roofs and damaged walls). Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs.
Save all receipts, including those from the temporary repairs covered by your insurance policy.
If your home is damaged to the extent that you cannot live there, ask your insurance company if you have coverage for additional living expenses incurred while repairs are being made. Save all receipts to document these costs.
What Damage to Your Home is Covered?
Damage caused by wind, wind-driven rain, trees or other falling objects and the collapse of a structure due to weight of ice or snow are all covered under most standard homeowners policies.
What Damage to Your Home is Not Covered?
The following events are typically not covered by the standard homeowners’ insurance policy: Interior water damage from a storm, when there is no damage to the roof or walls of your home; damage as the result of a flood; removal of fallen trees (if the trees do not land on and damage your home); food spoilage due to a power outage; and water damage from backed-up drains or sewers. Some insurers offer endorsements (i.e., additional protection that may be purchased) for certain coverages not covered under the standard homeowner policy. Check with your agent or company to determine your needs.
Farris Insurance Can Help
If you’re looking to check on your current policy, change your policy, or make a claim, Farris Insurance can help.