Skip First Level Navigation | Skip All Navigation
|Home | Contact Us | Careers | Calendar|
Bureau of Insurance
OTHER PFR AGENCIES
Maine.gov > PFR Home > Insurance Regulation > All Press Releases > In the Wake of Sandy, Superintendent of Insurance Shares Important Reminders for Maine Consumers and Business Owners
Augusta, Maine -
As Maine cleans up after Sandy, Superintendent of Insurance Eric Cioppa and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) shared important reminders about insurance policies to address current concerns and to help prepare consumers and business owners for other possible severe weather events this fall and winter. In addition, he encouraged anyone with questions to contact their insurance agent or company, or call the Bureau of Insurance toll-free at 1-800-300-5000.
-- Key Coverages to Know
Flood Insurance: Flooding—or an excess of water (or mud) on normally dry land—is not covered by a typical homeowners or renter’s insurance policy. Consumers experiencing flooding who purchased a flood policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) should contact the insurance agent or company that wrote their policy to begin the claims process.
Sewer Backup Coverage: Ask your insurance agent or carrier if an endorsement for sewer backup coverage was added to your homeowners policy. If so, your losses may be covered if the water damage was caused by sewer lines backing up through your home’s drain pipes.
Loss of Use Coverage: If your loss was caused by a covered peril and the home is not fit to live in, you may be entitled to additional living expenses to maintain a normal standard of living.
Debris Removal: Most policies do not cover damage to trees or landscaping, but many policies have debris clean-up allowances. Check your policy and talk with your agent about this coverage.
Deductible: Your deductible is the amount of the damage that you are responsible to pay. This amount could be different following a hurricane than it would be following another covered loss. If the cause of the loss is a named storm, it is likely you will be responsible for a percentage of the loss, based on the replacement cost. This percentage should be stated on your homeowners or renter’s declarations page.
Business Interruption Coverage: Business interruption insurance covers lost earnings due to circumstances stated in your policy—such as fire or hail—that shut down your business for an extended period. Business interruption/continuation insurance covers expenses associated with running your business, like your payroll and utility bills, based on your company’s financial records. Business interruption/continuation may also help pay for the extra expenses to keep your business in operation until you recover. This coverage generally includes a waiting period that serves as the deductible.
You may have several different policies that cover all of the damages from a storm (a flood policy, a homeowners policy, an auto policy that may cover damage to your car from flooding), and it is likely you will have to file separate claims for each loss.
-- Protecting Your Damaged Property
If your home has damage, once it is safe, it is your responsibility to make sure the damage is not made worse because you did not take action. That means if part of your roof is missing, it is your responsibility to make the effort to cover the hole. As part of your claim, your insurance company will typically reimburse the expense of these temporary repairs—assuming the loss was caused by a covered peril—so keep all receipts. Before making any repairs, take photos of the damage. If you remove personal property from the home, do not dispose of it until an adjuster from your insurance company has reviewed it for your claim. Many policies include reimbursement for storage costs.
-- Contacting Your Insurance Company or Agent
If your area has storm damage, it is likely your local agent is dealing with the same issues. You should have a copy of your policy or insurance card with your disaster preparation materials, but if you do not, an insurance company representative should be able to help you find this information. Often insurance companies will mobilize disaster response teams to come to you following large-scale disasters. A disaster response team that comes to your area can help you figure out what damages are covered, can start your insurance claim and will often provide a check toward that claim to help you start recovering.
-- Power Outage
If a fallen tree is to blame for the power outage, it is possible that the cost to clean up the tree may be covered by your homeowners insurance. Additionally, a homeowners or renter’s policy often allows for compensation for food losses up to a certain amount; however, this is generally a fairly low dollar value like $500. If your deductible (the amount of the claim you are responsible to pay) is equal to or greater than this, unless you have other losses, you probably cannot claim just the loss of the food.
-- Home Inventory
In filing a claim you will be asked to make a list of everything damaged or destroyed. This process can be easier with a complete home inventory. If you do not have a home inventory, sit down as a family and make the list room by room. An inventory spreadsheet can be printed from the “Consumer Tools” section of the Bureau’s website (www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance).
A free NAIC myHOME Scr.APP.book app for iPhoneŽ or Android smart phones is also available. The app guides you through capturing images, descriptions, bar codes and serial numbers, and storing them electronically for safekeeping. The app even creates a back-up file for e-mail sharing. Once you have completed the home inventory, talk with your agent to make sure your homeowners or renter's policy is adequate to cover your belongings.
The Bureau of Insurance is available to help with any problems you have following a disaster and can be contacted with any questions. For more information about the National Flood Insurance Program, including guidance on filing a claim, visit www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/.
The Bureau of Insurance is part of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation which encourages sound ethical business practices through high quality, impartial and efficient regulation of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous professions and occupations for the purpose of protecting the citizens of Maine. Consumers can reach the Bureau through its web site at www.maine.gov/insurance; by calling 800-300-5000 in state; or by writing to Bureau of Insurance, 34 State House Station, Augusta ME 04333.
Last Updated: October 31, 2012 3:43 PM
|Copyright © 2006 All rights reserved.|