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Insurance tips: What’s covered after storm damage?

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(WKBN) – With Tuesday’s heavy flooding, what happens if your automobile is damaged by water from storms?

Stan McCamon, of McCamon-Hunt Insurance Agency, talked about how insurance agents determine if a car is fixable or totaled.

McCamon said it all depends on how much the vehicle is worth and the cost to fix it.

“If your vehicle has $10,000 worth of damages due to the flooding and it’s worth $8,500, they’re going to total it out and give you $8,500,” he said. 

McCamon said you have to have a “comprehensive” or “other than collision” auto insurance policy in order to be covered for damages caused by the storm.

The Ohio Department of Insurance also issued tips to help people avoid scams and work toward recovery. 

Damage caused by rain, hail, lightning, wind, or tornado is generally covered by a standard homeowners’ insurance policy or a standard renters’ insurance policy.

Flood insurance is not included in a typical homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy. It’s made available by the federal National Flood Insurance Program and purchased through an insurance agent. There is a 30-day waiting period for coverage to start.

If you suffered storm damage:

— Call your insurance agent or company right away.

— Take reasonable steps to prevent additional damage if permitted by public safety authorities.

–Closely inspect property and cars for damage. Note and photograph any damage.

— If required to seek temporary housing, check your policy for “loss of use” coverage.

— Be sure everything is considered in your claim. Back up claims with written estimates.

During the recovery process:

— Obtain a list of reputable contractors from your insurance carrier, the Better Business Bureau, or a specialized consumer organization.

— Contact multiple contractors and obtain more than one estimate.

Tips to avoid scams and insurance fraud:

— Beware of contractors coming to your home unsolicited, offering to do work, and seeking your insurance information to submit claims on your behalf.

— Do not allow a contractor to inspect your property when you are not home.

— If you give a contractor permission to inspect your property, watch the contractor conduct the inspection. Beware that some fraudulent contractors will intentionally damage property in order to secure repair work.

— Obtain, in writing, the terms and conditions of the project.

— Avoid signing any documentation (including a contract) until you fully review it. Be aware that in some cases, scammers will have consumers sign a document without explaining it is a contract.  

— Pay the contractor by check or credit card, rather than in cash, and do not pay in full until all work has been finished.

Those with questions about their policies, filing a claim or trying to better understand coverage can contact the Ohio Department of Insurance at 800-686-1526 or visit www.insurance.ohio.gov, which includes a severe weather recovery toolkit.

To report scams or potentially fraudulent activity, call the department’s fraud and enforcement hotline at 800-686-1527.

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