You have wind damage. Are you covered?


The loud thud woke the baby up.

The large tree barely missed Lucas Hine's home in the Cobbs Hill neighborhood. His 19-week-old daughter Maren had been sleeping in the room facing the tree when it fell around 1 p.m. Wednesday.

"It was terrifying," said Hine, 32. "We are counting our blessings."

The Hine family is now dealing with the aftermath of the damage, working with its insurance company on a claim to remove the tree.So far so good for covering the cost of tree removal, Hine said. But his agency, State Farm, is inundated with claims and asked him to take photos of the damage in case an adjuster cannot make it out to his home.

From home and vehicle damage to power outage, thousands of homeowners in the Rochester area are coping with the process of filing insurance claims. Insurance companies are prepared to handle situations such as the great windstorm of 2017, said Jim Whittle, associate general counsel at American Insurance Association, a property and casualty insurance trade association.

"Insurance companies are waiting for their call," Whittle said. "They're expecting to hear from their customers."

Some people may be reluctant to call their insurance agency because they think it'll dampen their record as a customer. But that is a false assumption, Whittle said.

When a client calls, it begins the process of setting up a claim and the sooner you get in line, the faster you get a response, he said.

There are variables when it comes to coverage, so it's a good idea to check with your agency to find out what type of coverage you purchased, Whittle said. If you have additional living coverage, you may be covered for hotel stays in case of a power outage, even if your home did not sustain damage.

When it comes to vehicle coverage, there's comprehensive and a la carte, Whittle explained. If you have only  collision coverage, that that tree falling on your vehicle may not be covered, he noted.

If your home is damaged in the windstorm, as owner of the property, you have an obligation to protect it from further damage, said Ron Papa, president of National Fire Adjustment, which represents policyholders. That means putting up a tarp or other measures, he said.

The insurance company has an obligation to repair it to its former state, Papa said.

"Don't accept a patch job," he said, noting that if part of a home was ripped off during the storm, homeowners should make sure the replacement matches exactly. His firm offers free evaluations of the damage and consumers may call (800) 570-8220 to assess their situation, Papa said.

Many are in a wait-and-see situation at this point as adjusters make their rounds. Derek Hendrickson and his neighbor waiting on word about damage to their town homes in the North Winton Village area. A tree took down the fence in Hendrickson's yard and wrecked his neighbor's deck and a portion of her home. The tree is on a power line. They are waiting for an adjuster from Erie Insurance Group to assess the claims.

State Farm is asking area residents to take the time to inspect their home, with three tips:

  • Take pictures of any damage.
  • Make temporary repairs to prevent further damage.  For example, board up a hole with plywood or cover leaks with a plastic tarp. Save receipts related to home repairs, vehicle towing, or temporary living expenses.  These may be eligible for reimbursement if you have a covered loss and exceed your deductible. 
  • Begin the claims process by calling your State Farm agent, calling 1-800-SFCLAIM or visiting StateFarm.com. 

State Farm spokeswoman Anna Bryant says that if a windstorm causes a tree to fall but it does not damage the covered real property such as house, fence, carport or garage, the homeowners policy does not cover tree debris removal.  If a windstorm causes a tree to fall and it damages the covered real property, then the tree is removed from the house, fence, carport or garage as needed, to perform covered repairs.


Source: http://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2017/03/09/rochester-windstorm-insurance-claims-information/98953248/

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