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Know Your Insurance in Stormy Weather

Minnesota Department of Commerce offers information and assistance for storm damage claims

7/13/2015 4:03:34 PM

If you have suffered property damage from a severe storm, Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman urges you to document the damage, review your homeowners and auto insurance policies, and contact your insurance agent.

“After a severe storm strikes, people often have many questions about their insurance coverage, including how to file a claim and make repairs,” said Rothman. “The Commerce Department is here to help.”

Rothman encourages Minnesotans to check out the Commerce Department’s Disaster Information Center website, a one-stop resource with comprehensive information to help homeowners and businesses make informed insurance decisions after suffering storm damage.

“Our Consumer Services Center is also prepared to assist Minnesotans at this vulnerable time,” said Rothman. “We can help people understand their rights, clarify their coverage, explain the claims process and help resolve problems with their insurance company.”

The Commerce Department’s Consumer Services Center can be reached at:

Phone: (651) 539-1600 or (800) 657-3602 (Greater Minnesota)

Homeowners insurance: Am I Covered? 

Homeowners policies do not always have the same coverage. It is very important to read your policy to determine what is covered and what level of coverage you have.

If you cannot locate your policy, contact your insurance agent or company immediately. Your agent or company will usually be able to address your questions quickly and accurately. Many insurance companies have Disaster Claim Teams that they send to an area when there is extensive damage.

The standard homeowners insurance coverage will cover most of your loss that would occur as a result of hail or wind. However, most policies have deductibles and exclusions, such as wear-and-tear on roof or siding. Coverage will usually cover the replacement cost for the damaged portion of your home, including any upgrades that are required by local codes when damage is repaired. Most contracts cover the expense of debris removal from your home. This coverage is usually provided in addition to the policy limit restriction that applies to the repair of the damage to your home or garage.

Even if you are fully insured, some losses will not be covered, such as: 

  • Cost of tree and debris removal when structures are unharmed;
  • Undamaged property, siding or shingles; and 
  • Damage to property not involving structures. 

What Can I Expect? 

Laws about claims settlement dictate that companies must handle claims in a fair and responsive manner. When severe weather hits, you should expect a response to your claim within 10 business days.

Although it is not required, some companies have set up programs that allow their on-site adjusters to issue checks in advance to cover some of the additional living expenses and replacement of some essential person property. Once you have made contact with your company adjuster, ask him/her about the availability of such programs.

Storm Damage to Vehicles 

Hail can damage you vehicle’s exterior and glass. Coverage for these types of losses is provided under the “Comprehensive” portion of your auto policy. Some policies may call this coverage “Other than Collision.”

How to File and Settle a Vehicle Damage Claim 

  1. Call your agent or the claims processing center listed on your “Minnesota Insurance Identification Card.”
  2. Document the damage to your vehicle with photos.
  3. Obtain estimates from repair facilities. Your insurance company may want more than one estimate, including one from their preferred facility or claims center.

Disaster Information

Vehicle Insurance

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