For Immediate Release: August 26, 2011
What do I do after the storm?
The Department of Insurance answers questions frequently asked after a storm or hurricane
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin reminds North Carolinians that the Department of Insurance is here to assist people as they deal with insurance-related concerns after Hurricane Irene.
"We know that the effects of a hurricane can be felt all across our state," Goodwin said. "One of our top priorities at the Department of Insurance is to help people navigate the insurance claims process in the aftermath of any severe weather."
People with insurance-related questions or complaints can call NCDOI's Consumer Services hotline at 800-546-5664 (toll free in N.C.) or 919-807-6750 during standard business hours. Visit us online at the NCDOI's Web site.
The following are some FAQs related to storm or hurricane damage:
If I have storm damage, what should I do?
- Contact your insurance agent/company as soon as possible to arrange a visit from an adjuster. Be patient; insurance companies will likely be handling a very large volume of requests.
- Before doing any repairs to your home, photograph and make a list of the damage.
- Protect your home from further damage by making temporary repairs only. Save any receipts for materials purchased for temporary repairs.
- Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected your property, and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs.
What should I do if my home is uninhabitable?
- If necessary, rent temporary shelter. If your home is uninhabitable, most homeowners policies pay additional living expenses while your property is being repaired. Before renting temporary shelter, check with your insurance company or agent to determine what expenses will be reimbursed. Save receipts.
Will my insurance pay for damage caused by flooding?
- Homeowners insurance policies do NOT cover flood or rising water damage. Flood insurance can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Some mobile home policies do provide flood coverage; check with your agent or company to see if you're covered.
During a power outage, food in my freezer and refrigerator spoiled. Will my insurance cover the loss?
- Unless you have extra coverage with your homeowners policy, food lost in a power outage is probably not covered. Consider purchasing an endorsement to cover food losses in the future.
If my neighbor's tree falls and damages my house, whose insurance should cover the damage?
- Generally, if a tree falls on your home, your own insurance policy would cover the damage.
If my vehicle is damaged by falling trees or debris, will my insurance cover it?
- Your insurance company may cover this kind of damage if you have comprehensive coverage. Check with your agent to determine whether your vehicle is covered.
Will my insurance pay for tree removal?
- Most companies will pay for a tree to be removed from a damaged structure, such as a home, garage or fence, but will not pay to remove a tree from your yard. Check with your agent/company to see what they will cover for tree removal.
How can I avoid being a victim of a scam?
- Always deal with licensed insurance companies, agents and adjusters. Ask to see identification or call the Department of Insurance to check the status of a license.
- Do not sign any blank application or claims forms.
- Don't pay in cash for repairs; keep all your records and proof of payments.
Find more disaster and recovery information at this NCDOI Consumer Web site.