COLUMBUS — During Ohio Winter Safety Awareness Week, Nov. 12-18, Ohio Department of Insurance Director Jillian Froment is stressing the importance of conducting an insurance review with an agent in advance of winter weather.
“Ohio’s winter weather can be punishing, not only to your property but also to your finances, especially if you are without adequate insurance protection,” Froment said. “I encourage Ohioans to connect with an insurance agent to ensure their coverage is winter ready.”
Froment outlined five ways that you can avoid costly setbacks.
1) Review your homeowners and auto insurance and amounts with an agent.
- Most property policies generally cover structure and contents damage from wind, ice, water (but not flooding), and burst water pipes. Roof, gutter, siding and window damage – such as from ice damming and collapse from the weight of snow – is also generally covered. Certain circumstances and deductibles will apply.
- Vehicle damage caused by water-related events, ice, heavy snow and burst water pipes are normally covered under the “other-than-collision” (also known as “comprehensive”) portion of an auto insurance policy. This is optional coverage that has to be purchased.
2) Review personal possessions coverage options.
- If you have a loss, actual cash value pays the value of the item the day it was destroyed. Replacement cost coverage pays in accordance with the value of a comparable item at the current market price. Renters should consider renters insurance to protect their possessions.
3) Ask about after the fact expenses.
- Determine if the policy pays for such things as fire department charges, temporary repairs, debris removal, trees and shrubs, personal property storage, and certain living expenses.
4) Complete a home inventory.
- Listing your possessions with photos and their values will prove worthwhile in a claim filing situation and help you determine if you have adequate insurance coverage. Download the free phone app myHOME Scr.APP.book or print a paper version at www.insurance.ohio.gov.
5) Winterize your property and vehicle.
- For your home, clean debris from gutters and downspouts, address missing shingles and overhanging tree limbs. Inspect the underside of the roof from the attic for signs of leaks. Protect against frozen and burst water pipes by maintaining adequate heat in your home and winterize your pipes.
- For your vehicle, tires should have adequate tread and air pressure. Keep the windshield wiper fluid tank filled and maintain at least a half tank of gasoline. Carry a windshield scraper and brush for ice and snow removal. Also in your vehicle, keep a snack, water, extra warm attire, blankets and a first aid kit.
If you have questions about insurance call the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1526. Insurance information is available at www.insurance.ohio.gov. The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness’ website www.weathersafety.ohio.gov contains important safety information.