COLUMBUS — Ohio Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor is assisting residents, businesses and local officials in their recovery from the severe lake-effect snow storm that slammed Northeast Ohio. Taylor, also director of the Ohio Department of Insurance, is sharing safety and insurance information.
Taylor said people can visit www.insurance.ohio.gov to use a popular disaster recovery toolkit containing insurance coverage insights, a recovery checklist and claim filing tips, and also call the Ohio Department of Insurance at 1-800-686-1526 with questions.
“People who have suffered damage may not necessarily know how to move along in the recovery process, to navigate their insurance,” Taylor said. “We are here to help, to hopefully make things a little easier.”
Insurance Coverage Basics
- Most standard property insurance generally covers structure and contents damage from ice, water, heavy snow and burst water pipes. Roof, gutter, siding and window damage is also generally covered.
- Reasonable after-the-fact expenses are generally covered to predetermined time frames and amounts: fire department charges, additional living expenses, temporary repairs, debris removal, damaged tree and shrub removal.
- If a tree – or portions of it – falls on your home, garage or fence, your policy will generally pay to repair damage to the structure and contents, and tree removal costs.
- Food spoilage is normally not included if the cause of loss is an off-premises power outage (downed power lines, etc.) Coverage for frozen/refrigerated items due to loss of power needs to be purchased separately.
- Renters insurance covers the renter’s personal possessions not the structure itself.
- Vehicle damage caused by ice, heavy snow and burst water pipes are normally covered under the optional “other-than-collision” (also known as “comprehensive”) portion of an auto insurance policy. This is optional coverage that needs purchased.
Insurance Claim Filing
- Immediately document your losses before removing debris. Take photos and video.
- Call your agent or insurance company and initiate claim filing. Incorrect or incomplete information will delay the process.
- Gather necessary paperwork and receipts to provide your insurer. Consider everything before claim submission, back it up with written estimates.
- Consider making temporary repairs but don’t endanger yourself.
- If required to seek temporary housing, check your policy for "loss of use" coverage.
- Keep copies of all correspondence.
The Ohio Department of Insurance is one of the largest consumer protection agencies in the state of Ohio.