Faced with nonstop rain and ongoing flood warnings, property owners in Northeastern Illinois and parts of Michigan and Wisconsin should check their insurance coverage and take some basic precautions to secure their homes or businesses, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI)..
“It’s a good idea for property owners to check their insurance policies and if necessary, call their agent or insurance company representative to verify the extent of coverage for flooding and storm damage,” said Don Griffin, vice president of commercial lines for the PCI. “You should also be prepared to report claims to your insurer as soon as it is safe to assess the damage.”
Several days of storms and heavy rains have left thousands of homes across the Midwest flooded and without electrical power, including about 94,000 customers in Michigan, which suffered heavy storms over the weekend.
In other Chicago suburbs including Gurnee and Des Plaines, residents were piling sandbags to try and prevent the Des Plaines River from flooding their homes and businesses, which may be evacuated if the river overflows.
Although homeowners and commercial property insurance policies generally cover water damage from burst pipes, they typically exclude damage arising from flooding from outside sources. Residents in areas designated as flood plains are required to buy flood insurance before purchasing the property if purchased using a federally backed mortgage.
Although property owners can purchase flood insurance as a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Program, there is a 30-day waiting period before coverage takes effect, Griffin cautioned.
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