Mo. Director Provides Tips to Residents Affected by Deadly Ice Storms

January 17, 2007

As Missourians continue to recover from the deadly ice storms of last weekend, newly-appointed Director of the Department of Insurance Doug Ommen, issued a statement offering some helpful advice.

“The weight of ice on trees is causing them to fall on power lines, homes and cars throughout the state,” Ommen said. “It is important for Missouri consumers to understand what insurance coverage they have in these situations to ensure they are getting the financial security they pay for and deserve from their insurance company.”

In light of the critical situation, Ommen offers these insurance tips to those whose property was affected by the recent severe weather:

Contact your agent and/or insurance company.

Keep a record of the time, date, topic and name of the person you talk to every time you call.

If your dwelling is uninhabitable, your insurance agent or company will tell you if your policy covers any living expenses until repairs are made. For example, some policies may provide for food and lodging.
Generally, homeowners’ policies do not cover the loss of detached structures (barns, sheds, carports, boat docks, etc.) due to the weight of ice, snow and sleet.

Typically, insurance policies will only cover damage caused by falling trees if the property (car, home, etc.) damaged is insured. If a tree in your yard were to damage your neighbor’s property, you may not be responsible because it is considered an “act of nature.” Your neighbor’s insurance may cover the loss to his/her property.
Insurance companies may cover damage caused by frozen pipes, but they may not cover repairs to the actual pipes.

Protect property from further loss or damage. Make temporary repairs and keep receipts for all materials and labor.

Survey the damage and take pictures, if possible.

Make a list of all personal property destroyed or damaged. Note the approximate date, price and place of purchase and attach any sales receipt you may have. The adjuster may ask for this information.
Your insurance company will send its adjuster to your property. Make sure the adjuster has identification and please remember that insurance companies pay adjustors, so you should not be asked for any payment.

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt issued executive orders declaring a state of emergency and activating the Missouri National Guard in response to the winter ice storm. Gov. Blunt also put the Disaster Medical Assistance Team on standby in anticipation of mounting emergencies.

The State Emergency Management Agency reported that approximately eighty-five shelters across Missouri were expected to accommodate more than 3,600 people Tuesday night. The storm moved east and hit Michigan as well, leaving almost 200,000 people without power. News reports say 54 people were killed in nine states due to the ice storms.

Source: Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

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