Nev. Department Offers Help Following Storms

January 20, 2005

Rain, thunderstorms, heavy snow and high winds can leave a trail of destruction, as evidenced in the violent storms recently experienced throughout Nevada, damaging hundreds of homes, businesses and cars.

The Department of Business and Industry Division of Insurance is available to help residents and business and property owners with questions relating to damage resulting from those storms and accompanying winds. The Division of Insurance will assist people with any questions about an insurer’s handling of a claim or any questions regarding homeowners, manufactured home, automobile or business policies. The consumer services section is trained to help consumers with their insurance questions or problems.

In addition to coverage for property damage, property policies may include coverage for debris removal and additional living expenses. People should check their insurance policy or contact their agent or insurance company to discuss what coverages are available.

Some guidelines to follow for filing claims include: • Check property (house, car, etc.) for damage. Contact one’s agent or insurer promptly to report damage. Keep a record of the time, date, and name of the person with whom speaking with. • Make certain an agent has a telephone number to contact the person filing the claim. • Have one’s policy number available when reporting the claim. • Photograph or videotape damaged areas, if possible. • Make reasonable and necessary repairs to protect one’s home and property from further damage, but don’t make permanent repairs before the damage is inspected by a claims adjuster. • Take steps to minimize further damage, such as covering holes in windows or roofs to keep water out. Insurers may refuse to pay for subsequent damage from water. • Keep a record of repair expenses and save all receipts on these temporary repairs to submit for reimbursement. • Make a list of all personal property destroyed or damaged. It is always wise to keep an inventory of property, with price, place and date of purchase in a safe place. The list can be used when detailing damages. • Make sure one’s address is visible from the street. Try to be present when the adjuster inspects the damage.

Nevada Insurance Commissioner Alice Molasky-Arman cautions homeowners to be aware that special insurance is needed to protect their homes and outbuildings against several special perils, such as flooding and earthquakes. Neither is covered under normal homeowner or tenant policies.

It is very important that people fully understand their rights and responsibilities so that they can take charge of their own situation. If one’s insurance policy has been lost or destroyed, or if confused about the policy benefits or exclusions, one’s agent or company will be able to tell them exactly what coverages they have purchased.

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