Washington Offers Insurance Advice for Winter Storm Victims

January 13, 2009

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is advising consumers to assess their property damage after the latest winter storm and take steps to mitigate any further damage.

“When it’s safe to do so, survey your property and determine the extent of damage you’ve suffered, if any,” said Kreidler. “Before you file a claim, check your policy to see what’s covered and the amount of your deductible. You may want to make the repairs yourself. But if you have substantial damage, contact your agent or company as soon as possible.”

Washington recently faced a week of floods, record snow, mudslides and avalanches that closed highways and drove more than 30,000 people from their homes as a warm, wet storm blew across the state, bringing heavy rain and rapidly melting snow in the Cascade Mountains. Residents in the small south King County town of Pacific, Wash., were blaming the Army Corps of Engineers for flooding on the White River that forced about 1,200 people from their homes. And Gov. Chris Gregoire gave what she called a very preliminary estimate for damage to roads and state property of $125 million. U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced $2 million in federal aid, with more to come after the damage assessment is completed.

Consumers who don’t receive a response from their insurance companies, or have disputes over claims are being advised to contact the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 1-800-562-6900. Additional advice on winter weather is available in the Office of the Insurance Commissioner’s publication, “Winter Weather and Insurance Coverage,” at http://www.insurance.wa.gov/publications/tips/winter_weather.pdf.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: OIC

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