Youngstown, Ohio (WKBN) — In the wake of the recent winter storm that majorly impacted Ohioans, their homes and cars, being aware of your insurance coverage is vital.
“Insurance serves as a financial safety net and without appropriate coverage, the financial repercussions can be severe,” Ohio Department of Insurance director Judith L. French said. “Ohioans should review their insurance needs, levels of coverage and deductible amounts with an insurance agent.”
The expenses associated with damage from water, wind, hail, snow and ice are often significant. To help jump-start an insurance review, the Ohio Department of Insurance provided answers to common winter-related insurance coverage questions.
The answers below reflect general laws and policies. For specific coverage, contact your insurance provider.
Do I need special insurance for a burst water pipe?
Homeowners insurance generally covers water damage from a burst pipe inside your home. Maintain adequate heat in your home to protect against frozen and burst water pipes.
Winter windstorms and hail can cause major damage. What insurance protection should I consider?
Many insurance policies have a separate deductible specific to wind/hail damage. It is either a flat dollar amount or a percentage amount of the property’s insured value. Carefully evaluate your options. Gutter, siding and window damage are also generally covered.
Am I covered if a tree falls on my house?
A windstorm or ice weight can bring down a tree. If it falls on your home, garage or fence, your policy likely will pay to repair damage to the structure and contents, as well as tree removal costs, up to a certain amount.
An ice dam near my roof sounds scary. What is it? Am I covered?
Ice and snow accumulation can damage roofs and gutters. Ice dams may result from ice formation on the roof’s edge and can hinder the release of melting water. This situation may cause roof leakage and water damage to interior walls, floors and personal belongings. Homeowners’ insurance generally covers these losses.
Do I have to purchase flood insurance and coverage for basement water backup?
Flooding is a major risk, especially in late winter and early spring. Flood insurance is typically not included in a standard property insurance policy. If your local community qualifies, coverage is secured through an insurance agent and the National Flood Insurance Program with a 30-day waiting period before it is effective. Coverage for water backup in basements (drains/sewers) has to be purchased separately and added as a policy endorsement.
Is power outage food spoilage covered?
Food spoilage is normally not covered if the cause of loss is an off-premises power outage. Some insurers offer refrigerated property coverage for purchase that insures frozen/refrigerated items due to loss of power.
Am I covered if someone injures themselves on ice on my property?
Your homeowners’ policy likely will cover liability and/or medical expenses for injuries, should someone slip and fall on your property. Your city or municipality may have snow-removal statutes. Check to see if certain laws apply.
Winter driving is dangerous. How does my auto insurance protect me in an accident?
Bodily injury and property damage liability coverage pays for damage that you may cause to others. If you carry collision coverage, it will cover damages to your vehicle due to a collision, no matter who caused it.
Is my auto insurance helpful if I experience a flat tire, dead battery or get stuck in snow?
Some policies provide roadside assistance services or as an add-on charge. Another option is to subscribe to an auto assistance club, such as AAA.