Hurricane Sandy: How to handle insurance claims (Chat Log)Posted: Updated:
Here is a chat log from an officials from the Connecticut Insurance Department about how to handle some claims after Hurricane Sandy.
12:01: State of CT Ins Dept:
Much useful information on the Department's web-site at www.ct.gov/cid. Click on the Storm Sandy icon
12:03: State of CT Ins Dept:
For those of you who were lucky enough to not have damage it is a good time to review your policy to see if your coverage is what you need.
12:03: Comment From Tom:
What if your neighbor's tree falls in your yard?
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12:04: State of CT Ins Dept:
If it does any damage to a structure you would call your insurance company to respond to the claim.
12:05: State of CT Ins Dept:
If not damage to a structure there most likely will be no coverage under your homeowners policy.
12:06: Comment From Drew:
What if debri from my neighbors remodel project that was outside hit my car causing damage?
12:06: State of CT Ins Dept:
If you have comp and collission on your auto policy call and report the claim. If their is any negligence on your neighbors part your company will try to subrogate against his policy.
12:08: State of CT Ins Dept:
The key issue in these storms is negligence against the neighbor. What did the neighbor do wrong with his tree for it to go down in a storm...most likely no negligence. In the remodel situation it is a little more open to negligence but it has to be proven
12:08: Comment From Juliet:
Would insurance typically contribute any funds to damaged tree removal?
12:10: State of CT Ins Dept:
If it did not hit a structure most likely no... check your policy for debris removal coverage but if you have no other damage would most likely be under the deductible
12:10: Comment From JOE:
What if I do not have comp & collision coverage?
12:11: State of CT Ins Dept:
If you have liability only then your insurance would not cover. You can ask your neighbor to submit to his insurance...if not you can take it to small claims court. Again these issues hinge on negliegence of the other party.
12:11: Comment From GuesT:
can i remove the fallen tree before the insurance company responds to the claim?
12:12: State of CT Ins Dept:
Report it to your insurance comany and document the damage (take photos) the company can walk you through the process. You are required to mitigate your damages to avoid further damage.
12:12: Comment From deb:
what is the link for folks who need cash and food help?
12:14: State of CT Ins Dept:
www.disasterassistance.org is for FEMA disaster assistance
12:14: State of CT Ins Dept:
sorry it is www.disasterassistance.gov
12:15: Comment From Peter:
I have flood insurance. I keep hearing if you had damage, you should apply with FEMA. Do I need to contact FEMA? And for what reason?
12:16: State of CT Ins Dept:
Contact the claims number on your flood insurance policy. If you have losses in excess of that policy you can apply to FEMA.
12:16: Comment From Guest:
If I got roof damage but only to half of my roof, should my insurance company pay to fix my entire roof?
12:18: State of CT Ins Dept:
That is a determination that will be made by inspection. The ins co will make their determination but the contractor you hire may disagree if they cannot come to an agreement there is an appraisal process in HO policies that is used to decide these matters. If you have porblem call the Ct Ins Dept at 800-203-3447 we can help
12:18: Comment From Carla:
Will insurance pay for tree removal if the tree caused damage to the house?
12:20: State of CT Ins Dept:
There is coverage under the policy for removal of trees that cause damage to the structure... review your policy for the limits of that normaly it is $500 to $1,000. Call your company or agent and they can answer
12:20: Comment From Tina:
My driveway buckled terrible from storm Sandy so much so you can no longer park your car there. Would FEMA paid or at least partially paid for the damage?
12:22: State of CT Ins Dept:
FEMA has approved individual assistance for residents with uninsured losses in the southern 4 counties of the State you can go to their web site to apply we have information on the CID web-site as well. Again that is www.ct.gov/cid
12:22: Comment From Suzette:
Do homeowners insurance policies typically cover food lost due to long term power outages?
12:23: State of CT Ins Dept:
Not all but many policies do...check your contract or call your insurance company/agent
12:25: Comment From Katherine:
Can we expect insurance to raise our rates if we made claims during Irene AND Sandy? is that legal?
12:28: State of CT Ins Dept:
It is legal but companies vary on their pricing guidelines. Insurance rates areoften based on the number of claims and the severity (cost) of claims. Some companies do not weigh catestrophic claims as heaviloy as others. Insurance is also the pooling of risk so if the claims experience in CT is high rates may need to be adjusted. We have a very robust Ins market in CT so we alwaqys suggest that individuals shop around.
12:30: Comment From Guest:
What about FEMA grants to make improvements to curb flood losses in the future?
12:31: State of CT Ins Dept:
If there is significant damage to a home from Flood there are requirements to bring them up to new codes when being rebuilt. That does depend on the amount of damage, NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) and FEMA can answer that question for you.
12:33: State of CT Ins Dept:
One issue we always advise individuals with damage to do is keep a claims journal. Who you spoke to when...keep receipts for claim expenditures. It helps in the claims process and if there are disagreements down the line it helps the insurance department in handling your complaint against the insurance company.
12:34: Comment From DDC
I have damage quoted at $800, but I have a $500 deductable. Is it really worth me making a claim and have the chance of a rate increase, or would it be more pratical for me to pay the full amount out of pocket?
12:36: State of CT Ins Dept:
We cannot advise you what to do but read your policy and understand your responsibility to report occurences. If you do not report the claim and this minor damage gets worse it may not be covered.
12:36: Comment From steve
I had vinal siding come of fin the storm. Is is faded and new siding will not match. How much of the repair should insurance cover? And what if all siding needs to be remived from side of the house to make it match?
12:38: State of CT Ins Dept:
This issue does come up in claims... if you and the insurance company cannot come to an agreement on the amount to repair the claim Appraisal is available. Your appraiser and the company appraiser if they cannot agree will have an umpire make the final decision on the value of the claim.
12:43: State of CT Ins Dept:
Another service available to residents of CT is the CT Bar Association. They can answer questions on issues that may require legal intervention they provide insurance advice on a pro bono basis to disaster victims. They can be reached at (866) 209-5099 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
12:44: Comment From steve
If we need an "umpire" to make a decision on the siding is this decision binding and is a long process to get resolved?
12:46: State of CT Ins Dept:
It is binding. The process is much quicker than bringing suit. If you feel that any process is dragging out too long contact the CT Insurance Department and we will help to resolve the issue and bring it to conclusion.
12:48: State of CT Ins Dept:
Would recommend to all people again to review your policy and make sure that you have the coverages you need: A separate Flood insurance policy or other endorsements on your homeowners policy such as water and sewer back up. Or if you have Sump pump as separate endorsement for failure of that.
12:49: State of CT Ins Dept:
One of the good things for many coastal residents is that Hurricane Deductibles are not in effect for this storm. You want to cehck your policy too to make sure that you uinderstand what deductibles you have and how they work.
12:52: State of CT Ins Dept:
Some additional numbers that may be usefull (you can find these and other on our web site:
National Flood Insurance Program 888-379-9531 www.floodsmart.gov
FEMA 800-621-3362 www.fema.gov
United Way Statewide Info Line: 211 www.211ct.org
12:56: State of CT Ins Dept:
Thanks for the great questions if you have any others contact the CT Insurance Department at 860-297-3900 or 800-203-3447 or on the web at www.ct.gov/cid
You can ask a question or submit a complaint... The Consumer Affairs unit recovers on average over 4 million dollars a year for consumers!
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