Sr. Public Aff. Specialist, CT/DE/NJ/PA
O: (302) 299-4168
C: (610) 291-7312
PHILADELPHIA, PA (July 30, 2021) After widespread damage to homes and vehicles caused by heavy rain, strong winds and tornados, some property owners may be picking up the pieces while trying to figure out how to handle property damage to homes and/or cars. AAA Mid-Atlantic Insurance Experts offer tips on how to protect your property and handle damage felt by this latest summer storm.
“Yesterday’s wild weather has left many home and vehicle owners to wonder what damage is covered under their insurance policies and how to start the claim process,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Property damage from strong winds and damaging storms can be an unexpected financial hardship for many. If you were lucky enough to avoid damage, these storms should serve as a reminder that now is the time for homeowners to review their insurance policies to become familiar with their coverage, so they are prepared and informed if, and when, disaster strikes.”
AAA Tips on Insurance Coverage for Vehicles and Homes
- Physical damage to a car caused by heavy wind or fallen tree limbs is covered under the optional comprehensive portion of an auto policy.
- If your car is damaged by a fallen tree or limbs, you would need to file a claim using your vehicle policy’s comprehensive coverage.
- If your tree falls on your house, your insurance will cover removal of the tree and home repairs due to damage.
- If your tree falls on your neighbor’s house, your neighbor’s homeowner’s policy would provide insurance coverage. The same holds true if your neighbor’s tree falls on your home; you would file a claim with your own insurance company.
- If a tree falls in your yard, but doesn’t hit anything, you would pay for its removal in most cases.
- Additionally, if a tree on your property is weak, damaged, or decayed, but you do nothing about it, and it crashes down on a neighbor’s home (or vehicle), you could be held liable for damages.
- Wind-related damage to a house, its roof, its contents and other insured structures on the property is covered under standard homeowner’s insurance policies. Wind-driven rain that causes an opening in the roof or wall and enters through this opening is also covered.
- Damage to a house and its contents caused by a collapse is covered under standard homeowners insurance policies.
For homeowners who experienced damage to cars, homes or property, AAA Insurance recommends these tips to help the claims process go smoothly:
- Take appropriate immediate and temporary measures to prevent further damage. If you do make minor repairs before an insurance adjuster arrives, save receipts to submit for reimbursement.
- Phone your insurance agent or company immediately. Be prepared with a list of questions ahead of time: Am I covered? Does my claim exceed my deductible? How long will it take to process my claim? Will I need to obtain estimates for repairs to structural damage?
- If your home is damaged to the extent you cannot live there, find out if you have coverage for additional living expenses for accommodations while repairs are completed. If you do stay at a hotel, keep your receipts for reimbursement.
- Schedule a time for an adjuster to inspect the damage to your property.
- Prepare a list of lost or damaged articles. Avoid throwing out damaged items until the adjuster has visited. Consider photographing or videotaping the damage.
- Get claim forms. Insurance companies will send required claim forms by a specified time period. Be sure to completely fill out the form and return promptly to avoid delays.
In addition, AAA offers some additional resources on contractors:
- Selecting a roofing contractor: https://csaa-insurance.aaa.com/content/aaa-ie/b2c/en/primary-nav/tips/home-tips/roofing-contractor.html
- Tips for avoiding disaster construction fraud: https://csaa-insurance.aaa.com/content/aaa-ie/b2c/en/primary-nav/press-room/press-article-128.html
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to more than 62 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Pennsylvania. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stock, membership corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can map a route, access a COVID travel restriction map, find local gas prices and electric vehicle charging stations, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information on joining or renewing a Membership, visit www.AAA.com.