Answers to 8 common storm related homeowner insurance questions.

Q. My home sustained damage to its exterior due to a windstorm. What should I do until the Claims Representative arrives?

A. Your Homeowner’s policy has a provision for making temporary repairs. You should take necessary steps to protect your property from further damage. You may have tarps installed on the roof, siding, or broken windows to protect the interior from water damage. A contractor may be hired to complete these repairs. These costs are covered.

Q. My tree fell on a neighbor’s home due to windstorm. Which policy pays for its removal: mine, or my neighbor's?storm_damage_tree_on_house

A. The neighbor's policy should cover the cost of the tree removal, up to the limit of their Homeowner's policies for debris removal. Your policy may also contribute for any debris that has fallen on your own property. In most cases, homeowners are not liable for trees that have fallen on someone else's property when a windstorm has caused it to fall. (There could be some liability on the part of a homeowner if the tree should have been removed prior to the storm, due to a disease.) The Claims Representative inspecting your property will determine this.

Q. A storm has caused a general power outage in the area, and has affected my electricity for an undetermined amount of time. Is the cost of a motel covered under the insured’s homeowner’s policy?

A. No. Your property must sustain direct physical damage causing the power outage. The property must be considered unfit for occupancy in order to recover costs for motel bills.

Q. Is there coverage for interior water damage to the home if it is the result of exterior damage caused by windstorm?

A. Yes. All homeowner forms will cover damage to the interior of a home, if the home has first sustained damage to the exterior caused by windstorm or hail.

Q. Is there coverage for a flooded basement if the water enters through the sewer or sump pump system? What if the sump pump system fails due to a power outage?

A. If your Homeowner's policies includes an endorsement to cover damage to the interior of a home, and contents, as the result of sewer back up, or sump pump failure, even if the failure is caused by a power outage. The endorsement usually provides a minimum of $5000 in coverage. This is a combined limit to cover damage to the home, the contents, and any additional living expenses. Additional coverage may be purchased, usually up to a maximum amount of $50,000.

Q. Is there coverage for water that enters the home through basement walls, window wells, or the basement floor?

A. No. Water that enters the home in this manner is considered surface water, or water below the surface of the ground, and is specifically excluded.

Q. My home sustained windstorm or hail damage to the siding, roofing, or both. What happens if the same color or style of the siding, or roofing material, is no longer available?

A. Claims Representatives first look at the availability of the existing materials. If the same siding, or roofing material is available, we pay to repair only the area that has been damaged. Insurance Companies use several resources to research siding, and roofing samples for reasonable matches. These sources are able to determine if a reasonable match is available, along with the manufacturer’s name and color description. If they determine a reasonable match is not available, we then allow replacement of the entire home. A partial payment is issued, and the balance of the replacement cost is paid if it is completed within the time allowed by either the policy or the date the insurance company has determined is a fair amount of time to complete the work.

Q. What is my deductible for windstorm and hail losses? Also, if my home and automobile are damaged in the same storm, will a deductible apply to both claims?

A. The Wind/Hail deductible is prominently displayed on your declaration page. Some insurance companies have a unique benefit when you insure both your home and auto with them, it is the Common Loss Deductible. This enhancement changes the deductible provisions of the policies. A policyholder that has both their home and auto insured with an insurance company that offers Common Loss Deductible, then the insured will only have the single highest deductible applied whenever an occurrence involves both policies.

Save on commercial auto insurance in the off season

Ever mowed a lawn in January? Or plowed a snowy driveway on a hot July day? If you own and operate a seasonal business, chances are you aren't working in the off-season, so the insurance you carry should be different than what you carry in-season.

Leading commercial auto insurers like Progressive offer seasonal insurance for businesses like landscapers, snowplow drivers, ice cream truck owners, and more. These coverages allow you to customize your commercial auto insurance based on when your business is running on all cylinders — and when it's not.

Use these tips to get the most out of your policy in the off-season:

  • If your vehicle will be parked during the off-season, you may think you should cancel that vehicle's insurance during that time. But if you’d like to protect your vehicle and still save a little money, just switch your insurance to a Comprehensive-only policy. This will give you basic protection against incidents like vandalism, theft, falling tree branches and hail.
    A Comprehensive-only policy also gives you the bonus of having continuous insurance coverage. If you drop your insurance completely, you may pay significantly more to get a new policy when in-season rolls around because most insurance companies want to see proof of continuous coverage.
  • If you plan to drive your work truck or other vehicles for personal use during the off-season, let your insurance carrier know. They can adjust your policy to reflect personal use, which can be less expensive while still providing coverage.

Claims handling  is the most important feature of any insurance policy. Connell Insurance Advisors only partners with insurance carriers that provide exceptional claims service

Contact Connell Insurance Advisors for a free quote on your commercial vehicles today.

Four steps to stay safe if your car breaks down

Cars don’t last forever. In fact, occasional mechanical problems are inevitable.

April is National Car Care Month, which is an ideal time for a check up. Take your car to a professional – or brush up on the basics of auto mechanics. Some things to check are the oil, brake fluid, windshield washer and coolant levels, tire pressure, belts and hoses. Also, look under the car to check for any leaks.

Gear up for motorcycle season

Those lazy days of summer will be here soon. If you’re like most bikers, you’re gearing up to hit the open road as soon as warm weather hits.

Ice Dams

What Are They?

Ice dams can form on roofs in the winter months and can result in costly water
damage to the interior of a structure. The ice dams form when water freezes on a cold spot on a roof, usually at the eaves. Water that pools behind the ice dam can eventually work its way through the roof covering into the structure.

What Causes an Ice Dam?

Three conditions must be present for an ice dam to form:

Do you need Rental Car Insurance

Do you plan to rent a car on your next vacation? Before heading out, review this short video for advice on rental car insurance and the steps you need to take to insure that you are covered.

Credit Score and Insurance Discounts

Most people are unaware that their credit history can have a dramatic impact on their insurance rates.

Flood Insurance

With all the talk of flooding that is bound to occur in the Minneapolis metro area, this spring, you may be wondering if flood insurance is right for you. This video will help you understand flood insurance and how flood insurance can be a benefit to you.

Six Steps to Filing a Homeowners Insurance Claim

Follow the steps outlined in this short video to make sure your homeowners insurance claim is handled smoothly.

Theft Prevention Tips for Homeowners

Ways to secure your home before you leave for vacation.

By using these theft-prevention tips to protect your home and possessions, you and your family will have extra peace of mind, whether you’re away for a day or on vacation.

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