On Your Side: Reporting a winter storm insurance claim

On Your Side: Reporting a winter storm insurance claim

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Your property may have been damaged after the storm, and you are probably wondering what to do next. Insurance counselors from AAA answering viewer questions and concerns in Call 12 say to think safety first, stop further damage and call your insurance company to report it.

Central Virginia had a crazy winter storm this past weekend and the aftermath in terms damage to people's property and businesses is significant. The weight of heavy snow and ice caused roofs to collapse completely destroying some structures. "You want to safeguard things until you can get an adjuster out there maybe put plywood on it to stop further damage," insurance counselor Stephen White with AAA says. "If your roof caves in, put a tarp over it and try to stop further damage, but don't try and do all the repairs yourself. Let the insurance take care of that. Just stop the damage from getting worst."

Also, know what's in your homeowner's policy before neighbors' kids get hurt while sledding and playing in the snow at your house. What if one of them breaks a bone? White says start talking with your neighbor first and try to resolve it as friends, but sometimes accidents escalate into litigation. "This is a liability issue. It may go to court," White says. "You fight it, but ultimately what's going to cover it is your liability policy. It can actually go beyond that if damages are worse than the policy amount. So, if you have say three to five hundred thousand, and you get sued for a million, the insurance company is only on the hook for the face amount on the policy. The rest of it that's on the individual."

When it comes to storm damage to your car,  White says everybody's threshold for pain and suffering is different, so talk it through with your agent and see where you stand in terms of your deductible.

You'll have a better idea of whether to make a claim for your storm damaged car or take care of it out of pocket. "I'm not going to make a small claim and have insurance rate me for three years. That's a factor you have to weigh. Your insurance will go up at renewal if you do make a claim," White says.

White says most insurance policies have liability coverage but some don't, which is a good reason to review your policy before a storm hits.

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