Ice storm insurance claims: Document damage quickly, expert advises
Published Monday, December 23, 2013 1:14PM EST
Last Updated Monday, December 23, 2013 3:08PM EST
It’s looking more and more likely that some people in southern Ontario might be spending Christmas with no power, as hydro crews scramble to fix downed power lines after a vicious ice storm ripped through the province.
But perhaps those with the worst holiday blues are people dealing with property damage, from sewer backups to crushed cars and damaged roofs.
Insurance experts say the most important thing people can do is immediately document the damage to their property, and then get in touch with their insurance provider as soon as possible.
“Everyone has cameras on their cell phones. If you can document it with pictures, with video, try to narrate what you anticipate or what you believe caused the damage,” State Farm Canada spokesperson John Bordignon told CTVNews.ca. “The quicker people can document the damage, and tell their insurance providers about it, the quicker they’re going to get their lives back to normal and be reimbursed for the damages they received.”
Bordignon says people should mitigate further damage by moving branches or tree limbs from damaged property, for example.
“If you have damage to your roof, for example, do your best to tarp them off, block them off as best you can so your home is not subjected to elements outdoors,” Bordignon said. “We highly encourage people to do whatever you can to protect your property and to prevent further damages from happening.”
Bordignon says most people will have insurance policies that cover damages to their homes and cars. But he still advises people to be familiar with the details of their policy, and to call their insurance providers for clarification. Some providers only cover issues like sewer backups, for example, if people specifically bought additional coverage. Other polices cover small things like spoiled food.
“Insurance education is a really important thing,” Bordignon said. “Sometimes you don’t really know what’s on your policy. You should read it and look at it before you really need it.”
You can read more about how best to deal with power outages at http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/ice-storm-2013-how-to-best-cope-with-severe-weather-power-outages-1.1604589.