Thursday, December 31, 2015

State Offers Help with Insurance Questions

The Oklahoma Insurance Department can help Oklahomans with questions about severe weather-related insurance claims. The free help is available by calling 1-800-522-0071.

“Right now we know Oklahomans are still dealing with the aftermaths of blizzards, ice storms, flooding and thunderstorms,” said Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner John D. Doak. “Oklahoma is no stranger to extreme weather but it never gets any easier to deal with. We want those with damage to know we are here to help.”

Water and Flood Damage

When it comes to insurance, flooding and water damage are not the same thing. Water damage is caused by water that hasn't touched the ground. If snow comes in through a broken window, melts on your floor and ruins your carpet, that's water damage, which is covered by your homeowner’s policy. Damage from a burst pipe or wind-driven rain may also be covered depending on the circumstances of how the damage was caused. The policy does not cover water damage caused by poor home maintenance such as overfilled gutters, neglected roofs, ignored leaks or condensation buildup due to poor ventilation. Insurance policies do not pay for lack of maintenance, faulty workmanship, faulty products or faulty installation.

Flood insurance is provided by FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program. A flood insurance policy covers physical damage to your property and possessions.

If you have any other questions about insurance, contact the Oklahoma Insurance Department at 1-800-522-0071 or visit our website

Ice-Related Home Damage

A standard HO3 homeowner’s insurance policy covers the following:

-Trees that fall on your house – this includes both the damage done by the tree and the cost of removing the tree

-Damage from ice and other objects that fall on the home

-Freezing conditions such as burst pipes and ice dams; however, there is generally a requirement that the homeowner has taken reasonable steps to keep the house warm.

-Wind-related damage to the house, roof or contents

Special note: HO2 policies do not cover for weight of ice and snow. Please review your policy for the weight of ice and snow coverage and if you do not have that coverage, talk to your agent about buying a policy that includes this coverage.

Ice-Related Auto Damage

Collision coverage of an auto policy covers damages to your vehicle from an accident where the other driver is uninsured, a single-car crash or where you were found to be at fault in the accident. Comprehensive coverage covers damage to your car caused by falling trees or ice, vandalism, theft and flood. Finally, liability insurance pays for the other people’s property and medical bills for vehicle accidents that you had been found at fault in causing.

Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director

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