Storm insurance resources
After severe weather strikes, many home and business owners need to file insurance claims. The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation provides free help for people who need to:
- Ask questions about the claims process
- Understand their rights and protections as a consumer
File a complaint
In 2019, the Division of Financial Regulation helped more than 12,500 Oregonians with insurance claims and recovered more than $4 million from insurance companies on behalf of Oregonians.
- Most homeowners and renters policies do not cover flood damage. However, you can buy flood insurance from the
National Flood Insurance Program and some private insurers.
- The policy generally does not take effect until 30 days after purchase.
- You can buy flood insurance from a licensed private insurance company or an independent property and casualty insurance agent in Oregon. Call the National Flood Insurance Program at 877-336-2627 (toll-free) for an agent referral.
Generally, your policy will not cover groundwater seepage or water damage from backed-up drains or sewers. However, some insurers offer a small amount of coverage and others offer endorsements (added protection) that you can buy for water backup. Check with your agent or company.
- If a tree falls on your house, your homeowner policy may cover the damage. If the tree belongs to a neighbor, your insurance company will investigate whether there is any responsibility on the part of the neighbor.
- Homeowner policies generally pay to remove debris from your home or outbuildings if a fallen tree causes damage. However, if a tree falls and does not damage the residence, the typical policy does not pay to remove the tree.
- If you have trees that present a danger, you should consider having them removed.
- If the wind blows a few shingles off your house, your insurance company will likely replace the damaged shingles, but will not provide an entire new roof. Insurance companies are responsible for paying to repairing the damage done by a “covered loss,” in this case the wind. Regular home maintenance is the homeowner’s responsibility.
- If a tree falls on your car, the damage may be covered if you have comprehensive auto insurance, which covers you for physical damage other than collision. This type of auto insurance is optional.
- Homeowner policies generally cover damage to your house from the weight of ice and snow, but do not cover damage to a retaining wall, foundation, fence, or paved area.
- If your home (or dwelling) is unoccupied, maintain heat in the building and shut off and empty the water supply.
Your homeowner policy will not cover earth movement, which includes landslides, mudflows, and erosion. You can usually add earthquake coverage for an additional premium. However, earthquake insurance does not cover a loss caused by landslides or erosion. Specialty coverage for landslides may be available; contact an insurance agent.
What to do if your property is damaged
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
- Protect your property from further damage (save receipts).
- Do not make permanent repairs until your insurer inspects the damage.
- Make a detailed list of the damaged property, including brand names and model numbers.
- Take photographs or videos of the damage.
dfr.oregon.gov/preparenow to learn more about protecting your home before disaster strikes.