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Storm damage

Storm insurance resources

After severe weather strikes, many home and business owners need to file insurance claims.

Before submitting a claim, determine whether the benefits of filing a claim for the damage outweigh the costs (often called a cost-benefit analysis). Make sure you consider your deductible as part of that analysis. The amount of your damage could be less than or close to your deductible. Then, determine if a claim will be beneficial to your situation. A reported claim could affect your future premium or ability to get coverage.

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation provides free help for people who need to:

  • Ask questions about the claims process
  • Understand their options and protections as a consumer

Call 888-877-4894 (toll-free)
or email dfr.insurancehelp@oregon.gov

If the consumer advocates have not been able to provide you with a resolution by phone, which addresses your specific concerns, a consumer can file a complaint.

In 2020, the Division of Financial Regulation helped more than 13,600 Oregonians with insurance claims and recovered more than $2.8 million from insurance companies on behalf of Oregonians.

Wind

  • If a tree falls on your house, your homeowners insurance may cover the damage. Even if the tree is rooted in your neighbor’s yard, you need to submit the claim to your own insurance company. Homeowners insurance generally pays 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 the wind blows a few shingles off your house, your homeowners insurance will likely replace the damaged shingles, but will not provide an entire new roof. Insurance companies pay to repair the damage done by a covered loss, in this case the wind. If the damage from the wind is only on one side of the roof, the insurer normally will pay only for the one slope of the roof to be replaced.
  • Inquire with your insurance agent or insurance company about what is covered, what is excluded, and what your deductible is before you make a claim.
  • If trees present a danger, consider having them removed.

Damage to vehicles

  • If a tree falls on your vehicle, the damage may be covered if you have comprehensive auto insurance, which covers physical damage other than collision. Comprehensive coverage is an optional protection.
  • If a car slides into your parked car, file a claim against the at-fault vehicle’s insurance company. If your car skids into another car or object, the claim should be filed with your own insurance company.

Cold

  • Homeowners 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.

Loss of electricity

  • Additional living expense coverage rarely covers paying for a hotel room because of loss of electricity.
  • For spoiled food, do a cost-benefit analysis before you file a claim. The cost of spoiled food in the refrigerator or freezer may not be much more than your deductible. For example, if your deductible is $500 and the loss of all of the thrown-away food is $600, it may not make sense to file a claim. A reported claim could affect your future premium or ability to get coverage.

Water

  • Sudden and accidental events that result from an ice dam on the roof or pipes bursting due to freezing may be covered. Talk to your insurance agent or company before you file a claim. If your deductible is listed at 0.5 percent, and your Coverage A Dwelling is $300,000, then your deductible will be 0.005 x $300,000 = $1,500.
  • If losing electricity caused the sump pump to not work, and water caused damage, the damage may not be covered. Generally, your policy will not cover groundwater seepage or water damage from backed-up drains or sewers.
  • Some insurers offer a small amount of coverage and others offer endorsements (added protection) that you can buy for water backup. Check with your insurance agent or company.

Floods

  • 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 usually takes effect 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.

Landslides

Your homeowners policy does 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 your insurance agent.

What to do if your property is damaged

  • Contact your insurance agent or insurance company as soon as possible to ask about coverage, exclusions and deductibles. Do a cost-benefit analysis to determine if you should file a claim.
  • 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.

Visit dfr.oregon.gov/preparenow to learn more about protecting your home before disaster strikes.


Questions or complaints?

File a complaint online or contact us:

Consumer Hotline
888-877-4894 (toll-free)

Insurance
Email DFR.InsuranceHelp@oregon.gov

Financial services
Email DFR.FinancialServicesHelp@oregon.gov

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