February 18, 2021
Salem — If your home or car was damaged from the ice and snow storm,
the Oregon Division of Financial Regulation recommends calling your insurance
company or agent to ask about your policy coverage, exclusions, and deductibles
before filing a claim.
Winter storms can cause several different types of damage. Extensive damage,
such as trees falling on a home or car, may require immediate attention. However,
minor damage, such as food spoilage, a few missing shingles, or a scratch on
a car door, may not exceed your deductible.
Before filing a claim, it is important to know if the amount of your loss
is worth the effect filing a claim can have on your premium rates. It may be
better to handle repairs yourself, if the loss is less than or close to your
Review these tips to understand how your coverage may apply and talk to your
insurance company or agent to understand your specific policy coverage, exclusions,
A typical homeowners policy covers damage to the home caused by falling trees
or limbs and weight of ice and snow.
For example, if your home sustained severe structural damage from a fallen
tree or other storm debris, and it is deemed uninhabitable, you may qualify
living expenses, which helps cover the extra costs of lodging,
meals, and even pet boarding while you are unable to live in the home.
If your home lost power and received only minor damage, it will probably still
be considered safe to live in, so additional living expenses may not apply.
If your home received minor damage, such as the wind blowing a few shingles
off your house, your homeowners insurance will probably replace the damaged
shingles, but not the entire roof.
Winter storms can also create sudden damage caused by an ice dam on the roof
or pipes bursting due to freezing. This type of damage is typically covered,
and can be extensive if a pipe burst floods a home or minor, such as a leak
from an ice dam causing a stain on a ceiling.
Coverage may be available for food spoilage due to the power outage. However,
be sure to consider if the actual benefit from filing this type of claim is
worth the potential effect it can have on your premium. Remember, if the loss
is close to or less than your deductible you may not want to file a claim.
If you need to file a claim for another type of damage to your home, food spoilage
can typically be added to the claim you need to file for repairs.
There are three coverage options on an auto insurance policy that typically
apply to winter storms.
- Comprehensive covers damage caused by falling trees or limbs. This
includes while your car is parked inside a garage.
- Collision covers damage to your car that occurs while driving. This
includes hitting storm debris or sliding on ice.
- Liability covers damage you accidentally caused to another person’s property
or to a person who is injured in an accident.
Once again, if the cost to repair your car is less than or close to your deductible,
you may not want to file a claim.
Remember, the first step is to determine your policy coverage, exclusions,
and deductibles. Call your insurance company or agent if you have questions
about your policy, and take time to consider if the loss is extensive enough
to file a claim.
If you still have questions or concerns, the division’s consumer advocates
are here to help. Oregonians can contact the division’s advocates three ways:
Visit the division's
storm insurance resource page for more information.
About DCBS: The Department of Consumer and Business Services
is Oregon's largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For
more information, visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov.
About Oregon DFR: The Division of Financial Regulation
is part of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, Oregon’s largest
business regulatory and consumer protection agency. Visit www.dcbs.oregon.gov and http://dfr.oregon.gov/Pages/index.aspx .