COLUMBUS – Strong winds, lightning and rain from recent storms have downed trees, broken windows and flooded basements in parts of Ohio. While some homeowners are left picking up the pieces, experts say others should find and examine their insurance policies.
Ohio Insurance Institute president Dan Kelso recommended an annual review of homeowners insurance to be certain it is sufficient, and to be aware of changes. For example, when a home’s value increases, it can affect an insurance claim.
“If you have coverage that’s less than 80 percent of the total value of your property, when you go settle a claim, the claim is not going to be for 100 percent of the loss,” he said. “So, you have to keep your valuation on the coverage of your policy somewhat equivalent to the market value of that property.”
Damage to roofs, walls and ceilings caused by wind, downpours and downed trees typically are covered by homeowners insurance. Kelso said companies have differing rules regarding hail, and flooding requires a specific type of insurance policy.
Kelso said price typically is most important to consumers when they shop insurance companies and policies, but it isn’t the only factor to keep in mind.
“You have to consider the whole service-and-claims side,” he said. “So, if the policy is a little more expensive than the other one that you’re looking at, there may be a reason for that. And it could be better service and better claim service. So, I wouldn’t advise anybody to just shop totally on price.”
For those who think storm damage just won’t happen to them, Kelso said to think again.
“Over the last seven or eight years, we’ve had a whole series of weather-related incidents, whether it’s been wind or hail or large rainstorms, that kind of thing,” he said. “They can happen anywhere, and particularly this time of year.”
He said people who have experienced some weather-related damage should be sure to photograph it, and contact their insurance company with questions or to file a claim.
More information is online at ohioinsurance.org.