Bismarck, ND - As North Dakota braces for another winter storm, Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm warns that when a storm strikes, it is important to know what to do if your home or property is damaged.
Hamm said, "Although we North Dakotans deal with winter weather each year, when property is damaged we encourage people to follow simple procedures to ensure their insurance claim goes smoothly."
Call your insurance company or agent with your policy number and other relevant information as soon as possible.
Take photographs/video of the damage.
Make the repairs necessary to prevent further damage to your property (i.e., cover broken windows, leaking roofs and damaged walls).
Save all receipts, including those from the temporary repairs covered by your insurance policy.
Hamm warns that your homeowner policy may not cover all types of damage. "Now is a good time to review your insurance policy for specific coverages or exclusions." He also encouraged citizens to call their insurance agent with questions.
Damage caused by wind, trees or other falling objects, and the collapse of a structure due to weight of ice or snow are all covered under most standard homeowners policies.
Frozen pipes as the result of extreme cold might not be covered if the damage is due to negligence, such as failing to maintain an adequate temperature in the house when the ability to do so is there.
The following events are typically not covered by the standard homeowners insurance policy:
Interior water damage from a storm, when there is no damage to the roof or walls of your home; removal of fallen trees (if the trees do not land on and damage your home); food spoilage due to a power outage; and water damage from backed-up drains or sewers.
"I want to also remind people to do their best to prevent damage to their property," said Hamm. "Be careful with items such as candles, supplemental heaters, wood burning stoves and fireplaces and be sure to maintain heat in vacant structures that have water pipes."
Also included in preventive measures are removing snow accumulations from roofs, and using carbon monoxide and fire/smoke detectors. Residents may also want to have their homes and structures checked on by a friend or neighbor if leaving them vacant for long periods.
For questions on insurance policies or claims, call the ND Insurance Department at 800-247-0560.