Michigan Department of Insurance and
Financial Services Offers Tips to Michigan Residents; Know Your Rights When Working with Insurance Companies
LANSING, MICH. With the severe winter weather over the past week and the expectation for more coming later this week, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is providing tips to consider when working with insurance companies to file a claim and repair damages.
“When working with insurance companies, make sure you thoroughly document your damages and know your coverage rights,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox.
Consumers are encouraged to take the following steps if you suffer damages or a loss:
- Contact your insurance agent or your insurance company's toll-free claims number as soon as possible. Keep a record of the time, date, topic, and name of the person you talk to every time you call.
- Make temporary repairs as needed to prevent further damage as required in your policy. For example, a hole in the roof should be covered by a tarp or other material to keep water or other weather elements out. Further damage may not be covered by insurance if temporary repairs are not completed. Keep receipts for materials you buy so you can be reimbursed. Do not make permanent repairs until your insurance company has inspected the damage. If you do, your claim might be denied.
- Take pictures, if possible, of the damage.
- Start making a list of all personal property destroyed or damaged. Note the approximate date, price, and place of purchase and attach any sales receipts you have. The adjuster will request this information. In addition, the insurance company may want to inspect the damaged items, so do not throw anything away.
- Ask your insurance agent or company if your policy covers living expenses until repairs are made to your home. Many homeowners’ policies provide for temporary lodging and meal expenses up to 20 percent of the insured value of your home.
- Check your policy for debris removal. Many policies do include the removal of storm-related debris, like brush, limbs and logs.
Standard homeowners or business owners’ insurance policies cover a wide range of winter-related disasters such as burst pipes, ice dams, wind damage, leaky roofs, and a building collapse caused by the weight of ice or snow. Coverage for backup of sewers and drains may also be available by purchasing additional endorsements to your policy. Flood damage is excluded from most standard policies.
“It is important to read your policy closely and make sure you understand the provisions. Talk to your agent or insurance company to clarify any questions you may have regarding your policy coverages,” added Fox.
Anyone with questions or concerns about their insurance coverage is asked to call the DIFS toll-free hotline at 877-999-6442.
If you believe your insurance company has not handled your claim properly, file a complaint with the DIFS. They will determine whether your insurance company has followed the Michigan Insurance Code and your policy language in their processing of your claim.
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