What to know if your home or vehicle was damaged in Snowmaggedon 2019

How to avoid water damage from frozen pipes

State Farm Insurance offers tips to help you keep your pipes from freezing during the winter.
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State Farm Insurance offers tips to help you keep your pipes from freezing during the winter.

With the recent winds and snow, you might be facing property damage.

Social media posts from South Sound-area neighborhoods showed everything from branches to carports on top of vehicles.

And let’s not forget the possibility of frozen pipes at home.

Here are some tips from the NW Insurance Council:

Clear your gutters. People fret about heavy snow and ice on their roofs, but melting and refreezing can lead to dangerous levels of heavy ice buildup in the gutters. If clogged, clearing them can save you from repairs caused by water damage.

Check vent pipes for furnaces, dryers and other flame-heated appliances for clogs to prevent carbon monoxide from building up inside your home or business.

Also remember to clear the tail pipe of your vehicle before starting if left parked in the snow.

What insurance typically covers:

Comprehensive coverage on your vehicle will cover cost of repairs if damage is caused by the weight of snow and ice or by falling trees.

Your homeowners policy covers damage to your home from falling trees and collapse due to the weight of ice and snow. Your policy protects you regardless of whether the tree is yours or from a neighboring property. It also might provide coverage if downed trees or limbs miss your home but destroy landscaping.

Removal of downed trees from buildings.

Damaged personal property (both home and renters) inside a damaged building.

Policies also typically cover expenses, up to your policy’s limit, for relocating if you can’t stay in your damaged home. This includes food costs, furniture rental and storage fees.

Costs for reasonable temporary repairs to prevent further damage to the building or contents.

What your policy might not cover:

Removal of trees that have fallen without damaging a building.

Upgrades that weren’t part of the home before the storm or not on your policy. For example, if a carport is added on to the house or is freestanding and your agent doesn’t have it listed on your policy, there could be problems having damage in a collapse covered.

“The language of your insurance policy and the specifics around why the carport collapsed are important factors, but key to it all is whether or not your insurer was aware of it,” Kenton Brine, president of the NW Insurance Council, told The News Tribune on Monday.

Damage tied to lack of proper routine maintenance, such as clearing leaves/debris from rain gutters or fixing leaks around windows or roof flashing.

If your home has been damaged, the insurance council recommends:

Make a record of what was damaged and take pictures and contact your insurance agent immediately. The agent can then give you instructions on next steps and whether to try to attempt a temporary fix. Save receipts for reimbursement.

Avoid contractors asking for a large deposit up front or bids that seem too low. You could either be paying too much or find yourself with a cheap repair that doesn’t fix the issue.

Don’t pay a lot for temporary repairs unless authorized by your claims adjuster. You could get stuck with the bill if the repairs are deemed excessive.

Don’t discard anything damaged until it has been examined by your adjuster.