In the aftermath of recent storm, Insurance Superintendent reminds Mainers that the Bureau of Insurance is here to help.
Bureau staff can address questions about property claims and related complaints
AUGUSTA – In the aftermath of last week’s storm, Maine Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa reminds Maine residents with weather-related property damage that the Bureau of Insurance is a resource for those with questions about homeowners, renters, auto, or commercial property policies. Cioppa also reminded those impacted of the following best practices when experiencing storm damage:
- Move quickly to contact your insurance company. Get in touch with your insurance company as soon as possible to report your loss. You may also want to contact your insurance agent.
- Take notes. When contacting the insurance company or agent, keep a record of the people you spoke to, when the conversation occurred, and summarize the discussion. Ask questions if you do not understand instructions. If possible, photograph the damaged property.
- Expedite access to damaged areas. If possible, remove items or debris that will hinder the adjuster's access and ability to complete the examination of the property, and protect the property from further damage.
- Wait for the adjuster to arrive. Do not permanently repair your damaged property without first getting instructions from your adjuster. Usually the adjuster will need to visually inspect the damage before repairs are made. Do not throw away damaged property until your adjuster says it’s okay to do so and make only temporary repairs until a claims adjuster looks at the damage. Making permanent repairs before the adjuster’s inspection could trigger a denial of your claim.
The Bureau recommends a number of proactive steps to prepare for future property damaging events:
- Plan now for a possible future claim. Inventory your personal property and store the information virtually, or in another physical location, for safe keeping. Review your policies to be sure you have adequate coverage. Wind damage is covered under a homeowner’s policy, but it is important to insure your home and belongings to their full replacement cost. Flooding is generally not covered under standard homeowner’s policies, so ask your agent about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). If you rent a house or apartment, talk to your agent about renters’ insurance.
- Learn the facts about flood insurance. You can protect your home (up to $250,000 in coverage) or business (up to $500,000), including belongings, with flood insurance from NFIP, which can be purchased from private insurance companies and agents. Whether you rent or own your home or business, make sure to ask your agent about contents coverage. It is not automatically included with the NFIP building coverage. There is usually a 30-day waiting period before the flood coverage goes into effect. For more information, contact NFIP at 1-800-638-6620 or visit www.floodsmart.gov.
Contact the Property & Casualty Division of the Bureau of Insurance with questions or concerns related to damage that has recently occurred, or for additional information to prepare for the future, by calling 207-624-8475, 1-800-300-5000, or TTY Maine Relay 711; or visit www.maine.gov/insurance.
The Maine Bureau of Insurance is part of the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation (www.maine.gov/pfr), which encourages sound business practices through high quality, impartial and efficient oversight of insurers, financial institutions, creditors, investment providers, and numerous professions and occupations.