Storm Related Claims FAQs

Does my homeowners property cover damage covered by a storm, including wind?

Homeowners and property insurance generally cover storm damage, including damage from wind. 

A downed tree from the storm struck my home and caused damage.  What is covered?

Homeowners policies generally cover damage to the home or another covered structure, such as your garage, that a downed tree has caused. 

A downed tree did not strike my house or other structures, but it is blocking my driveway.  Will my insurance cover this?

Some policies require the tree to cause damage to a covered structure before it will pay for removal of the tree.  Some policies provide limited coverage for the removal of downed trees that block a driveway or limit access by a person with disabilities to a structure.

My neighbor’s tree came down on my house or car during the storm. Is the neighbor’s policy responsible for this damage?

Typically, this would be covered under your homeowners or auto policy.

My vehicle was damaged from a falling tree.  Is this covered? 

Your auto insurance policy, not your homeowners, would cover this damage if you carry comprehensive coverage. A deductible would apply to each damaged vehicle.

My boat and trailer in the backyard were damaged when a tree fell.  Does my homeowners policy cover this?

Generally, a homeowners policy only covers wind or hail damage to small watercraft and their trailers and accessories if the damage occurs while they are stored in a fully enclosed building. You may buy a watercraft policy to cover physical damage to the craft.

The wind from the storm blew shingles off my roof (or part of my roof) and caused water damage to the interior of my home.  What is covered? 

Generally, homeowners policies will cover wind damage to the roof.  The extent of coverage, if any, for the ensuing water damage will depend upon the type of homeowners policy.  The most common policy will cover the interior water damage, while another type will only cover water damage to the structure if the wind has made an actual opening through the roof or wall.  Likewise, water damage to your personal belongings caused by a windstorm is generally only covered if there is an actual opening through the roof or wall, unless you have purchased additional coverage.

(Commercial Power Outage) Power has been out since the storm and our business has not been able to operate; we have lost (frozen/refrigerated) inventory.  What is covered?

Typically, any commercial coverage for power outages must be caused by a covered peril that takes place on the insured premises.  Coverage for your inventory would depend upon the type of coverage you purchased.

(Residential/Personal Lines Power Outage) Power has been out since the storm and we have lost all of our refrigerated and frozen foods.  What is covered?

Most personal lines policies do not cover food spoilage resulting from power outages.  Some companies do offer certain policy enhancements or endorsements that have to be purchased separately, that will include coverage for food spoilage. This type of coverage is often limited to $500.

Will my company pay for a generator?

Policies typically do not provide coverage for purchase of a generator. 

My house is damaged to the extent that I cannot live in it until it is repaired. Does my homeowners policy pay for me to live somewhere else?

If your dwelling is uninhabitable due to a covered loss, the policy may cover your additional living expenses for the shortest amount of time necessary to repair the damage.  the insurance company will require you to document your regular expenses in the past and compare them to the expenses you incur while you are out of your home. The policy covers the amount of reasonable expense over and above your regular expenses.

Is there anything I need to do about the damage while I am waiting for the insurance company to send an adjuster?

Most policies require you to mitigate your damages by making reasonable and necessary repairs to protect the property temporarily from further damage. Temporary repairs would include boarding up broken windows and covering holes in the roof. Keep your receipts to document to your insurer the cost of materials and labor. Permanent repairs must wait until the insurance adjuster has had a chance to inspect the damageor the claim may be denied. If possible, take photos or videos of the damage before making any repairs, and keep all damaged or destroyed possessions for the adjuster to inspect. Your company can provide guidance on what it would consider temporary and reasonable repairs.

Will my insurance cover all my costs related to the storm?

Each claim may be subject to depreciation.  The initial claim amount will be paid based on the actual cash value of the damaged property (the replacement cost minus depreciation). If you purchased replacement cost coverage, the difference between the replacement cost and the actual cash value is typically paid once the company receives proof that the damaged property has been repaired or replaced. 

Windstorm damage is typically subject to a deductible that is larger than the deductible that applies to other loss.  A windstorm deductible may be a flat amount or a stated percentage of the dwelling limit.  This will be on the policy’s declaration pages.

My home has suffered flood damage as a result of a storm.  Is it covered under my insurance?

Flood damage or damage caused by rising ground water typically will only be covered if you purchased flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  It is not covered under a typical homeowners or renters insurance policy.   Policyholders should first contact their agent for their homeowners or renters insurance policy to report flood damage. Instructions on how to “File Your Claim” are available under Policy Holder Resources at  NFIP coverage information is also available at the Flood Smart website.

What types of losses caused by a storm are covered under my homeowners insurance policy?

Coverage varies by insurer and policy type, but typically damage to the building or contents caused by wind or rain such as water damage through a leaky roof will be covered.  Policies typically provide coverage against damage caused by falling objects such as trees. Damage caused by loss of electrical power such as spoiled food may also be covered. Some insurers offer optional coverage that provides protection against sump pump failure in limited circumstances.  Coverage is subject to policy terms and conditions and to any applicable deductible.  Contact your agent or insurer for specific coverage and claims information.

My car was damaged by flood waters.  Am I covered?

If you purchased comprehensive coverage under your auto insurance policy, you may have coverage available.  Contact your insurer or agent for specific claims information.

I have an oil spill in my basement.  Is there any assistance to help clean that up?

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has a 24 hour hotline for oil spill assistance. The telephone number is 1-800-482-0777.  In addition to technical assistance, DEP has a financial assistance program for qualifying persons.

What is a hurricane deductible?

Some insurance policies have a special deductible for losses caused by hurricanes.  This deductible is separate and different than the normal deductible in a homeowners policy. 

Hurricane deductibles in Maine typically range between 1% and 10% of the value of your home.  So, for example, if you have a home insured for $200,000 and your policy has a 2%  hurricane deductible, you will need to pay $4,000 before your insurance pays anything for hurricane-related damage.  A hurricane deductible may also be a fixed dollar amount.

How do I know whether my homeowners policy contains a hurricane deductible?

If your homeowners policy contains a hurricane deductible, there should be a notice on the declarations page. This notice should explain how much you are responsible for if you have a hurricane-related loss.  You will also want to check your policy to find out whether the deductible is per event, per season or per calendar year. If multiple hurricanes cause damage to your home during the coverage period, you may have to pay the deductible more than once. When you shop for coverage, ask about any hurricane deductible that may be part of the policy.  If you have questions about deductibles in your current policy, you should immediately contact your agent.  Do not wait for a claim to have your questions answered.

Where and when does a hurricane deductible apply?

A hurricane deductible can apply to losses that occur between the time that the National Weather Service issues a hurricane warning and twenty-four hours after the warning ends. The deductible may apply to any property in the National Weather Service’s forecast zone, even in areas that that don’t end up experiencing hurricane conditions.

Why are insurers allowed to use hurricane deductibles?

Hurricanes can cause catastrophic damage and large financial losses to an area.  Hurricane deductibles are a way for insurers to keep the cost of monthly premiums affordable for property owners.  Without these deductibles, insurers would need to charge property owners higher monthly premiums, which may make the insurance coverage unaffordable for some.