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Consumer Alert: Winter Weather

As we head into the heart of winter, Commissioner Miller is encouraging consumers to review their auto and homeowners insurance policies ahead of more frequent winter weather events.

Snow, sleet, and ice can cause more accidents on the roads, so it’s best to be prepared and aware of any coverage limitations in your insurance policy. Remember that while your insurance will help cover the damage resulting from a weather-related accident, you may still be responsible for paying your deductible. A deductible is the amount you have to pay before the coverage under your insurance policy kicks in. It’s important to know whether you have deductibles and, if so, how much they are so that you can be financially prepared if an accident occurs.

Be sure to review your policy, as collision and comprehensive coverage are not required by Pennsylvania law, though your lender may require you to have them. If you’re in an accident with another vehicle or structures like buildings, signs, telephone poles, etc., and the accident is your fault, then any resulting damage to your own care would be covered under your policy’s collision coverage. Damage to your car resulting from forces of nature like falling ice or tree limbs would fall under your policy’s comprehensive coverage. Contact your agent or company to review your policy and add any additional coverage you may need, and be mindful of where you leave your car parked (not under trees or gutters if possible).

Additionally, most standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for weather-related damage to your home. It’s a good idea to take steps to prepare your home before weather hits, like inspecting pipes for cracks or leaks and making sure that they are properly insulated, as well as keeping water supplies to outdoor faucets or spigots turned off to prevent freezing. Keeping dead tree limbs trimmed can help prevent breakage under the weight of snow and ice which could damage your car or home.

It’s important to be in contact with your insurance agent or company as soon as possible following damage to your car or home. Be sure to take photographs and give as much detail as possible. The more information you’re able to provide and the sooner you start the claims process, the sooner your property will be made whole.

Consumers who have questions or concerns about how a claim was handled can contact the Insurance Department’s Consumer Services Bureau online or by calling 1-877-881-6388.

Visit our homeowners and auto insurance pages for more information.