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
Visit our homeowners and auto insurance
pages for more information.