The Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) is issuing guidance to individuals and businesses affected by the recent West Coast Atmospheric River, providing information on insurance coverage and the claims process following severe weather incidents.
The first step, it suggests, is to initiate the claims process promptly – policyholders are advised to contact their insurance agents or company representatives immediately to report damage. Providing a detailed description of the damage and, if available, a home inventory, will expedite the claims process. Insurance professionals are prepared to report losses promptly to insurers or qualified adjusters, it stated.
Standard homeowners’, renters’, and business insurance policies typically cover damage from windstorms, hail, and lightning. However, flood or mudflow damage requires a separate flood insurance policy, available through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or private insurers, it noted.
For businesses, damage from windstorms, hail, and lightning is generally covered under a Business Owners Policy (BOP) or a Commercial Multiple Peril (CMP) policy. Business income insurance, an optional addition, compensates for lost revenue, fixed expenses, and the costs of operating from a temporary location if the business structure is damaged by these perils.
ALE coverage, or loss of use, supports the extra costs of living away from home if it’s uninhabitable due to mandatory evacuation or damage from an insured disaster. This coverage is standard in homeowners’ and renters’ policies but is not included in FEMA NFIP policies, though some private flood policies may offer it.
For vehicle owners, comprehensive auto insurance coverage is essential for protection against damage from floodwaters or debris, like fallen trees. This optional coverage is chosen by nearly 80% of US drivers purchasing auto policies.
“The damages and devastation brought to millions of West Coast residents from severe rain and wind this week highlight the importance of being financially protected from catastrophic losses. As financial first-responders, the insurance industry is actively working to help its customers in need of recovery,” Triple-I CEO Sean Kevelighan said.
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