Severe winter weather damage tips


COLUMBUS — Ohio Department of Insurance director Judith L. French provided insurance coverage and claim-filing information to help Ohioans who experience property damage from Winter Storm Elliott.

Insurance Coverage Basics

Most standard property insurance generally covers structure and contents damage from wind, hail, ice, water, heavy snow, and burst water pipes. Roof, gutter, siding, and window damage are also generally covered.

If a tree – or portions of it – falls on your home, garage or fence, your policy will generally pay to repair damage to the structure and contents, and tree removal costs.

Reasonable after-the-fact expenses are generally covered to predetermined time frames and amounts. Such as fire department charges, additional living expenses, temporary repairs, debris removal, and damaged tree and shrub removal.

Food spoilage is normally not included if the cause of loss is an off-premises power outage (downed power lines, etc.). Coverage for frozen/refrigerated items due to loss of power needs to be purchased separately.

Renters insurance covers the renter’s personal possessions, not the structure itself.

Insurance Claim Filing

Immediately document your losses before removing debris. Take photos and video.

Call your agent or insurance company and initiate claim filing. Incorrect or incomplete information will delay the process.

Gather the necessary paperwork and receipts to provide to your insurer. Consider everything before claim submission, and back it up with written estimates.

Consider making temporary repairs but don’t endanger yourself.

If required to seek temporary housing, check your policy for “loss of use” coverage.

Keep copies of all correspondence.

Ohioans with insurance questions and concerns can reach department insurance representatives at 800-686-1526 and [email protected]. More insurance information is available in the department’s severe weather preparation and recovery toolkit at

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