There has been one blizzard in Maryland so far this winter, and it was a glorious one. Power outages, school and road closures and days of cleanup—it’s been quite the recovery! Many homeowners were also left dealing with property damage both from the blizzard and from the cleanup efforts. If you are one of them, read these tips from our Maryland insurance agents to get a better idea on how to handle snow-related insurance claims.
Types of Property Damage From Snow
Interestingly, snow itself doesn’t really hurt anyone—it just falls quietly from the sky. It’s when the snow accumulates and we try to remove it or battle it the accidents often happen. Here are some of the common types of property damage you may be left to deal with in an aftermath of a blizzard:
- Water damage inside your home due to ice dams on the roof.
- Roof collapse due to snow and ice accumulation.
- Flooded basement due to melting snow.
- Property damage due to the fallen trees and tree branches.
- Water damage from frozen pipes that burst.
- Sidewalk, mail box and vehicle damage from county road crews cleaning up the snow.
First Things First
If you have suffered any of the above damages, here is what you should do right away:
- Take lots of photos and videos. Don’t delay, because snow will melt and with it part of the accident scene will disappear.
- Report claims to your insurance company. However, if it’s something minor you could easily fix, think if it’s worth dipping into your deductible and adding to your claims history.
- Make a list of what’s damaged and what has to be tossed and replaced.
- Think about how you can minimize the damage now and prevent the same from happening in the future.
How to Report Damage Caused by the County
If you believe that the county is responsible for your damaged mailbox or a concrete slab that was dislodged from your sidewalk, it can be frustrating trying to find the right number to call. Reporting the damage to your county, city or township can be a different process depending on where you live:
- In Anne Arundel County, contact the Risk Management Division
- In Baltimore County, call the Department of Public Works or the Insurance Office
- In Baltimore City dial 311.
- In Carroll County, direct your complaints to the Bureau of Roads Operations.
- In Harford County, call the Division of Highways or the Office of Government and Community Relations
- In Howard County, get in touch with the Bureau of Highways.
- Read more about where to find the phone numbers.
The County will assign someone to investigate your claim, and if it is determined to be the County’s fault, the County’s insurance company will likely cover the damage. However, if it turns out that your property was in the right of way of the plow, you may not get the compensation you are looking for.
If Your Home or Vehicle is Damaged
If your home got damaged as a result of a snow storm, you should consider filing a claim with your homeowners’ insurance. Most policies cover typical types of damage associated with snow. But keep in mind that items like awnings, swimming pools, pavement, patios and other outdoor structures may not be covered under a standard policy. In addition to that, if it’s discovered that you didn’t take reasonable measures to prevent the damage, such as keeping the heat on to stop pipes from freezing, the insurance company may decline reimbursement.
If your vehicle got damaged by a fallen branch or tree, you should be covered if you carry comprehensive coverage. If all you have is liability coverage, you may be out of luck in this situation. Although cars mostly get damaged from accidents, you should definitely consider reviewing your coverage needs. If you park under a tree every day or if kids constantly throw a ball near your car, it may make sense to up your coverage.
Think you could use better coverage to protect you from weather-related damage? Give us a call or contact us online today for a free quote!