Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Protection From Winter Storm Damage

Winter's here, and with it comes inclement weather. Here are some questions and answers on how to make sure your property is insured against winter storm damage.

Won't my landlord's insurance provide coverage for damage to my personal property?

No. Your landlord's insurance will provide coverage only for damage to the building itself, not to your personal property. As a result, you may want to purchase renters insurance to protect your property from winter storm damage.

What type of winter storm damage does renters insurance cover?

Standard renters insurance provides coverage for damage to your personal property that results from any of the named perils that are listed on your policy (e.g., hail, wind, fire). As long as the winter storm damage results from one of these named perils, your personal property should be covered.

What if the damage is the result of a flood?

Basic renters insurance doesn't provide coverage for damage that is the result of a flood. If you live in a flood-prone area, you'll need to purchase a separate policy or add a rider to your renters policy for this type of coverage.

What is the difference between replacement cost and actual cash value coverage?

When you purchase renters insurance, you'll want to know whether the policy provides replacement cost or actual cash value coverage for damaged property. Replacement cost coverage pays the actual amount of what it costs to replace the items that are damaged. Actual cash value coverage pays an amount equal to the depreciated value of the item that is damaged. Premiums for replacement cost coverage are higher than those for actual cash value coverage.

Are there any coverage limits for damage to my property?

Most renters insurance policies have coverage limits for certain items, such as jewelry. As a result, you should consider adding a rider to your policy or purchasing a separate policy that is specifically designed to protect your valuables.

How much will it cost?

The cost of renters insurance varies, and depends on factors such as where you live and the coverage amount, but most people are surprised at how low premiums are. So it's important to shop around and compare policies to make sure you're getting the absolute best deal.

Preparing for winter storm damage claims
There are some steps you can take to prepare yourself in case you ever need to file a claim for winter storm damage:

  • Prepare a household inventory by photographing or videotaping items
  • Keep receipts for valuable items
  • Have insurance information handy (e.g., insurance company phone numbers, insurance policy numbers)
  • Keep copies of the documents and information you've compiled in a safe place outside the house



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