BEAUMONT, Texas — Many people affected by this week's wicked winter weather are busy cleaning and figuring out how to make repairs. Your first calls were probably to a plumber and your insurance company.
One of the most widely known insurance companies, State Farm, said its claims system is down. But, you are still asked to call, leave your information, and someone will call you back.
Tuesday's temperatures in the teens were no match for many of our homes. Pipes burst in our attics, walls and garages. Is your damage covered? That's a tricky question, and the answer will depend on your insurance policy and how it classifies busted pipes.
It could fall into water damage or loss from bad weather. Farmers Insurance agent Allison Wright encourages you reaching out to your agent and doing some research. "I would recommend if an insured has questions about what is covered that they reach out to their agent directly and ask can you go over my policy with me and tell me what is covered and what is not covered," Wright suggested.
A basic homeowner's insurance policy provides financial protection against loss due to disasters, theft and accidents. Most standard policies include four essential types of coverage: coverage for the structure of your home, coverage for your personal belongings, liability protection and coverage for additional living expenses. However, there are "exclusions," and some policies may not cover busted pipes.
If you find your policy doesn't cover damage from busted pipes, you may want to consider an endorsement on your policy or contract to protect you in the future.
As for dealing with the damage, Wright says “Take pictures. Documentation is key because the adjuster or the claims representative can’t be there with you when the damage is happening, and you won’t to be able to provide documentation for them as they were there they want to see that damage from your point of view."
You should also take videos while the water is running into your home. It makes the claims process quicker and easier. Also, don't throw out anything, including damaged sheetrock, until an adjuster sees you or gives you further instruction.
Editor's note: A prior version of this story said you could consider an endorsement on your policy to assist with damage from the 2021 winter storm. Endorsements would only you protect from future losses. We apologize for the error in our reporting.
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