Large parts of eastern and northeastern Washington suffered significant storm damage on Friday, when high winds and heavy rains ripped through the region, toppling trees, cutting power lines and damaging cars and homes. Flash floods also damaged some areas.
As homeowners, businesses and vehicle owners pick up the pieces, here are some key things to know about insurance claims:
Direct damage to insured structures by wind, wind-driven debris and falling trees is generally covered under standard homeowners and business coverage.
As for vehicles: If you have comprehensive coverage, that will also generally cover damage to a car or truck from falling limbs, etc.
Immediately contact your agent or insurer, who can help walk you through the claims process. If the damage is severe enough that you cannot remain in the home, your policy may include some coverage for temporary living quarters.
Flood damage is usually only covered if you had flood insurance. Contrary to what many people think, flood coverage is NOT part of a standard homeowners policy. In Washington, the first stop for flood coverage is often the National Flood Insurance Program, a federal insurance program sold through local agents.
As for the damage, be sure to take pictures. Avoid making permanent repairs or discarding damaged property until claims officials can document the damage or loss. If you can safely do it, try to minimize further damage, such as covering broken windows.
Here's a more-detailed list of tips for filing an insurance claim after a natural disaster.