SPOKANE, Wash. - Hundreds of people across the inland northwest spent the day on the phone with insurance companies, trying to determine coverage in light of Wednesday's massive storm. Even if you escaped the damage, it's a good time to understand what insurance will and will not cover in a storm like this.
A huge part of what makes our region such a great place to live is the abundance of pine trees. But, that's also what puts us and our property at risk. That's why the Northwest Insurance Council sent us some information today, encouraging us to go out and inspect our property. Even if the damage is minor, it's better to report it now and make sure it's covered.
When it comes to your home, your insurance will cover damage from wind and falling trees, even if the trees came from your neighbor's property. Insurance will also cover the cost to remove the trees that fall on buildings. But, your policy probably won't pay for trees to be removed if they fell without damaging a structure.
As for your vehicle, no surprises here: comprehensive coverage will pay for damage from wind and falling trees, liability coverage means you're probably out of luck.
The insurance council recommends you document damage and take pictures now. Also, if you need to make immediate safety repairs and can't wait for insurance coverage, document the repairs and save the receipts for reimbursement. And, file your claim as quickly as possible. The sooner you file, the quicker they'll get to you.
Finally, make sure any repairs you need to make are done by a reputable, licensed contractor. If not, that could not only affect the quality of your work, but your reimbursement as well.
You can find more information from the NW Insurance Council here: http://www.nwinsurance.org/.