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Insurance advice after the ice storm

With Saturday’s ice storm now over, it may be time to call the insurance company.

Since lots of claims will be rolling in over the next few days, insurance companies will bring on extra staff and extend hours, but the response times could still be delayed, Pete Karageorgos, a spokesman with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, told Breakfast Television on Monday.

He advised people to take photos of the damage, if possible to do so safely.

“Pictures tell a thousand words and it’s true. It will help the claims adjuster understand what happened and what was damaged.”

He also advised people to take an inventory of what was damaged and take steps to reduce any potential further damage.

For example, if there’s a hole in the roof, call a professional to cover it as quickly as possible to stop the situation from getting any worse.

Damaged cars would be covered under comprehensive auto insurance policies, Karageorgos said. But collision-only insurance will not cover damage caused by falling trees.

Claims for damages to cars and homes must be filed separately with the respective insurance provider.

“Two deductibles likely apply as well,” he said.

If a neighbour’s tree falls on your property, go through your own insurance company, advised Karageorgos. Your provider will determine damages and liability.

But before doing any of this, Karageorgos said the first rule is stay safe.

“Then report the damage to your insurance company when you’re sure you’re safe.”

Click here for more information. (Note: The Insurance Bureau of Canada’s website and customer service lines were down Monday afternoon.)