Reports are surfacing across the state that many homeowners experienced ruptured water pipes due to the recent severe cold weather, resulting in damage to their property. Lieutenant Governor and Insurance Director Mary Taylor is offering insurance tips to assist homeowner’s with the claim filings process.
“This week’s bitter cold was not only a threat to our health and safety, but it also caused damage to many Ohio homes.” Taylor said. “If your home was damaged as a result of the record low temperatures, be sure to contact your insurance agent or insurer immediately."
Information and Tips:
• Take reasonable steps to prevent additional damage if permitted by public safety authorities and if you will not endanger yourself.
• If required to seek temporary housing, check your policy for “loss of use” coverage.
• Be sure everything is considered in your claim. Back up claims with written estimates.
• Repairing damage to internal plumbing caused by freezing will generally be covered by your homeowner’s policy. The policy should also pay for damage to carpeting, furniture, and other belongings caused by your own pipes freezing.
• Damage from water entering your home from an outside source, such as a broken water main, may not be covered. Damage from external waters may be classified as "flood" or "seepage," which is not covered by a standard homeowner’s policy.
• If you live in an apartment or condominium, and water from an upstairs neighbor's pipes damages your property, you will be covered under your own renters (or condo owners) policy. If you don't have such coverage, the neighbor's liability policy may pay for your damage, but only if you can prove the neighbor was negligent.
• Repairs to frozen pipes on your property but not in the home, such as in your yard, are not covered by standard homeowners insurance.
“Depending on the source of the property damage, you may or may not be covered,” Taylor added. “In addition to contacting your agent or insurer, Ohioans can contact the Department's Consumer Services Division at 1-800-686-1526. The faster you take these steps, the more quickly your claim can be processed.”
Ohioans with insurance questions can call the Department’s consumer hotline at 1-800-686-1526 and visit www.insurance.ohio.gov for information. You can follow the Department on twitter @OHInsurance and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OhioDepartmentofInsurance.