The agency the spring can bring severe weather to the state.
Baltimore, Md (KM). The warmer spring weather can be very unpredictable. Even though the chance of snow is non -existent, the state can experience heavy rains, high winds and even tornadoes during this time of year. That’s why the Maryland Insurance Administration recommends you review your homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies. “They can make sure before they’re getting into this spring season that they have the appropriate coverage they need to protect themselves against either flooding or wind damage, or anything that might happen to their home,” says Joy Hatchette, Associate Commissioner for Consumer Education and Advocacy for the Maryland Insurance Administration.
But she notes that flood damage is not covered by homeowners’ or renters’ insurance. It must be purchased separately. Hatchette says you can go on line to floodsmart.gov for more information. “You can talk to your agent or your insurance company, and they can make sure you understand the flood insurance program and the policies,” she says.
Part of the review of the review of your insurance policies should include making an inventory of all your belongings. “In order for the insurance company to pay your claim, they’re going to want to know what you’ve lost,” says Hatchette. “And it’s difficult for you to remember the things that you had after an event. So we tell people go ahead and make that inventory up front.”
If you don’t want to make a list, Hatchette says you can photograph your belongings. “But if you decide to take pictures, I tell people make sure you take pictures of everything. Go into the closets; go into the garage; open up the drawers. Just make sure you get everything. Then store that inventory someplace other than your home,” says Hatchette. Some of those places could be with an insurance agent, in the cloud or a bank deposit box.
With a severe storm in the forecast, the Maryland Insurance Administration says remove all debris from your property so they don’t become projectiles. And when the storm has passed, and when it’s safe, Hatchette secure your home. Board up any windows which were blown out by heavy winds, or damaged by projectiles. “Take pictures of everything so that you can show that to the insurance company,” she says. “And if you spend any money on the wood to board up your home, make sure that you maintain those receipts.”
“And then give the insurance company the opportunity to take a look and examine your home before you do any major repairs,” says Hatchette. “Because failure to do that could prohibit you from actually getting your claim paid.”
After many storms or other severe weather, many residents often see “home repair contractors” in their neighborhoods. They offer to make home repairs at ridiculously low prices, and many demand up front payment. .”Before you have any type of work or someone to remove trees, contact the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation to make sure the person is licensed,” says Hatchette. “That way if they violate the law in any way, you can take action against them. It is critical that you make sure that you’re dealing with licensed individuals.”
The Maryland Insurance Administration urges consumers to get estimates from more than on contractors. They should also get three references from each of the contractors, and also ask about bonding and insurance. The Insurance Administration says check out any complaints against these contractors through the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland and other appropriate agencies.
For more information preparing for natural disasters. to go www.insurance.gov.
By Kevin McManus