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Filing insurance claims after powerful storms cause damage throughout Maryland

Posted at 3:46 PM, Jun 06, 2024

BALTIMORE — Powerful storms caused damage throughout Maryland on Wednesday. Drivers and homeowners dealing with the clean-up will also need to file insurance claims.

The Maryland Insurance Administration has tips on filing claims. One of the first things policyholders should do is document the damage with photos and videos.

Call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the property damage. Keep a record of everyone you talk with about the damage, including your insurer, insurance adjuster and contractors. And make sure you understand what’s covered under your policy and how much your deductible is.

For automobile insurance, flooding is covered by comprehensive coverage, however, this is different than collision coverage. And per Maryland law, your insurance company has to total your vehicle if the repairs are more than 75 percent of how much your car is worth. It is important to know that your insurance company is allowed to make a safety or financial decision to total your car even if the repairs are less than 75 percent of the value. If your car is totaled, and you think it's worth more than what you were offered, negotiate and explain why the valuation is higher.

With homeowners’ insurance, general damage, including wind is covered. Flood damage is covered by a separate flood insurance policy.

Keep all receipts for emergency repairs and for temporary living expenses. And prepare a detailed inventory of all damaged or destroyed property with a description of the item, date of purchase or approximate age, original cost, and estimated replacement value.

If you believe your insurer wrongly denied your claim or isn't complying with the terms of your policy, file a complaint with the Maryland Insurance Administration (MIA).

The MIA is holding a Virtual Disaster Center on June 11 between 1–2 p.m. and 6-7 p.m. Registration is not required. Anyone with insurance-related questions can join their Zoom call then speak with a representative in a private breakout session. Below is the Zoom information.
Zoom link to join:
Dial-in number: (646) 828-7666 Meeting ID: 161 415 952

For additional tips on post-disaster automobile and homeowners’ insurance claims, click here.

Also, be on the lookout for storm chasers or out-of-town contractors that offer to do repairs for a fraction of the cost. If they’re not licensed with the state, customers have very little recourse.

Before exchanging any money, get multiple quotes, look them up on the Maryland Home Improvement Commission's website, never pay the full balance up front, and make sure there's a contract that includes their full name, address, and contact information.