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Dozens of homes damaged in deadly explosion, woman describes her neighborhood as a "war zone"

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Posted at 4:14 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 18:29:27-04

BALTIMORE — On the street parallel to Labyrinth Road, neighbors not only heard the explosion, they felt it.

"It lift up the whole bed slammed it and moved my bed to the side by the window. If my windows were closed, me and my grandson would’ve had it. We would’ve been in the hospital today," said Beverly Potts.

When Potts looked out the window, she saw a cloud of black smoke and shards of glass everywhere.

"It’s like a war zone around here," said Potts. "All my neighbors windows are blown out, all of them."

While neighbors try to come to grips with what happened, they’re also focused on restoring their homes.

Landlords are responsible for structural repairs and damage to the building while renter’s insurance covers the contents or personal property. It’ll also typically pay for a hotel.

Landlord insurance loss of use may cover rent you’re not paying if you’re unable to live inside.

Homeowner’s insurance will also cover damage and loss of use.

Below are tips from the Insurance Information Institute on filing insurance claims:

  • Phone your insurance professional immediately. Ask the following questions: Am I covered? How long do I have to file a claim? Will my claim exceed my deductible? (If your loss is lower than your deductible, you probably won’t want to go through the claims filing process.) How long will it take to process my claim? Will I need to obtain estimates for repairs to structural damage?
  • Promptly fill out claim forms. If you establish that you'll be making a claim your insurance company will send you the necessary claim forms—by law, these must be sent to you within a specified time period. Return the properly filled out forms as soon as possible in order to avoid delays.
  • Have the insurance adjuster inspect the damage. Your insurance company will probably arrange for an adjuster to come and inspect your home. An adjuster is a company representative who inspects property damage to determine how much the insurance company should pay for the loss. He or she will interview you and inspect the property.
  • Prepare for the insurance adjuster’s visit. Be prepared to show the adjuster any structural damage and have a list of damaged items ready so you can make the best use of the time.
  • Make temporary repairs. Photograph or videotape the damage, then take reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage. If possible, avoid throwing out damaged items until the adjuster has visited your home. Save receipts for what you spend—you may be able to submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement later.
  • Prepare a list of lost or damaged articles. You're going to need to substantiate your loss, so make a list of destroyed or damaged items, then make a copy of the list for your adjuster. Also supply him or her with available copies of receipts from damaged items. (Having a home inventory [iii.org] will speed this part of the claims process).
  • If you need to relocate, keep your receipts. If your home is so damaged that you need to find other accommodations while repairs are being made, keep receipts and records of all additional expenses incurred. Most homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for additional living expenses in such cases, but you’ll need to provide proof of the costs.
  • Don't be shy about asking questions. If you have any questions about the claim filing laws in your state, call your insurance professional or your state department of insurance.

The Maryland Insurance Administration can help mediate any disputes between consumers and their insurance providers. Click here to file a complaint.

And if renters are having issues with their landlords, the Fair Housing Action Center of Maryland may be able to help. Click here to find out more information.