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State agency assists Marylanders with storm damage insurance claims

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Posted at 5:33 PM, Aug 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-04 18:33:17-04

BALTIMORE — While many in Maryland avoided widespread damage from Tropical Storm Isaias, not everyone was as lucky. Strong winds caused power outages, downed trees, and property damage.

Commissioner Kathleen Birrane with the Maryland Insurance Administration said her team was up and operating at the crack of dawn, ready to assist consumers with questions about their insurance policies.

“Certainly if a tree falls on your roof there’s going to be coverage,” said Birrane. “So many people who had shingles off their roof or siding damage, those are the kinds of claims that are typically covered under your homeowner’s policy.”

Water damage is less straightforward. Depending on your insurance policy, you may or may not be covered.

“If you have damage, for example, part of your roof comes off and water comes down into your house that way that’s going to be covered that’s not flood. Flood is typically surface waters that come up and rise and come into your house that’s typically not covered. It’s almost never covered under a homeowner’s policy but it will be covered under a separate flood insurance policy from the federal government if you have acquired that,” said Birrane.

Policies may also cover food that spoils due to a power outage as well as temporary housing.

Commissioner Birrane said if you have any damage, see if you can safely get close enough to document it before anything is cleaned up, contact your insurer as soon as possible, and try to mitigate any further damage.

Also be on the lookout for potential scams including contractors offering enticing discounts.

“It is insurance fraud for a contractor to sort of reduce or give you a credit or I’m going to pay you to put my sign on your property and the amount I’m going to pay you is equal to your deductible,” said Birrane.

Her office is also available to mediate disputes and help connect customers to carriers.

“If you’re having trouble getting in touch with your insurance company we can make that call we have special contacts at every insurance company to make sure your questions get answered right away,” said Birrane.

If you have a dispute with your insurance company, you can file a complaint with the MIA by clicking here. The agency will then investigate. If they find that the insurer violated a policy or regulation, the company may be required to remedy the problem or potentially pay a fine.