As hurricane Sandy has come and gone, the only thing left in the wake of her wrath is destruction; destruction to homes, cars, and streets. We constantly hear about water flooding somebody’s basement, losing electricity, and fires being caused. Yet, one of the most common insurance claims that resulted from Sandy in Rhode Island are downed trees.
What do you do if a tree falls on your home? Do you call your insurance company first? Do you leave the tree there as proof of damage? Do you clear the tree? How do you get the tree off and out of your house? Are you in full blown panic mode yet? Don’t worry; we know that many Rhode Islanders may have sustained some damage as a result of a tree falling in or around their home. Just stop thinking for a second and breathe. First things first, call your insurance agent! Your agent should always be your first point of contact. In the event of disasters, your agent may have downed power or inoperable phones. If that’s the case, call your insurance company directly via their 1-800 claims reporting number. Most of these numbers are available online via your insurance agent’s website. They will offer you guidance and prevent any freak out episodes. Now, remember to take pictures of the damage and report a claim before removing the tree. Would you get into a car accident, fix the car, then call up your insurance company and say “I took the liberty of fixing the damages done to my car in the accident I had last week. The cost is $5,000.” No, because you will end up getting nada. When you decide to remove the tree, opt for professionals. This is no time for a Do-It-Yourself project as trees can sometimes tug on and destroy wires attached to phone and electrical poles. If a tree does happen to drag along any wires, keep all children, pets, and you away because there is a chance that the wires may be live. Report the downed wires to your electrical company.
A common question we get asked is: “What if a tree falls in my yard? Will my insurance company cover the removal of the tree?” If a tree hits a structure that is covered by your policy (such as your home or your garage), then the damage to the structure is covered by your policy, subject to your deductible. In addition, the cost of removing the tree is covered, usually subject to a limit of $500-$1000 depending on your policy. If the tree just falls but it did not hit anything—thank God! Mother Nature spared you. Unfortunately, most policies won’t cover tree removal fees unless it is purchased as an add-on or an endorsement to your policy. If this is the case, you’ll want to check with your trusted advisor at Loiselle Insurance. You very well might have the additional protection and not even know it.
Remember, in times like these and in everyday concerns regarding your insurance issues, Loiselle Insurance Agency is here to help with any questions or concerns you may have. In the aftermath of Sandy, we are all grateful to be here and recognize that her destruction could have been worse. It will take time, but we will brush off (or bulldoze) the beach sand from our streets, rebuild our homes and businesses, and clean up the debris and trees. We will do it together! You have Loiselle Insurance by your side if you need us. Stop by, or call, because we care!