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The PROES Insurance Blog

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I thank you for your assistance in signing me up for insurance through the Affordable Health Care Act.  As a 62-year-old woman with no health insurance...
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January 19th, 2015

In Honor of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luthor King Jr
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January 12th, 2015

What to Do When Your Home or Car Is Damaged in a Winter Storm


Indianapolis – In November of this year, South Bend was hit with a record snow fall and winter storms have already left a path of damage and power outages in other states across the country. When a storm strikes, it is important to know what to do if your home is damaged or if you are involved in an automobile accident.

“With winter’s harsh weather upon us, every Hoosier should take steps now to make sure they are prepared in the event of winter storm damage or an accident on slick roads. Check your insurance policy to see what damages will be covered on your home, make sure your car is winterized and keep an emergency kit readily available in your car,” advises Indiana Department of Insurance Commissioner Stephen W. Robertson.

The Indiana Department of Insurance offers tips to help protect Hoosiers in the event of damage caused by winter storms.

What to Do if Damage Occurs to Your Home

Call your insurance company or agent with your policy number and other relevant information as soon as possible. We recommend that you take photographs and/or video of the damage.

Make the repairs necessary to prevent further damage to your property (i.e., cover broken windows, leaking roofs and damaged walls). Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs. Save all receipts, including those from the temporary repairs.

Cooperate fully with the insurance company, and ask what documents, forms and data you will need. If your home is damaged to the extent that you cannot live there, ask your insurance company if you have coverage for additional living expenses incurred while repairs are being made. Save all receipts to document these costs.

What Damage to Your Home is Covered?

Damage caused by wind, wind-driven rain, trees or other falling objects, and the collapse of a structure due to weight of ice or snow are all covered under most standard homeowners policies. Frozen pipes as the result of extreme cold might not be covered if the damage is due to negligence, such as failing to maintain an adequate temperature in the house when the ability to do so is there. Check your policy and call your insurance agent or company if you need clarification or have specific questions.

What Damage to Your Home is Not Covered?

The following events are typically not covered by the standard homeowners insurance policy: Interior water damage from a storm, when there is no damage to the roof or walls of your home; damage as the result of a flood; removal of fallen trees (if the trees do not land on and damage your home); food spoilage due to a power outage; and water damage from backed-up drains or sewers. Some insurers offer endorsements (i.e., additional protection that may be purchased) for certain coverages not covered under the standard homeowner policy. Check with your agent or company to determine your needs.

What to Do if You Are in An Automobile Accident

The Indiana Department of Insurance recommends a mobile app called WreckCheck that will guide you through all the necessary steps to take after an auto accident. The free smartphone app was created by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and is available on iOS and Android devices.

Through WreckCheck, consumers can snap photographs, write a description of the event, and record the information of the vehicles involved. App users can then submit the entire report to their insurance agent, or use the information to start their own accident report online. The app contains useful tips for what information and details are important to gather for filing an insurance claim.

The app also helps consumers know what information NOT to give out, such as driver’s license number or home address as those can be used by identity thieves.

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