Winter weather – what’s likely covered and what’s not

January 12, 2024 by PEMCO Insurance
GettyImages-1352983372.jpgWinter brings more than its share of weather woes for homeowners. If you wake up to find damage after a storm, know that your PEMCO policy offers worry less, live more protection for *most* of what Mother Nature dishes out in the Northwest.

Here’s some of what’s likely covered and what requires additional, special protection:

Likely covered

Burst pipes from freezing weather. Water damage is the No. 1 reason people file homeowners insurance claims, and your PEMCO coverage protects you if a pipes freezes, bursts and then floods your home once it thaws. When freezing weather is in the forecast, you can take important steps to prevent damage.

Roofs collapsed under the weight of snowfall. Heavy snowfall followed by soaking rains can create an excess load on vulnerable structures. Here’s what to know about shoveling snow off your roof.

Windblown trees falling on your home. If a tree crashes onto your roof, fence or deck, your PEMCO homeowners policy can help you repair the damage. In most cases, even if it’s your neighbor’s tree, your own insurance likely would pay. That’s because windstorms are considered “acts of nature.” The exception might be if your neighbor knew or should have known their tree was dangerous, in which case, it may be their responsibility.

Whoever owns the tree, report the damage to us so we can investigate responsibility. If appropriate, we’ll work with your neighbor and/or their insurance company on your behalf. And if it’s your tree that damages your neighbor’s property, we’ll investigate promptly (while the evidence is still there) in case someone files a liability claim against you.

Electronics damaged by power surges. Lightning strikes and power surges are covered by your homeowners and renter insurance. You can minimize damage by unplugging sensitive electronics like computers and TVs as part of your windstorm preparations.

Perishable food lost to power outages. Your PEMCO policy offers limited coverage, subject to your policy’s deductible, for food lost because of a power outage. Often, however, people choose not to file claims for lost food. That’s because, after paying their deductible, the amount they collect likely would be relatively small and, like any claim, it could disqualify them from receiving a claim-free discount on their policy. Here’s how to prepare your freezer for a possible power outage.

Emergency lodging and added living expenses. Under a part of your policy called “Loss of Use,” PEMCO can help you pay the added costs of temporarily moving to rental or a hotel (including added costs for takeout meals and extra gasoline for a longer commute) while your unlivable home is repaired following a covered loss.

Likely covered only by additional policies

Environmental flooding. “Atmospheric rivers” fueled by warm, tropical air can spark sudden, catastrophic flooding as seen in areas of Washington’s Skagit and Whatcom counties this fall. Standard homeowners and renter policies sold in the United States, including PEMCO’s, do not cover that kind of damage. You need specialized flood insurance, sold through the federal government and some private providers. Although we can’t sell you the policy, our professionals at PEMCO Agency can help you explore your flood insurance options with information we already have on file.

Landslides. Like virtually all homeowners policies sold in the United States, your PEMCO policy generally excludes coverage for landslides. We can pay to repair your home only if the damage resulted from a covered loss. If you’re concerned about landslides, we can help you find coverage (called a “Difference in Conditions” policy) through another company that specializes in that risk. Policies vary, but they typically offer all-in-one coverage for landslides, mudflows, earthquakes and floods.

If you have questions about your coverage, answers are as close as your local PEMCO agent or a representative at 1-800-GO-PEMCO. You also can log in to your account to see current coverages and limits.

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