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Filing claims can be costly; here's what insurance companies typically do and don't cove.

PMG FILE PHOTO - The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (ODFR) advises people to first gauge if damage done to their house or car is significant enough to warrant potential injury to their premium rates.

Oregonians should tread carefully before filing an insurance claim this winter.

The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation (ODFR) advises people to first gauge if damage done to their house or car is significant enough to warrant potential injury to their premium rates. People can determine if they should file a claim by asking their insurance companies or agents about their policy coverage, exclusions and deductibles. ODFR has also put together a list of generic coverage information to help people make that call.

Homeowners

Most homeowners policies will cover damage done to the house by falling trees and their branches, as well as ice and snow.

For instance, people may receive monetary support if severe structural damage occurs and the house becomes uninhabitable.

Compensation will then cover lodging, food and pet boarding. However, people most likely will not receive compensation for living expenses if their home only lost power and received minor damage, as it will usually be deemed habitable.

In other instances of minor home damage, like damaged or missing shingles, insurance companies will often only pay for replacement shingles, not a new roof.

Luckily, sudden damages from ice dams on the roof or burst pipes will most often be covered, especially if an ice dam leak leaves a stain overhead or broken pipes lead to flooding.

Homeowner policies may also cover food spoiled during a power outage. However, since food costs are often minor, asking insurance companies to pay may not be worth it, unless the request is added to another home damage claim.

Overall, ODFR advises people to reconsider filing a claim if the damage cost is almost equivalent to or less than a person's deductible.

Auto

Auto insurance policies have three coverage options for winter storm.

Comprehensive coverage protects against damage from falling trees or branches and applies even to cars inside garages.

Collision coverage protects against damage accumulated while driving, including instances where car owners slide on ice or hit storm debris.

Liability coverage protects against accidental damage to someone else's property or injury to another person during an accident.

Just like in cases of home repairs, if the damage to the car costs less or is almost equal to one's deductible, they should potentially reconsider filing a claim.

Before deciding, however, ODFR recommends that people check with their insurance company or agent first. Policy coverage, exclusions and deductibles are not the same for everyone.

To reach ODFR's consumer advocates with questions or concerns, call 888-877-4894, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the ODFR website at dfr.oregon.gov.


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