HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller today advised consumers to plan ahead and review their homeowners and auto insurance policies as winter weather conditions like snow, sleet, and ice become more frequent.
"Winter is coming, and it is important that you plan a head so you are able to respond quickly in the event of a car accident or damage to your home," said Commissioner Miller. "Understanding how your policy handles these weather-related incidents can help ease the process if you need to file a claim."
Most standard homeowners policies provide coverage for cold weather-related damage; however, taking steps to prepare your home may help mitigate some of these issues before they arise. Homeowners should take steps to check pipes for cracks or leaks, ensure that pipes are well insulated, turn off the water supply to outdoor faucets and try to maintain a constant temperature to help prevent pipes from freezing. Trimming dead tree branches can also help reduce the chance of a branch breaking under the weight of snow or ice and causing damage to your home or a vehicle.
If damage does occur, property owners should only make temporary repairs that are necessary to prevent further damage until an adjuster is able to view the property. Making permanent repairs without the guidance of an adjuster may result in a claim's denial.
Always exercise extreme care when driving in severe weather. Even if snow or sleet is no longer falling, road conditions can still be dangerous and slippery. If you know you need new tires, it may be good to replace them before a storm hits.
If weather conditions contribute to an accident, your insurance will help pay for the damage, but you may still have to pay your deductible. Damage to your vehicle caused by hitting another car or structures like a lamp post, telephone pole, building, sign, or fence will be covered under your policy's collision coverage. Damage from forces of nature like falling ice or tree limbs is covered under comprehensive.
"Be sure to contact your insurance company as soon as possible after an accident or receiving damage to your vehicle or property," said Commissioner Miller. "Reporting these incidents quickly and heeding instructions given from your company is the best way to ensure that your property is repaired or replaced as needed."
Consumers who have questions or concerns about how a claim was handled can contact the Insurance Department's Consumer Services Bureau by calling 1-877-881-6388 or online at http://www.insurance.pa.gov/Pages/ContactUs.aspx.
For more information on homeowners and auto insurance, visit www.insurance.pa.gov.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ali Fogarty, 717-787-3289
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Insurance Department