The Department of Banking and Insurance today provided instructions on how to file a homeowner’s or auto insurance claim for storm damage, as well as information on flood insurance, to help New Jersey homeowners who suffered property damage from the tropical storm that struck the state to have .
“Tropical Storm Ida caused widespread damage across the state. Residents who suffered property damage or auto damage from the storm should know they can file a claim with their homeowners and auto insurers. We also want residents to know that if they have a problem or concern related to their insurance claim they can contact the department for help, “said Commissioner Marlene Caride.
Home insurance protects homeowners from damage to their home, other structures unrelated to the home such as freestanding garages, storage sheds and fences, and personal property such as furniture. Household contents insurance excludes water damage from flooding. Tenant insurance also excludes coverage for flood damage. Only flood insurance covers a person’s home and personal belongings from floods. Consumers can purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program, a federal program that is the premier provider of home flood insurance. Private flood insurance is also an option.
Damage to a personal or commercial vehicle from flooding is covered by the optional fully comprehensive insurance of a car policy (also known as comp or “out of collision”). If you have comprehensive coverage, contact your agent or company to file a claim. If you only have liability insurance, your insurance will not cover any flood damage to your vehicle.
Hurricanes pose many threats to coastal communities and inland New Jersey. A storm that is not as strong as a major hurricane can still cause extensive damage. The peak potential for hurricane and tropical storms in New Jersey ranges from mid-August to late October. The hurricane season runs from June 1st to November 30th.
How to File a Homeownership Insurance Claim, Commercial Property Insurance Claim
Call your agent or insurance company. Call your agent or insurer as soon as possible to report your loss. Have your policy number ready, along with all relevant information, and have pen and paper ready to record the claim number, the contact information of the assigned claims representative and any important information about your claim. Ask your agent or insurance company what documents you need to provide. If you have any questions, your agent or your insurance company will help you.
Carry out necessary repairs. If your property has been damaged, it is important to make all necessary temporary repairs to protect the property from further loss or damage. For example, if the windows are broken, have them boarded up to protect against vandalism or the weather. Save any receipts or invoices to submit for your claim.
Work with the claims adjuster. Your insurance company hires a claims adjuster to examine the damage and determine the insurance coverage. You should work with the assessor and keep written records of discussions about your claim. The company should provide you with a copy of the damage estimate and, if requested, provide you with the name of a contractor who will carry out the work at the estimated price. You are not required to use the contractor recommended by the company. If all or part of the damage is not covered, the company must explain how coverage is excluded under your policy.
Understand public adjusters. Public adjusters, licensed by the Department of Banking and Insurance, are professionals who can be hired by policyholders to assess damage to their property and negotiate their insurance claims. They are paid out of a policyholder’s claims settlement proceeds, typically a percentage of the total amount received. State regulation requires that public appraisal contracts contain a list of the services to be provided and the maximum fee to be charged, “which fees are in reasonable proportion to the services provided” and should not be excessive. They are not required to make or resolve claims with an insurance company. Consumers who have questions about the procedure can contact the department.
Document the damage. It is recommended that consumers / business owners take photos of any damaged items prior to disposal and, if possible, retain the damaged items until the insurance company either inspects them or reports them for disposal. Consumers / business owners should check with the insurance company on how to proceed as in most cases the company requires that the damaged property be physically available for inspection and not removed or destroyed.
Dispute Resolution. If you and the insurance company do not agree, first try to resolve your problems with the insurance company. Sometimes it helps if your contractor speaks directly to the claims adjuster. If you can’t resolve the dispute with your insurance company, you can:
- Contact the Department’s Consumer Line at 1-800-446-7467 (Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST) or go to the Department’s website and click Consumer Assistance – Inquiries / Complaints below https://www.dobi.nj.gov
Understand flood insurance
Flood insurance is not included in most homeowner policies, as well as policies for businesses, homeowners, and tenants. Consumers can purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or from an insurance company that offers private flood insurance.
Consumers should be aware that flood insurance is only effective 30 days after the sale. Therefore, consumers who want flood insurance for this storm season should contact a licensed flood insurance agent immediately and not wait for another approaching storm.
Further information on flood insurance through the NFIP can be found at: www.floodsmart.gov.
New Jersey consumers can start purchasing personal flood insurance by getting the List of the Ministry’s private flood insurers.
For more informations
Learn more about it Homeowner insurance coverage
Learn more about it Insurance coverage for the tenant
To find out more about the. to experience National flood insurance program
Learn more about it Emergency Preparedness in New Jersey
This news release was prepared by the Belleville Community. The views expressed here are your own.