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Insurance agents offer tips for filing storm damage claims

By Jaccii Farris, Reporter, JFarris@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 31 2012 05:05:33 PM CDT

If you're submitting an insurance claim for Hurricane Sandy, you're certainly not alone, but do you know what's covered and what's not?

The phones have been ringing off the hook at insurance offices across the country.

East Coast residents blasted by Hurricane Sandy are now starting to file an estimated $5 billion to $10 billion in claims.

Those people include Charlie Marcon, who was jolted awake by a tree smashing through his master bedroom.

Insurance agent Tom Wolf said he hasn't seen this many claims since the late 90s, and some people don't understand how their policies work.

Wolf said one of the biggest misconceptions that customers have is that if their neighbor's tree falls on their house, their neighbor's insurance company pays the bill.

"It's on the person's insurance who suffered the damage. So, if my tree came down onto your home, it would be under your homeowner's insurance," said Wolf, adding that there are a lot of questions about what homeowner's insurance pays for.

He said it will pay for wind damage and a hotel if your home becomes unlivable, but it won't pay for time off from work to meet adjusters, who have a long list of folks to see in order of severity because of Sandy.

If you are a renter, Wolf said don't count on your landlord's policy to replace your  stuff. He said renter's insurance is the cheapest insurance on the market, but during a disaster like Sandy, it can be well worth the investment.