DIFS Asks: Are you prepared for severe winter weather?

Media Contact: Andrea Miller at 517-284-8668
Consumer Hotline: 877-999-6442
Facebook: /MIDIFS Twitter: @MIDIFS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 1, 2015

Review your policies before you brave the cold.

(LANSING) Winter is here, Michigan, and there are insurance considerations to review before you bundle up and brave the cold. The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is offering Michigan residents tips on how to be prepared for severe winter weather and what that might mean for insurance policies.

“Take a little time to review all of your insurance policies to prepare yourself to handle the problems winter weather may cause,” said DIFS Director Patrick McPharlin.

Homeowners and Business Owners
Standard homeowners or business owners insurance policies cover a wide range of winter-related disasters such as burst pipes, ice dams, wind damage, leaky roofs, and a building collapse caused by the weight of ice or snow. Although flood damage is excluded from most standard policies, coverage for backup of sewers and drains may be available by purchasing additional endorsements to your policy. It is important to read your policy closely and make sure you understand the provisions. Talk to your agent or insurance company to clarify any questions you may have regarding your policy coverages.  

Whether you are a first time driver or an experienced driver, accidents caused by hazardous conditions can happen. Take the time to review your policy and understand your coverage. There are two optional coverages you may consider purchasing under Michigan No-Fault:

  • Collision Coverage: Provides coverage when your vehicle collides with another vehicle, or when your vehicle hits an object such as a tree or pole.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Provides protection when your car has sustained damage that did not result from a collision. Some examples are damage from: a falling object, fire, flood, hail, collision with an animal, or vandalism. 

Ways to avoid winter damage:

  •  Keep your home warm. The temperature in the home should be at least 65 degrees to prevent the pipes from freezing. If you take a long vacation, have family, friend(s), or a neighbor check on your house to catch any damage which may occur as quickly as possible.
  • Keep gutters clean of leaves and debris to prevent ice damming, which occurs when melting ice spreads under roof shingles.
  • Avoid parking under trees with ice and snow weighing down the branches. Consider removing trees from the property which have died or are rotting.
  • As snow melts, water can back-up sewers and drains resulting in flooding. Local government officials should be notified if street drains are clogged.

Anyone with questions or concerns about their insurance coverage is asked to call DIFS toll-free hotline at 1-877-999-6442.

If you believe your insurance company has not handled your claim properly, you can file a complaint with DIFS.  

For more information, visit “How to File a Complaint” on the DIFS website.

For more information about DIFS or the services provided, please visit the website at www.michigan.gov/difs, follow them on Twitter or “Like” them on Facebook.