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DIFS Reminds Michiganders to Review Insurance Documents Before Winter Storms Strike
January 08, 2024
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 8, 2024
(LANSING, MICH) As winter weather returns to the state, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is reminding Michiganders to review their auto, home, and renters insurance policies to ensure that they understand the benefits and terms of their policies. In addition, taking certain steps to prevent winter-related damage can help minimize the severity and repair costs for weather-related incidents.
“Heavy snowfall, winter winds, and cold temperatures can damage your home, vehicle, or other property, and it is important for Michiganders to understand their insurance coverage before the snow flies,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “Taking a few simple steps now can minimize the risk of damage and increase your peace of mind. It is important that you review your documents and contact your insurance agent or company if you do not understand what is covered and any duties you may have in the event of a loss. If you have questions or concerns, call DIFS at 877-999-6442, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.”
Winter-related damage can cost thousands of dollars, or even more, to repair. Understanding how your insurance policies work and what they cover is key to a quick recovery. Here are a few tips that can help give you peace of mind this winter:
Tips for Homeowners:
Homeowners insurance policies usually cover damages resulting from things like pipes that burst suddenly, ice dams, wind, or a building collapse caused by the weight of ice or snow. These policies often exclude coverage for damages resulting from power outages unless the outage was caused by a covered peril such as wind, ice, or snow. Homeowners should review their insurance policy and take the following steps to help prevent winter damage:
- Keep your home heated to at least 65 degrees to prevent frozen pipes. If you are away from your home for an extended period of time, have someone check your home to catch any burst pipes as soon as possible.
- Keep gutters clean to prevent ice damming, which occurs when melting ice backs up under roof shingles before freezing again.
- Remove trees that have died or are rotting to prevent branches from falling under the weight of snow or ice.
Tips for Automobile Owners:
Driving in winter weather can be hazardous even if you are driving carefully. Coverages you may consider purchasing, or confirming you currently have, include:
- Collision Coverage provides coverage for damage to your vehicle while driving, should your vehicle collide with another vehicle or object, like a tree or utility pole, from loss of traction due to ice and snow.
- Comprehensive Coverage provides coverage when your vehicle has sustained damage that did not result from a collision. Examples include damage from falling tree limbs, hail, or vandalism.
- Property Protection provides coverage for damage unintentionally caused to another person's property, for example if you slide off the road and damage someone's mailbox. This coverage is one of the three mandatory coverages required to drive legally in Michigan.
In addition to the risk of property damage, this time of year can be stressful and damaging to people’s mental health. Mental health services are covered by most health insurance plans and are an essential benefit that must be provided by plans sold on the Health Insurance Marketplace. Open enrollment for 2024 health plans runs through January 16, 2024. You may qualify for savings, and many Michiganders are able to find a health plan for less than $10 per month. In addition, free local enrollment help is available at LocalHelp.HealthCare.gov. For more information about health insurance, visit Michigan.gov/HealthInsurance. For questions or concerns about insurance, or to file a complaint, visit Michigan.gov/DIFSComplaints or call DIFS 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 877-999-6442.
The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.