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  • Division of Insurance

News  Be Weather-Prepared with these tips from the Massachusetts Division of Insurance

  • Division of Insurance

Preparedness is key when it comes to severe weather events, like hurricanes, which can result in significant water and wind damage to homes. While no one can fully prevent weather-related damages from occurring, there are many steps that a homeowner can take in advance of severe storms to help mitigate potential losses.

Tips for getting your home weather-ready:

  • Review your homeowners’ insurance policy and know what your policy does and does not cover, including whether you can hire someone to make emergency repairs or if your insurer will reimburse you for repairs you make yourself.
  • Create a home inventory and take photos and video of your home and belongings. In the event that belongings are damaged, you will want to be able to give your insurance company a comprehensive list of what needs to be replaced.
  • Clear your yard and move furniture, grills, umbrellas, and anything else that can blow around in high winds, under shelter.
  • Use shelves or cinder blocks in basements or garages so that belongings are not on the floors in the event you do get water intrusion. Damage from flooding is not covered under a standard homeowner’s policy.
  • Trim trees back from your home and ensure gutters are secure and clear of debris. Consider pre-cutting or installing plywood for windows if strong winds are expected.
  • Have your basic disaster supply kit, including a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, in an easily accessible location. If power goes out, use flashlights as burning candles poses an additional fire risk.

If your home is damaged during severe weather, notify your insurance company or agent as soon as possible. In addition, homeowners should:

  • Protect and secure damaged property to the greatest extent possible to prevent further damage. A post-disaster claims guide can be found on our website here: mass.gov/doc/post-disaster-claims-guide/download
  • Note and photograph all damage and losses. This will assist in settling claims.
  • If hiring a public adjuster to assist with the claims process, be sure that they have a license from the DOI, and that you have a signed and dated contract that outlines the services provided and the adjuster’s fee. Also, keep in mind that if you hire a licensed public adjuster to handle your claim and then change your mind, state law allows you to cancel your contract within 3 days, subject to any emergency expenses paid by the adjuster during those three days (this language should also be in your contract, in bold type!)
  • Hire a licensed and registered contractor for repairs. Always check the license and registration status of your contractor with the Division of Occupational Licensure and the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.

A natural disaster or severe weather event can strike at any time, that’s why it’s imperative for consumers to be prepared. As weather events continue to be more frequent and severe, homeowners may also want to consider future upgrades such as wind-rated garage doors, water and gas shut-off sensors, or hurricane straps. Homeowners without a separate flood policy should also strongly consider purchasing a flood insurance policy. It is important to note that flood insurance typically has a 30-day waiting period and does not cover damages from flooding that occurred before the policy’s effective date.

Consumers with questions or concerns about their insurance coverage are encouraged to contact the Division’s Consumer Services Unit at 617-521-7794 or visit the Division’s website at https://www.mass.gov/home-insurance  

  • Division of Insurance 

    The primary mission of the Division of Insurance (DOI) is to monitor the solvency of its licensees in order to promote a healthy, responsive and willing marketplace for consumers who purchase insurance products. Protection of consumer interests is of prime importance to the Division and is safeguarded by providing accurate and unbiased information so consumers may make informed decisions and by intervening on behalf of consumers who believe they have been victimized by unfair business practices.

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