We already know that loss of use coverage requires a covered loss in order for coverage to be available for your additional living expenses. If the presence of and weight of ice, snow, or sleet makes it impossible for you to use your home, would there be coverage for you to stay in a hotel? There are two possible coverage scenarios on your New York Renters Insurance. The picture below was taken in upstate New York just a few days ago.
Frozen! The effects of heavy wind this week along Lake Ontario.
The neighbor’s retaining wall appears to have prevented a similar fate. But is this a covered loss? Does the weight of (and complete encasement of the home by) ice, snow, or sleet get coverage when the entire home is inaccessible as a result?
Renters insurance in New York covers damage to personal property caused by the weight of ice, snow, or sleet. In this instance, we can’t see the inside of the home but the home appears to be intact. The frozen material must come through a roof or wall and cause damage to personal property in order to have a covered loss.
If there is damage to the roof that we can’t see caused by that weight, and melting snow causes a loss to personal property, there could be coverage. But until there’s a covered loss, additional living expenses coverage isn’t available.
When dealing with renters insurance, it’s important to look at the entire situation. While we’ve eliminated one peril as the cause of a covered loss, there may be others. In this case, gas heat would be unlikely to continue operating for very long without the ability to vent. The insured made a good faith effort to maintain heat in the dwelling, by leaving their heat on. The ice made that impossible through no fault of the insured’s.
Personal Property Loss Is The Key To Coverage
When heat is lost in these weather conditions, frozen pipes aren’t far behind. Burst pipes caused by freezing in a home that can’t be accessed are likely to cause damage to personal property. See that window in the back, right corner of the picture? It appears that a preliminary assessment of the damage from a burst pipe could be made through that window. If pipes have burst, there may be something the water company can do from outside to shut off the water and mitigate the ongoing damage.
The damage to personal property from a burst pipe is likely to be a covered loss. This gives you replacement cost coverage to allow you to replace the property that was lost, and it also triggers loss of use coverage. While you’re chipping the ice off your home, and after the water has been shut off, the costs of your hotel and other additional living expenses could be covered as a result.
What If I Don’t Think Renters Insurance Will Cover A Claim?
As we’ve seen above, there is at least one alternative way that your policy could cover this loss. When reading your policy, it’s important to look at the entire policy. Human nature might be to stop when you think you find a relevant peril, but that’s not how insurance companies operate. Your adjuster will review the entire policy to look for coverage, because it’s an insurance company’s job to provide coverage when the policy language says it exists.
If you’re not sure if your policy covers a particular loss, you can start a claim to determine if there is coverage. If no payment is made, many insurance companies will not rate you on it in the future but that is up to the individual company. Claims – especially zero dollar claims – are only one of many rating factors. If you have a claim, you should make a claim so that you can be made whole.
If you have questions about your renters insurance in New York or anywhere else, just call an insurance expert at Effective Coverage. Once call to (800)892-4308 can get you all the answers you need. If you need coverage, just click above and you can get covered in sixty seconds.