The September 2008 windstorm that hit the Miami Valley and southwest Ohio
served as a brisk reminder of the risks of going without insurance.
The windstorm caused more than $550 million in insured losses statewide, with
131,624 claims reported, according to Ohio Insurance Institute's Oct. 7
"It's one of the largest number of claims we've ever been exposed to, short of
the hailstorm in 2001," said Mike Witt, a Nationwide Insurance agent in
Centerville whose office has handled 177 windstorm-related claims so far.
While the windstorm may have been a "once-in-a-lifetime" event, Witt said,
policyholders would be wise to make sure their homeowners policy covers live
tree debris removal, even when the trees haven't fallen on a structure, as
well as food spoilage.
Coverage specifics vary by insurer. But typically, costs to remove downed
trees are covered up to $1,000 ($500 per tree), according to OII. Some
property owners, however, had such significant tree damage that they paid
more out of pocket than their insurance carrier, Witt said. Opportunities to
upgrade such coverage are limited.
While homeowners policies cover wind damage, they don't cover flood damage,
the most common natural cause of property damage in Ohio, said Mitch Wilson,
For such protection, property owners must purchase flood insurance through the
National Flood Insurance Program.
That's not an option for folks in a handful of local towns that have opted out
of NFIP: Castine, Corwin, Farmersville, Fort Loramie, Jackson Center, Ludlow
Falls, New Lebanon, Oakwood and Wayne Lakes. Residents of these towns can't
purchase flood insurance policies, Wilson said.
Wilson offers these tips:
When shopping around, ask an agent, "What's excluded in this policy?"
Schedule an insurance check-up annually.
Do preventative maintenance on diseased or damaged trees and limbs, even if
you have insurance. You may avoid paying a deductible.
Assess your flood risk at floodsmart.gov.
Contact this reporter at (937) 225-7457 or bsutherly@DaytonDailyNews.com.
Common insurance terms
Claim: A request for payment for a loss, which may come under the
terms of an insurance contract. A first-party claim is one made by the
policyholder for reimbursement by his or her company. A third-party
claim is one by a person against a policyholder of another company and
the payment, if any, will be made by that company.
Covered/Insured Peril: The perils of loss you are protected against by
an insurance policy. Examples of perils include fire, lightning, theft,
vandalism and the threat of a lawsuit.
Deductible: A provision in an insurance contract stating that the
insurer will pay that amount of any insured loss that is in excess of a
specified amount. The specified amount is the deductible.
Endorsement: An additional piece of paper, not a part of the original
contract, which cites certain terms and which becomes a legal part of
that insurance contract.
Flood Insurance: Coverage against loss resulting from the flood peril,
widely available under a program developed in 1968 by the private
insurance industry and the federal government.
Premium: The amount of money charged a policyholder for an insurance