October Nor’easter- You Asked, We Answered
In wake of the fluke Nor’easter that came knocking on New England’s door this weekend, we wanted to help everyone better understand how their Massachusetts homeowners insurance policy will respond to damages. Take a look at some of the most frequently asked questions we’ve been asked since Saturday’s snow storm here in the Pioneer Valley.
- Will my homeowner policy pay to remove the trees that have fallen in my yard?
The standard Massachusetts homeowner insurance policy provides $500 of tree removal coverage for damage due to a covered peril. Such covered perils include damage caused by a windstorm and/or weight of ice and snow, provided the tree(s) damages a covered structure such as your house, garage, shed or fence. The $500 is the amount paid for any one occurrence, regardless of the number of trees. A few companies do offer a small amount of additional coverage when you purchase their own company specific endorsements. It does vary by insurance company, but we have seen up to $500 additional offered by some.
- Are my Trees, Shrubs and landscaping plants covered?
No coverage is available for damage to trees/shrubs/lawns/plants caused by the peril of weight of ice and snow or wind.
- We have no power and as a result we have no heat. Will my homeowner policy pay for me to stay in a hotel?
When we talk about power failure, we must first establish the cause and location of the power outage. Failure of power or other utility service that takes place off the resident premises is excluded under the standard Massachusetts homeowner insurance policy. If your area is experiencing a power outage but you have no damage to your home, then coverage is not available for additional living expenses. If the power outage is on premises – say the electrical wires were torn from your home from a falling tree, then coverage for additional living expenses would be available for a reasonable length of time in order to restore the electricity. This scenario would fall under the additional living expense coverage.
- All the food in my fridge and freezer is ruined because of the loss of power at my house. Is there coverage?
Under a standard Massachusetts homeowner insurance policy, no coverage is available for food spoilage as a result of power failure. Many Massachusetts insurance companies offer a small amount of coverage, usually $500, through their own company specific endorsements and that will vary by company. Where the power failure occurred usually comes in to play for this coverage also. Many only provide food spoilage coverage if the outage occurred on premises. Whether or your deductible applies, and the amount, will vary by company.