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Losses due to power outage may not be worth filing an insurance claim

Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies cover up to $500 in food loss due to certain types of power outages. Check with your agent to be sure. If your deductible exceeds the cost of the spoiled food, you will not be able to file a claim. Even if it does, you still may not want to file one because it will increase your premium.

“There will be an increase in premium over the next few years, essentially, to pay back for that one claim,” explains Turner Walston, an independent insurance agent for McClintock Insurance Agency. “It appears as a claim like any other claim. When you try to renew your insurance or you try to change insurance companies, they will know that you filed a claim whether it’s for $400 or $40,000.”

However, for owners of restaurants or other businesses, it may be worth filing a claim.

“They have much higher limits on their business personal property because that’s how they do business. So, in that case, it’s worth filing a claim,” Walston said.

Most restaurants will also have business interruption service, which usually kicks in after 24 hours.

Here are three things you may need to file a claim:

  1. receipts of the food or medicine purchased
  2. bank statements if you do not have receipts
  3. photos or videos as proof

Unless there is physical damage to a home, insurance is unlikely to cover a hotel stay due to a power outage. For example, if pipes burst due to a power outage.

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey on Tuesday asked licensed insurance companies to be economically flexible with consumers affected by the Sandhills power outages.

“This criminal act had a significant impact on nearly 45,000 residents,” Causey said. “Many people are unable to access their online insurance accounts due to power outages. We request that insurance companies be flexible with customers during this time until power is fully restored.”

In addition, Commissioner Causey asked the licensed insurance industry to consider the following actions:

  • Relax premium payment deadlines.
  • Extend grace periods.
  • Waive late fees and fines.
  • Consider cancellation or non-renewal of policies only after exhausting other efforts to work with policyholders to continue coverage.

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