July 23--Since the wind storm struck Central Virginia on June 29, many people have been busy.
Tree removal workers cleared debris. Contractors fixed damage.
And insurance agents have been trying to help with the cost of it all.
Even three weeks later, calls are still coming into local insurance offices as the cleanup continues.
Kamie Wilson, vice president of Wilson Insurance Agency in Amherst, said her office has filed more than 200 claims and that does not count the policy holders who filed directly with the insurance company.
The independent insurance office has put every processed claim into a file after the storm; now, it is six inches thick.
"We're still getting calls on claims today," she said Friday afternoon.
Spoiled food was the most common claim, she said, because many people may not have had damage to homes but lost power and everything in the refrigerator.
She said the average paid out for spoiled food claims is $500.
Chip Harvey, an independent contract agent for State Farm in Lynchburg, said that many policies have deductibles, so policy holders may have to evaluate how much food was lost and if it meets the deductible. He said if a person does have damage to the home, then food loss does count as part of the claim.
Michael Carwile, a representative with Andy Mathews Agency in Forest, said certain policies do have a special deductible just for refrigerated or frozen food lost.
Harvey said the most common damage claims were for trees or limbs striking houses, vehicles or other items on the property, like a shed or fence. He said most policies do not cover trees that fall in the yard but do not damage property.
The difficulty for some homeowners is that contractors have a large backlog of jobs. With so much widespread damage, even if a claim goes through, the repairs may not happen right away.
"Most people are getting estimates, but they're not really getting the contractor to get the work done until two weeks out," Carwile said.
Some common expenses incurred during the storm are often not covered, though, like hotel rooms.
A house generally has to be unlivable, like if a tree went through the roof, for the claim to cover the cost of a hotel, Harvey said. A lack of power and high temperatures do not qualify.
"Just because your power went out and you're uncomfortable, that's not necessarily uninhabitable," he said.
Wilson said some insurance companies did grant medical exemptions for people to use hotels during the heat and power outage.
Generators were a popular purchase during the outage, but Carwile said most policies don't cover the purchase of one or the gas it takes to power it. Wilson said some people also asked if they could include purchases of ice on claims, but were told no.
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