Regulators and insurance industry experts in California and other western states battered by recent high winds are urging residents to avoid weather-related risks and to file claims for damage to their vehicles and homes as soon as possible.
High winds swept across states from California to Colorado and Utah last week, with gusts up to 100 mph in some areas downing trees and power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands of residents without electricity and damaging property, according to Associated Press reports.
The National Weather Service has warned that gusty conditions will likely revisit much of the region this week, with Santa Ana winds up to 60 mph expected in parts of Southern California through Tuesday and strong gales predicted for western Utah and southwestern Wyoming.
State regulators said insurance adjusters and other officials are likely to be extremely busy in the coming months as they deal with the fallout from the wind storms, so it is important for consumers to file claims promptly with companies that provide homeowner coverage and cheap car insurance in California and other affected states.
“Residents with wind storm damage should contact their insurer immediately to begin the claims process and start getting back to normal,” Mark Sektnan, vice president of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), said in a news release. “Insurers are ready to help policyholders put the pieces back together.”
Golden State regulators said it is common for high winds to level trees and send debris flying, causing damage to private vehicles, homes and businesses.
State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones pointed out that motorists with basic vehicle policies that include only state-required coverages will not be covered for losses caused by falling trees or tree limbs. Those with comprehensive coverage—which reimburses policyholders for losses to wind storms, fires, flooding and other severe weather—are the only ones who will be financially protected.
Jones advised state residents to be wary of further risks posed by high winds and to review their home and vehicle coverage to make sure they are adequately insured.
Utah Insurance Commissioner Neal Gooch urged consumers in that state to contact his department for assistance if they have problems filing a claim that cannot be resolved by talking to their coverage providers.
“I know first-hand what Utahns are going through,” Good said in a statement.
Sektnan said insurers are sending claims teams into areas that were hit hardest by gusting winds. He said residents who suffered losses should take detailed notes about damage and have policy and other information handy in order to speed the process.
“Residents with wind storm damage should contact their insurer immediately to begin the claims process and start getting back to normal,” Sektnan said.