Homeowners Insurance: What's Covered?

It's been a busy 24 hours at Lansing's Rathbun Insurance Agency.

"People are concerned whether they have converage," said Paul Rathbun.

After a storm like the one that tore through mid-Michigan Sunday, trees are down in yards, on decks and, in some cases, on houses.

In most policies, removing those trees from your property is covered.

"Even if you haven't heard from the insurance company, you have to have that hauled away to make things safe," Rathbun said. "You don't have to get approval for that. Shoot pictures of it, certainly."

Rathbun says if you have to pay to have a tree hauled away prior to consulting with your agent, save the receipt so you can turn it in.

If your tree fell onto a neighbor's property, legally you're not liable, according to Rathbun.

"If a storm or lightning damage makes your tree come down and damage someone's property, that's actually their responsibility," he explained. "But I would tell you, most good neighbors would help them with that."

When in doubt, when it comes to what's covered, call your agent.

"They can advise people on what the process is like to go through and advise them on, if it's a small claim, whether it's worth it for them to turn in based on how it affects future rates," said Rathbun.

If you've remodeled your house, or you are in the process of remodeling, make sure you are insured for the replacement cost, not just the market value when you bought the home. That way, if something happens, you can rebuild it the way it is now. Rathbun says the cost to increase coverage is nominal.


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