MUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- When a disaster -- as person as a single house fire or as massive as superstorm Sandy -- strikes and causes property damage, many people realize they do not know much about their insurance policies.
WZZM 13 On Your Side is providing advice on the basics of what's covered by a homeowner's insurance policy and what your out-of-pocket expenses may be.
The first thing you should do is read their policy to know know what you have and, in some cases, don't have.
After a property damage event, you should immediately call your agent. It a good idea to have multiple contact numbers for your agent saved in your cell phone.
Next, take pictures or video of the damage, but only do so if it is safe.
You can make emergency repairs like tarping a roof or pumping water out of a basement. If you spend money to do that, keep receipts.
If your basement floods, homeowners insurance does not cover flood the damage. It will however, cover damage from hard rain. It's best to remember it this way -- if water comes from the ground up, you must have a separate flood insurance policy. Water damage from the sky down is part of a homeowners policy
Trees often fall here in Michigan and, on occasion, they do land on a house. If that happens -- no matter who owns the tree -- the homeowners insurance has to pay. But if a tree crushes your car, only your comprehensive auto insurance covers the damage.
If a tree falls on your property and doesn't damage anything, you must pay the out-of-pocket costs to have it removed.
One other piece of advice -- it's a good idea to meet with your agent on a regular basis and go over the specifics of your policy.
Reported by Jon Mills in Muskegon