Buffalo Residents May Struggle to Claim Lake-Effect Snow Damages

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  • Recently, the area around Buffalo, New York, was pummeled with multiple feet of snow and wind as a result of lake-effect snow in mid-November, and that might have led many homeowners there to have to file some sort of home insurance claim. Unfortunately, some experts say that those who suffered damage might not be able to make claims for it in certain circumstances. Because of this fact, it might be wise for insurance agents to always take the time to explain what is and isn’t covered by a person’s individual home insurance policy, and why that may or may not be the case.

    Lake-effect snow has long been a major problem for Buffalo-area residents, and this latest storm is no different, according to a report from the consumer advice site Nerdwallet. Not only did people suffer snow and wind damage, but they also experienced flooding that could put them in line for major claims if their insurance plans will cover them.

    Some bad news
    Unfortunately, that’s not always going to be the case, the report said. Many policies in high-risk areas might exclude damage if it’s difficult to determine which of two factors that hit a property at the same time, more or less, actually caused it in the first place. That might leave a lot of homeowners struggling to pay for repairs that could end up being quite costly.

    “It’s going to be a very big dilemma for adjusters, people involved and insurance carriers,” says Steven Vanuga regional vice president of Adjusters International Basloe, Levin & Cuccaro, a company of public insurance adjusters based in Springville, New York. “You have to go back to the basics of what is the determination of a claim. What is the definition of flood, what is the definition of collapse, what is the definition of ice water backup and water coming in the areas.”

    These potentially unfortunate realities may not be something that consumers inherently understand about their insurance policies, but agents who do more to explain the issues at hand could go a long way toward generating more customer loyalty and satisfaction with their coverage. The fact is that many people value a good relationship with their agents over the ability to save even a decent amount of money on their coverage. Thus, agents who can go the extra mile in this regard will typically have higher retention rates than most.