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Insurance Advice Following Power Outages

PHOTO: Utility crews have worked around the clock to restore power to the nearly 600,000 Michiganders impacted by last week's ice storms, but much work lies ahead for home and business owners. Photo courtesy of Mona Shand
PHOTO: Utility crews have worked around the clock to restore power to the nearly 600,000 Michiganders impacted by last week's ice storms, but much work lies ahead for home and business owners. Photo courtesy of Mona Shand
December 30, 2013

LANSING, Mich. - The lights are finally back on for many of the nearly 600,000 Michigan homes and businesses whose electric power was knocked out by the pre-Christmas ice storm, but the recovery from days spent in the cold and dark will take time and effort.

According to Lori Conarton, communications director for the Insurance Institute of Michigan, those who suffered property or auto damage from the storm need to contact their agents to find out what's covered and get the ball rolling on a claim.

"Food spoilage is covered if you have an endorsement, and so you need to call your agent and find out if you have that, because there is coverage if you have that endorsement to your policy."

The Michigan Public Service Commission said some residents who lost power may be eligible for a $25 credit on their utility bills. The Commission also plans to look into why power restoration took more than a week in many parts of the state.

Conarton said it unfortunately often takes a catastrophe like this for people to take a close look at their insurance coverage, including the many Michiganders who rent or lease.

"Less than 50 percent of renters have renter's insurance, but they have almost $25,000 in personal belongings," she pointed out. "Anything in your apartment or rental house that is yours, there wouldn't be coverage unless you have a renter's policy."

Several Michigan counties have declared states of emergencies because of the ice storm, which is said to be the worst to hit the state in more than a decade, and is blamed for at least seven deaths.

Mona Shand, Public News Service - MI