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Claims being filed for storm damage

By Sally Voth -- svoth@nvdaily.com

Northern Shenandoah Valley residents are beginning to file claims for property damaged in Friday's powerful storm.

What some may not know is that food spoiling in fridges and freezers left without power can be claimed in some cases.

Mike Funkhouser, president of Haun-Magruder Inc. in Woodstock, said he's been filing claims for food spoiling due to extended power outages.

"Most companies allow for food spoilage [in] refrigerators and freezers," he said Tuesday. "We've had right many of those claims, too."

Those seeking such claims need to provide basic inventories of what was lost, Funkhouser said.

In Edinburg, Justin Wightman, an agent with Wightman Insurance Agency Inc., said his office hasn't been processing a great deal of claims from the storm.

"A lot of it's going to be subject to deductible," he said.

So, if someone has a $500 deductible, it might not be worthwhile to file a claim for $550 or $600 in damages, Wightman said.

"In our office, we haven't had a lot of claims, just small stuff, just a couple trees on some cars," he said.

Haun-Magruder, on the other hand, has been quite busy, according to Funkhouser.

"It's pretty much all we did yesterday, which we expected," he said. "We handled the claims, and we've got them reported to the different companies we represent, and their folks are working on settling those claims. Trees on houses. Trees on cars. Damage to roofs, water damage. Those are the primary things."

Most insurance companies will cover claims of trees falling on houses, but if a tree falls on someone's property and doesn't do any damage, they generally don't cover the cost of its removal, Funkhouser said.

This has been the biggest weather event since last October's snow storm, and a hail storm earlier last year, he said.

But, Funkhouser was looking on the bright side, and urging patience.

"I'm just happy that we didn't have anyone that was injured that we know of at this point," he said. "Property and everything can be replaced. With the volume of claims involved, it will take some time for everything to get sorted out, but we will continue to do the best we can to make everyone whole again."

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