by Hollie McAfee

This week has brought warm temperatures and melting snow, and we all know that melting snow produces a lot of mud.  I think of mud season as a necessary means to spring, but I’m not crazy about it.  I don’t like having wet feet and kids and pets who track mud through the house.  I don’t like my vehicle being a permanent shade of brown.  I don’t like the gray snow and the brown ground and trees.  I don’t like the streams of water ripping apart my dirt driveway.

There are some specific insurance concerns that Maine’s mud season brings to us.  The wet, messy land around us has lots of fun surprises in store.  Frost heaves and pot holes cause cringe worthy clunks from our vehicles if we drive over them to fast.  Big animals come out of the woods as the snow melts, and wander into traffic.  Rocks fly from passing vehicles straight into our windshields.  Rapid snow and ice melting causes rivers and wetlands to overflow into our basements.  Let’s address these one by one…

Slow down on the road.  I know, the roads are less slippery now and we’re tempted to pick up our speed.  But, those frost heaves are brutal.  You MAY have some coverage for pothole damage if you have collision coverage on your vehicle.  However, it will be subject to your deductible, which could be $250 or more.  And the claim may be considered an at-fault accident and affect your future premiums.

Hitting an animal is covered if you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, and is not considered an at-fault accident.  Cracked windshields are also covered under the comprehensive section of your policy, subject to the deductible.  If you have only a small chip in your windshield, you may be able to have it repaired before the crack spreads, in which case many insurers will waive your deductible.  You should know that submitting several comprehensive claims over a period of 3 years could affect your future premiums as well.

Damage to your home caused by flood is NOT covered by your homeowners policy.  You need a separate flood policy for this.  Contact us to get a quote, and do it soon, as it takes 30 days for a flood policy to go into effect.

Many of us have a sump pump to rid our basements of water that seeps in every spring.  If your sump pump fails and your basement floods, there is not coverage under your homeowners policy.  However, many homeowners companies will add this coverage to your homeowners policy if you ask.  Call us to find more about this, too.

Mud season is upon us, along with it’s messiness and inconvenience, but soon everything will be turning green!  Be prepared to avoid the bumps that come with the season, and spring will seem even more sweet.