In late June, an older gentleman showed up at PCDC’s office seeking advice. He reported that workers from the City of Philadelphia opened up a fire hydrant, and it flooded his basement. There was significant water damage to items stored in the basement, as well as to his home’s heating system. He wanted to file a claim. Unfortunately, he had purchased a basic home insurance that did not cover flooding.
We told him to report the incident to 311 and gave him a City of Philadelphia Language Access Card to help him reach a Chinese language operator. Because of his limited insurance, we advised him that his only option was to seek restitution from the City, but he needed evidence. The man had not taken any photos of the hydrant or the initial flood or the damages. We could only direct him to a lawyer, but his prospects were not good because of his lack of evidence.
This case emphasizes the fact that many renters and homeowners are not aware of their insurance options and what to do in case of an accident.
In case of accidents, it is important for residents to do the following:
- Take many photos
- Take notes about the accident, particularly all specific damage sustained
- Get the names and contact information of all people involved, e.g. the perpetrator and any witnesses
- Report the incident immediately to your insurance company
- Report the incident to officials at 911 or 311.
Before any accidents, it is important that renters and homeowners pick the best home insurance for their needs. Insurance contracts can be difficult to navigate, but PCDC provides free Home Insurance Counseling Workshops throughout the year. Stay tuned for the next workshop date!