Whitesburg KY

Some insurance policies cover food losses

Now that everyone in Letcher County has power again, phones have been constantly ringing at one insurance agency.

Many residents have thrown away large amounts of food from their refrigerators and freezers and want to know if they will be reimbursed for their loss.

For those who have a homeowner’s policy, a mobile homeowner’s policy or a farm owner’s policy through Kentucky Farm Bureau, the answer is yes.

“We cover food losses,” said John Swisher, an agent with Kentucky Farm Bureau. “Each policy has a different guideline. There is no deductible that applies for it.”

Swisher said he and other agents have been busy since Dec. 28 filling out loss reports for about 500 customers whose food spoiled during the week-long power outage. Those claims will be sent to the claims office in Louisville and customers should receive a check in the mail to cover their food losses.

“We don’t have to have an itemized list but people will list dollar for dollar what they paid for it,” said Swisher. “People have been very reasonable for what they have turned in.”

Swisher said people have reported losses varying from $25 to $600, depending on the amount and type of food lost.

“Most of them have sat down and added it up,” said Swisher.

Swisher said it is hard to determine the price value of garden produce and deer meat, but said people are looking at what is comparable to those items in a grocery store.

He said several people have told him that they have already restocked their food supply but know the reimbursement will help pay for groceries when they get the check. Swisher said people also lost food they were going to prepare for Christmas dinner and had to repurchase those items.

“It puts you in a financial hardship,” said Swisher.

Swisher said several people didn’t realize food loss as a result of an extended loss of power was covered in their insurance policy until they talked to a friend or neighbor who recently filed a claim.

“It’s not too late,” said Swisher. “They can call and turn it in. We will be here all day on Dec. 31.”

Those who have food stamps and lost food because power was out for more than four hours can go to the office of the Kentucky Department for Community Based Services to complete a form and provide verification that their residence lost power. People can bring in a statement from the power company or a neighbor.

Swisher said in addition to food loss claims, four claims have been filed with Kentucky Farm Bureau in connection with last week’s winter storm including one tree on a house and one tree on a garage. A metal carport collapsed from heavy snow and the wind blew away a different metal carport.

“This is a major disaster for our area,” said Swisher. “As bad as this has been, it could have been much worse.”

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