It may take the insurance company some time to determine if the suspected release is covered. They will send you a letter referencing policy terms, conditions and exclusions. It will also ask you for records to substantiate your claim. If you have questions regarding letters you receive from the insurance company, your insurance agent should be able to help you or call the adjuster and ask for clarification.
The information the insurance company will ask for could include:
- Verification of a confirmed release from an insured underground storage tank
- The actual point of release from an underground storage tank
- Any information which would indicate when a pollution condition started
- Copies of all reports, etc. relating to this incident
- Any other information which would assist in the investigation
Because environmental claims are complicated, it is sometimes difficult for the insurance company to immediately determine if your claim is covered. However you have certain obligations while this determination is being made.
Your obligations include:
- Taking immediate action to stop and contain the release.
- Reporting the release to the Department of Ecology within 24 hours.
- Making sure the release poses no immediate hazard to human health and safety by removing explosive vapors and fire hazards. Your fire department should be able to help to advise you with this task. You must also make sure you handle contaminated soil properly so that it poses no hazard.
- Removing petroleum from the UST system to prevent further release into the environment.
- Investigating to determine if the release has damaged or might damage the environment.
- Contacting the Department of Ecology for specific time frames, necessary steps and guidance in doing site assessments and corrective action plans.