Every year, winter storms across the United States cause significant storm damage to homes, cars, and businesses. Understanding what information is needed for the claims process is an effective way to make the most of your insurance dollar. Here are six helpful tips to follow when filing a storm damage claim:
1. Call your insurance company as soon as possible. Let them know the extent of the storm-related damage. If you had to evacuate your home, let them know where you are staying and how you can be reached.2. Document your loss. Make a list of your damaged property, and take photographs to substantiate your losses. If you had completed a home inventory previously, provide that information to your insurance company.
3. Keep receipts for additional living expenses (ALE). If you are unable to live in your home due to an insured disaster, your insurance company will typically provide reimbursement for additional living expenses, such as restaurant meals and hotel rooms. Save your receipts so you can submit them for reimbursement.
4. Make temporary repairs to prevent additional damage. It is your responsibility to make basic temporary repairs so that your home and belongings are not exposed to the elements and at risk of further damage. Reasonable expenses will be covered by your insurance, but it is important to keep receipts and not spend too much on repairs until after the adjuster has surveyed the damage.
5. Be organized. Good record keeping can make filing claims easier. It is important to make lists of storm damage, out-of-pocket expenses incurred, and the names and contact information of everyone you speak to during the claims process.
6. Don’t be the victim of a scam. It is unfortunate, but fraudulent service providers prey on disaster victims. Don’t be rushed into signing contracts. Instead, collect business cards, check references, and get written estimates for the proposed job. Never give a deposit to anyone you do not know. Remember, your insurance company is a great resource when it comes to finding reputable service providers such as roofers and contractors.