Weather is a big part of every Minnesotan’s life. It can affect health and safety, limit activities and cause damage to vehicles homes and personal property. If your home is damaged by a storm you’ll need to file a claim with your insurance company. Navigating the insurance claims process can be a bit like picking your way across a minefield if you have no previous experience. Here are some helpful tips for you on how to work with your insurance agent that will help get your claim settled quickly and your home restored to good-as-new condition.
Standard Homeowner’s Insurance
Most homeowner’s policies will pay for ordinary storm damage. This includes wind, hail, ice, snow and rain damage to the siding, roof or windows of the home. Most also include coverage for interior damage caused by the storm such as water damage to carpets and furniture. The thing to check your policy for is natural disasters that might be excluded.
Specifically Excluded Natural Disasters
Many insurance policies exclude damages cause by natural disasters such as hurricanes or earthquakes. These exclusions are often written with specific disasters that are common to an area in mind so ready your policy over carefully to find out if your policy covers your specific damage.
Reporting the Claim
1. Keep information about your homeowners insurance in a safe place, away from your home, in case it severely damaged in the storm. This way you will be able to access in immediately.
2. Take plenty of pictures of your home and property in its normal condition for comparison purposes. Store these somewhere safe as well. After the storm, photograph the damage from as many angles as is safely possible including from the inside if the damage extends inward. Assessors may be delayed getting out to you if there is excess damage in the area.
3. Call your insurance agent or the company’s hotline. Answer the representative’s questions pertaining to the loss and your home. This will include the date and time of the incident. You should be assigned a claims adjustor.
4. Make temporary repairs to protect your property. After taking photos, you can cover an opening in a roof with a tarp, for example, to prevent more damage. Do not make any additional repairs, though.
5. When the adjustor presents you with a settlement offer, be prepared to negotiate. You can offer other independent quotations for the repair work to support your claim that the settlement needs to be adjusted.
Avoid Scam Artists
Following a major storm or weather event, unscrupulous people will try to capitalize on the situation. Do not hire contractors that ‘storm chase’ as you may receive a poor job and not be able to track them down to correct their deficient work. Hire only reputable contracts.