5 Steps to Avoid Financial Storm Damage With Home Insurance
Extreme weather, like hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, and hail, have the potential to wreak havoc on your home. In 2013 alone, overall storm damage exceeded $1 billion, according to the National Climatic Data Center. If a storm were to hit where you live, you’d likely turn to your home insurance plan to help you pay for the repairs. It’s important to know what steps to take in order to file a claim with your insurance provider and get your home taken care of.
Here are five steps to follow to help ensure a smooth and successful claims process after a detrimental storm.
Check your Policy
Find out if you are eligible to file a storm damage claim. Ideally, you know this information before a storm hits so you can be prepared with the proper coverage. For example, most standard home insurance policies provide coverage for winter-related storm damage, but many of these policies do not cover flood damage, so you would have to purchase that insurance separately. Once you have information regarding your home insurance policy and your eligibility for storm damage coverage, proceed with filing your claim.
Don’t Hesitate to File a Claim
If you need to file a claim with your home insurance company following a major storm, call right away to start the process as soon as possible. This is not only important for repairing your home and helping you return to normalcy, but most insurance policies limit the amount of time you have to file a claim. Don’t wait until you see detrimental signs of damage, such as mold or dripping water.
Assess the Storm Damage
Before calling the insurance company, thoroughly assess the extent of the damage to your home. Check each room, the attic, and garage for signs of damage, including that to windows, doors, ceilings, and flooring. Check your roof and siding for problems, particularly wind damage that may have blown off parts of your home’s exterior. Check AC units, pool equipment, and any other outdoor appliances that may have been damaged.
In addition to your personal assessment, you should have a professional inspection by someone who is experienced with this type of report. Record information, both in writing and photos, about the damage as well as the storm itself, and find articles detailing the storm in case your home insurance company asks for proof of the storm.
Get Quotes for Repairs
After your inspection, call for quotes for repairing different aspects of the storm damage. The National Storm Damage Center recommends contacting several reputable storm repair contractors and obtaining three written proposals. Prepare to present these estimates and the recorded information you collected to the home insurance company when you make the claim. When you file your claim, an insurance adjuster inspection is required. Ask your contractor to be present during this inspection to ensure a fair assessment.
Move Forward with Your Claim
Once your claim is approved, your home insurance company sends you the first of two payments, which covers materials for the home repairs. The National Storm Damage Center recommends your contractor orders materials in your name and uses your check to pay for them. Once the materials arrive, your contractor can begin the repairs. You receive your second payment when the repairs are complete and the project passes a city inspection.
Storms can be a frightening experience, and having to deal with storm damage and the claims policy is something you may have to face when the storm passes. Make sure you have the right home insurance policy and storm damage coverage for the types of severe weather typical in your area.
If you have questions about storm damage or want to get a policy that covers it, give us a call today.