When a storm, tornado, or hurricane rolls through your town, the damage is often substantial. Hopefully, you have a good insurance company when storm damage occurs; otherwise, you could be left paying thousands to fix your property. The first thing you must do after the storm is to file an insurance claim.
While you should repair any property damage as soon as possible to keep living conditions suitable and prevent additional damage, there is a broader window for filing a storm damage claim than you may think.
The Timeframe To File An Insurance Claim
Most people believe the insurance company decides how long customers have to file their claim, but the state regulates that. Each state has time limits for reporting storm damage, and the timelines vary greatly. Florida, for example, gives citizens three years to identify storm damage. Other states, like Texas, allow four years, and Louisiana has a ten-year limit.
Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy
The insurance company you choose can make a dramatic difference in the claims process, as does the policy you selected. Many policies offer coverage for wind destruction, hail damage, lightning, and other factors but may not protect against everything.
Policyholders are often responsible for purchasing flood insurance and other protection if their property is located where there is a risk for those variables.
Filing Your Insurance Claim
After being hit by the storm, most find their world in a frenzy, but there are some guidelines to follow to ensure policyholders achieve a successful claim. As polite as your insurance agent is, they are looking to minimize payouts, so keep these factors in mind:
Document Any Damage Immediately After
Ideally, those hit by a storm will have a detailed personal property inventory, but that is seldom the case. Documentation is critical for anyone who does not have an inventory ready for the insurance agent, especially if you plan to clean up in the meantime. Initial storm damage documentation offers the insurance company proof of damaged goods and supports your claim.
Attempt To Make Temporary Repairs
Homeowners should never endanger themselves to complete repairs, but reasonable emergency repairs should be made when possible to prevent further damage. There may be delays between the storm and your insurance adjuster’s arrival. If there has been great damage to your area, it could be days or weeks before you have a local contractor out. Tarping roof damage, shutting off damaged water lines, and trying to prevent further losses will keep you from experiencing uncovered expenses. Keep any receipts or invoices from these repairs to report with your claim.
File Your Insurance Claim Early
Immediately after the storm is the optimal time to contact your insurance adjuster. A broader timeframe between the storm’s occurrence and your insurance claim allows questions to arise and denials to happen, so timing is imperative.
What If The Insurance Company Denies My Claim?
Insurance is paid monthly to ensure you are covered for necessary repairs, but insurance companies don’t always comply. If your claim has been denied or undervalued, contact our team to see how we can help.