What you should do if you have storm damage
If you have to file an insurance claim following this week’s storms, here are some tips from Frank O'Brien, Vice President of Property Casualty Insurers Association of America:
Stay safe -- Don’t assume power lines are dead. If a tree fell into your house stay away from it and call the power company.
If your property does sustain damage, take the following actions:
• Report all damage to your insurance company or agent as soon as you can in order to settle your claim more quickly and accurately. Most insurance companies have toll free numbers you can call 24/7.
• If it is safe to do so, take steps to protect your property from further damage and theft by making emergency repairs. Use plywood, tarps and other materials to cover openings in roofs, walls and windows.
• Keep receipts for anything you buy so you can submit them to your insurance company later.
• Inventory all damaged property, take pictures of the damage and check with your insurance company before throwing away any damaged property. Identify the structural damage to your home and make a list of everything you would like to show the adjuster.
• To settle your claim more quickly and accurately, prepare as much information as possible about your damaged possessions when your insurance adjuster comes to look at your property.
• Talk with your agent about what your deductible will be for the storm damage. The deductible can be either a flat dollar amount or a percentage of the home value.
• Many standard homeowners and renters policies provide for reimbursement of additional living expenses when the property is determined to be uninhabitable due to damage. This provision helps in paying for increases to necessary living expenses such as temporary housing and restaurant meals. In addition, extra expenses such as overnight parking and laundry services may also be covered. Additional living expense coverage does not pay for all living expenses. It covers only the increase over normal living expenses. This coverage typically is limited to 20 percent of the value of the home or 40 percent of the personal property limits of the condominium or rental property.
(Copyright (c) 2010 Sunbeam Television. Frank O'Brien contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)