Recently, western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming were hit with a significant storm leaving behind a wake of destruction. A coworker jokingly called the storm “Nature’s stimulus package”, an interesting perspective to say the least. While it is true that many businesses will benefit from the additional work a storm creates; revenue that would not have been possible without the damage created by the storm, in the midst of a storm most of us are concerned about our property and the damage that has incurred to our property. Storms that create substantial damage create a sense of panic for many people, and with good reason, experiencing hail breaking out the windows of your home or car can be pretty scary.
Here are some guidelines:
1. First and foremost: Do what you can to minimize additional damage. For example, if you have a window that has been broken out, board it up to prevent water from entering the property. Not only does this eliminate extra work for you, your insurance company can conceivably reject a claim due to negligence. Boarding up damaged areas may require the hiring of a glass or construction company. Many times your policy will reimburse you for this expense, so keep all your receipts! Insurance companies would rather pay the fees incurred to prevent additional loss than have a higher claim.
2. Report the loss: Phone your insurance agent as soon as you can when you experience damaged property. This is referred to as “filing a claim”. Insurance companies may refer to your damaged property as a “loss”. Your agent will give you further instructions as to the next step you should take. Some companies prefer that you, the insured, phone them direct. Other companies request claims to be reported by the agency. Your agent will let you know which procedure your insuring company requires.
3. Wait Patiently: After you have reported the loss by filing a claim, be patient. When a storm passes through, thousands of claims have been reported. Adjusters are working as fast as they can in order to process all the claims.
4. Don’t put off filing the claim: In the same line of thinking, you may think, “I’m going to wait until the rush dies down before I turn in the claim.” This is not advisable. In many cases, insurance companies have formulated “storm teams” to send into areas hit hard by a storm. The teams are well coordinated and work quickly to resolve the claims. It is in your best interest to submit a claim while the teams are in the area.