There are several things you’ll want to know before calling your insurance company. Before calling your insurance agent or insurance company it is always a good idea to contact a reputable storm restoration contractor for a full property damage inspection. The National Storm Damage Center can connect you with a certified contractor to perform a property damage inspection at no cost to you. Your inspector will provide you with a full report detailing the total storm damage done to your property and an estimated cost to fully restore your property to its original condition before the storm hit.
Depending on the type of storm, you’ll want to make sure your inspector takes a careful look at your roof, windows, paint, siding or exterior, gutters, vents, air conditioning units, concrete, including driveways and pool decks, and any downed or damaged electrical wires or other utilities. Check for leaking, flooding and water damage. Make note of any fallen tree branches on your property and damage from flying debris, including dents, dings and damage from hail.
If your inspector confirms your property has sustained damage, you’ll want to hire a reputable storm restoration contractor right away. Exposure to the elements may increase the amount of damage and your personal liability. Make sure your contractor has experience repair storm damage and working through the complex insurance claims process. When selecting a contractor, it is always a good idea to get several estimates before making your final choice. When filing an insurance claim, it is in your best interest to hire the best possible contractor and use the highest quality materials your insurance company will pay for. You have paid your insurance premiums, so it is not in your best interest to accept a reduced settlement, or work with an insurance company “approved” contractor with an incentive to save your insurance company money at your expense.
It is important to remember that many insurance policies limit your time to file a claim, so don’t wait until you have water dripping through the ceiling, mold in the attic, or your roof caves in to think about getting it fixed.
Insurance Claim Tips
- Don’t Delay! Most insurance policies limit your time to file a claim
- You can’t be singled out for a rate increase due to storm damage
- Insurance restoration contractors, represent your best interest
- Always hire the best contractor, not the cheapest
- Beware of insurance company “approved” contractors
- Always do your homework and understand your rights