After SEVERE TORNADOS ran through parts of southeast Louisiana on Tuesday, homeowners and business owners will soon file insurance claims to begin the long process of piecing their lives back together.
Hundreds of homes were damaged and a reported 39 people injured.
As tornado victims deal with their devastating losses, here are 10 tips to keep in mind when filing insurance claims for storm-related damages:
- Contact your insurance agent or company ASAP: Keep a record of all contacts you have with your company. Be prepared to answer questions about the extent and severity of the damage.
- Document your damage with pictures and video: Make a list of items that were damaged by the tornado. Take photographs or videotape the damage if possible. Don’t discard any damaged property until your insurance adjuster has had a chance to examine it.
- Make necessary temporary repairs: To prevent further damage to your home, make reasonable and necessary temporary repairs. Don’t make permanent repairs until your insurance company tells you to do so. Hang on to your receipts and document all expenses.
- Review your insurance policy: Find out the type of insurance policy you have and the amount of insurance you purchased.
- Schedule permanent repairs: Though you should hold off on permanent repairs until your damage is assessed, schedule them as soon as possible, as appointments can fill up quickly after a storm.
- Beware of storm-chasers/scams: Use local, licensed, bonded and insured contractors. Check references, get agreements in writing, and don’t pay in advance.
- Know if you have replacement or depreciation: Typically, insurance companies will only replace damaged items and materials of the same type and quality minus a depreciation value.
- Be present at all inspections: Try to be present when the insurance company’s adjuster inspects the damage to your property.
- Submit supplemental damage: There are times that you will find damage not seen by the nake eye. You can submit a supplemental damage loss to your insurance company.
- Speak to an attorney: Never let anyone interpret your insurance policy language, not even the insurnace company. Call an attorney for a free consultation if you feel like you are getting the short-end of the stick.
Wishing you well,