How to Deal with Property Damage After a Storm
This spring has been a higher than average storm season with over 500 tornados in the last few weeks alone, and flooding throughout the South, East, and several states in the Midwest. Insurance companies have been at their busiest in almost every region of the United States. From random lightning strikes to hail damage, flooding and tornados, people are left with the aftermath of a storm and how to recover from losses due to property damage.
One of saddest situations in a community is when a person or family does not have insurance to cover their losses due to one of these storms. For whatever reason, an individual or family do not feel their property hasn’t enough value to carry a policy. No one expects total loss. But when a tornado rages through an area such as the one that leveled Linwood, Kansas 3 weeks ago, some people lost everything. If there is no insurance coverage, there is no money to rebuild.
Usually a community comes together to help each other out. People combine households, help salvage belongings, and basically offer as much as possible to bring each other a way to get back on their feet again.
Contact Insurance Company
The first step if you suffer property damage with your car or home is to contact your insurance agent. I have full coverage car insurance for my car. In the wake of the storm season this Spring, I recently had massive hail damage to my car. And what I learned in the process is that some body repair shops do not repair hail damage in-house. They move your car to another location. This means you are paying a middle man, so to speak. Make sure your auto body repair shop is going to do repairs to your car in the repair shop you take to which you take the vehicle. This will cut down on cost.
Be careful not to make frivolous claims. Personally, I would not make any claims for anything less than $2000.00 for a house, and less than $1000 for a car. You want to use insurance if you need it, but at the same time too many little claims might lead to a cancellation of your policy.
So, after you contact your insurance company and then find a reputable company to do the work on either your house, clearing tree limbs, or fixing your car, the next step is to get that estimate. In the process to get my estimate on my car,
I found out my car roof was so badly damaged, they decided to replace the whole roof. This was the best call due to the amount of damage. The repair shop let me get on a ladder and showed me the roof. It was really dented in badly due to the fact this is the widest part of the car that is unsupported. This was a good judgement on their part. Not the easiest repair. They could have just popped those dents out. But that would not have been the best solution. Make sure whoever you have assessing your property losses is making the best judgment for the repairs to maintain your property value.
Stay in contact with your insurance company. A good agent will check on you. This is the litmus test. However, if they are dealing with people who have lost their homes and you just have hail damage, you may not be at the top of the “need” list. My agent’s office has still called me several times.
Finally, when the repairs are finished on your home or car, make sure repairs are inspected by either the insurance company or in the case of your home, by the county inspector. Make sure to keep all documentation from the beginning of the claim to the completion of the work. Often in the case of home repairs, the insurance company will give you a check up-front to do some of the work, and then will have a two-year deadline to finish the rest of the work with the rest of the funds available upon that completion. Make sure to read all of paperwork in order to complete all of the repairs and get the funds you need to get your life back to normal after the storm.
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