For Immediate Release: March 5, 2012
After the Storm: Insurance Tips
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today is providing insurance tips for North Carolinians dealing with property damage after this weekend's storms and tornadoes.
"If you have any insurance-related questions, my staff is standing by to help," said Goodwin. "There are a number of things you can do after a storm to help ensure that the insurance claims process runs as smoothly as possible."
After the storm, you should:
- Contact your insurance agent/company. If you suffer property loss in your home or vehicle, contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible to arrange a visit from an adjuster. The Department of Insurance will be in touch with top insurance companies doing business in the state. We will have up-to-date consumer hotline numbers available for those who need contact information for their companies.
- Document damage. Before doing any repairs to your home, photograph and make a list of the damage.
- Make temporary repairs only. Until you get advice from your insurance company, protect your home from further damage by making temporary repairs only. Save any receipts for materials purchased for repairs.
- Agree on cost of permanent repairs. Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected your property, and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs.
- Consider renting shelter. If necessary, rent temporary shelter. If your home is uninhabitable, most homeowners policies pay additional living expenses while your property is being repaired. Before renting temporary shelter, check with your insurance company or agent to determine what expenses will be reimbursed.
- Find out if food is covered. Unless you have extra coverage with your homeowners policy, food lost in a power outage is probably not covered. Consider purchasing an endorsement to cover food losses in the future.
- Check your policy before hiring tree removal services. Most damage to your home or surrounding structures resulting from fallen trees is covered by your homeowners policy. Check with your agent or company before calling a tree removal service, as removal costs may also be covered.
- Determine whether your auto insurance policy covers damage from fallen trees or debris. Your insurance company may cover this kind of damage if you have comprehensive coverage. Check with your agent to determine whether your vehicle is covered.
The Department of Insurance Consumer Services Division is available to assist members of the public who have insurance-related questions or complaints, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 800-546-5664 (toll free in North Carolina) or 919-807-6750. Visit us online at the NCDOI website.