7 Things You Need to Do Before Submitting a Storm Damage Claim
Wind and hail damage are the leading causes of property damage to homeowners. You never know when a wind or hail storm will sweep through your neighborhood, but that’s probably one of the reasons you keep home insurance at all times.
If you have homeowner’s insurance, you have protection for your home and property if a storm causes damage. Anytime you experience damage from a storm, you can file a storm damage claim with your insurance provider.
Should you always file a claim, though? There are times when you should, and times when you shouldn’t. The next time you encounter storm damage, you should do these seven things before submitting a storm damage claim.
Read Through Your Policy to Make Sure It’s Covered
Before filing an insurance claim, it is always helpful to read through your home insurance policy to make sure it covers the peril that caused the damage. You can find this information on your insurance policy declaration page.
Most standard home insurance policies cover wind and hail damage, but they might not cover damages from floods or hurricanes. If the damage is from a covered peril, you might want to proceed with filing a claim.
If the damage is from a peril that your policy doesn’t cover, you can’t file a claim. Your policy won’t cover the costs, so there is no point in filing the claim. If you aren’t sure if your policy covers it, call your insurance agent and ask.
If a storm damaged your home, there’s a good chance that other homeowners in your neighborhood also have damage. In this case, your insurance agent might be expecting a call from you.
Check Your Deductible Amount
The next thing you should do before filing a claim is to check your deductible amount. Your deductible is the amount you will be responsible for if you file a claim.
For example, suppose you have a $1,000 deductible. If you have damages that exceed this amount, you must pay the $1,000 before your policy pays the remaining balance.
Knowing your deductible is helpful, as it can guide you in deciding if you should file a claim or not. If the repairs cost less than your deductible, you shouldn’t file a claim. If they cost more than your deductible, filing a claim might make sense.
Evaluate the Storm Damage
Another excellent step to take is to evaluate the storm damage. What damage do you have? Is the damage to your home, your belongings, or something else?
How much damage is there? Evaluating the storm damage is a crucial step to take before submitting storm damage claims, as this can also help you decide if you should file a claim or not.
If you’re not sure how to evaluate the damage, ask a friend or relative for help. Look closely at every part of your home to ensure that you know the full extent of the damage.
Ask for Quotes
It is also wise to ask contractors for quotes. While your insurance agent will send an adjuster to your home to estimate the damages and repairs, you also have the right to evaluate the costs for the repairs.
Suppose you have roof damage from hail or wind. You might not want to get on your roof, as this is dangerous, plus you might not know what to look for when you get up there.
You can hire a roofing contractor, though, to get on your roof to examine it. The roofing contractor can determine the extent of the damages and the costs of repairing it. You can use these quotes to negotiate with your insurance provider.
Keep a Log of Damages and Expenses
The next thing to consider doing with storm damage claims is keeping a log of damages and expenses. As soon as you find the storm damage, start a log. You can use this log to write down any damages you see.
You can also use the log to record expenses you had to make due to the storm damage. For example, did you have to purchase materials to cover a broken window after the storm broke it?
If so, write down these costs to include with your claim. If you file a claim, your provider should compensate you for these costs.
Determine If You Can Continue Living in the Home
Storms can cause minor or major damage to a home. After the storm hits, you should evaluate your house to see if you can continue living there. If the damage was severe, you might have to move out for a while.
If you are forced to move somewhere else for a while, check your policy to see if it offers additional living expense (ALE) coverage. If it does, your insurance policy will pay for the costs of renting a hotel or apartment during this time.
Decide Whether to File a Storm Damage Claim
After completing the first six steps, you might need to take some time to evaluate your situation before filing a claim. While you’re doing this, you should determine if filing a claim makes sense.
If you can get by without filing a claim, you can protect your claim’s record with your insurance company. The benefit of this is that you can avoid premium increases.
If you have significant damages that will cost a lot to repair, you should file a claim. Remember, you have home insurance for this purpose. You shouldn’t feel bad if you have to file a claim on your policy, as many people do after storms cause damage.
Find Out Your Options Before Proceeding
Storms can occur at any time without any notice or warning. If you encounter a time when you must file a storm damage claim, consider these seven things first.
It is also wise to update your homeowner’s insurance policy yearly to ensure that you have the right coverage types. If you are interested in learning more about insurance coverage, check our blog for more information.