Millions of dollars were caused by the five-state storms. If you were affected by the storms, document your losses immediately and contact your insurance company.
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You should file an insurance claim immediately if you sustained losses from the five-state tornadoes that ravaged the country over the weekend.
Many people will file claims. Be prepared to answer any questions you might get from your insurer and provide any documentation that it may require.
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Be careful. The Kentucky Department of Insurance advises that you should not attempt to re-enter or make repairs to your home unless it’s safe. Broken power lines, broken glass, splintered windows, sharp protruding objects, and mud-slicked pathways are all to be avoided. If electrical appliances have been exposed to water, they should be checked by a technician.
Friedlander said that “catastrophe models indicate insured losses from the tornadic outbreak could rise up to $5 billion.” This includes vehicle and residential damage. It could be as large as last year’s Midwest derecho and rank it among the top five tornado disasters in U.S history.
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To process claims, Insurers use mobile units
Many insurance companies have dispatched mobile units to communities hardest hit by the storms and are now processing claims for damaged homes, apartments, and businesses.
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Friedlander stated that many insurers now handle claims remotely in addition to having mobile disaster teams. “The virtual claims process involves policyholder-submitted photos, videos and other documentation submitted to the insurer,” he explained. Some insurers offer mobile apps that allow you to file a claim.
These quick-response groups are invaluable and essential. However, you still have to be your best advocate. You don’t have to accept an offer from your insurer if it doesn’t suit you. However, you must agree to the terms of your policy. Even if your claim is settled, if you have additional expenses due to the storm, your insurer can reimburse you.
Friedlander, the Insurance Information Institute’s Director of Claims, has provided these tips:
Ask your insurance company the following questions when you call them: Are I covered? What is the deadline for filing a claim? What is the time frame for processing my claim? What are the steps to get estimates for structural damage repairs?
Ask about your Loss-of-Use/Additional Living Costs (ALE) coverage. This coverage is usually standard in homeowners, condo owners, or renters policies and covers expenses that allow you to set-up temporary living arrangements as quickly as possible. Agents or insurers can help you locate temporary accommodation and may arrange for lodging expenses to be directly billed to the insurer.
Assistance with Claims Problems
Find out the procedure of your insurer for disputing a claim settlement if you are having difficulty getting your claim paid. Your state insurance department can assist you with the claims process. Many states have fast-track appeals procedures after major disasters. For more information, see the National Association of Insurance Commissioners map.
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After going through the process with your state insurance department and your insurer, if you are still having trouble getting your claim paid, it is worth speaking to a public adjuster for a second opinion. The National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters can help you find an accredited public adjuster. They charge a percentage of your payout, usually 10% to 15% of what was recovered. Make sure that the adjuster is licensed by your state.
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You may be eligible for government assistance if you are located in a federal disaster zone. This includes a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant, Small Business Administration disaster loan, or tax breaks for uninsured casualty loss.