AUSTIN, Texas — Many residents in Texas are spending Monday morning dealing with major cleanup as violent weather ripped through parts of Castro County this weekend. With the potential for more violent weather to break out at any time this spring, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) is recommending that residents keep contact information for their insurers handy.
“The first step to recovery from storm damage is to contact your insurer to begin the claims process. Homeowners should contact their insurance company or agent immediately if they sustain damage. Insurers plan for catastrophes and are prepared to assist homeowners,” said Joe Woods, PCI’s vice president of state government relations. “Company adjusters are in the field now helping homeowners and renters begin rebuilding, and they’ll continue to be available to customers who suffer storm damage,” added Woods.
Most severe weather-related events like hail and tornadoes are covered under either a homeowners, renters or commercial insurance policy. Windstorm and hail damage for cars is covered by the comprehensive coverage in an auto insurance policy.
It’s also important to watch out for those looking to take advantage of storm victims.
“There is a growing problem with some unscrupulous public adjusters, contractors and trial lawyers going door to door in many of Texas communities hit by hail storms and encouraging homeowners to sue their insurance company by telling homeowners they also won’t have any legal fees. But the truth is that these lawsuits are not only costing the homeowners, they are costing their neighbors through potentially increased insurance premiums in their area.”
PCI’s Storm Recovery Tips:
• Secure property from further damage or theft.
• Contact your insurance agent or company representative as soon as possible to report damage.
• Inventory losses and photograph damage to provide to your insurance adjuster. Save receipts for any temporary repairs you make.
• If you are a business owner, keep detailed records of business activity that is negatively affected due to the tornado or storm, and keep a list of extra expenses during the interruption. Prepare records to show the income from the business before and after the loss.
• Many standard homeowners and renters policies provide reimbursement of additional living expenses when the property is determined to be uninhabitable due to damage. This provision helps with paying for increases to necessary living expenses such as temporary housing and restaurant meals. In addition, extra expenses such as overnight parking and laundry services may also be covered. Additional living expense coverage does not pay for all living expenses, so contact your insurance company or agent for a list of what your policy will cover.
• Be careful about unscrupulous contractors following a natural disaster. Contact your insurer, agent or local business bureau for references on potential contractors and ask for certificates of liability and workers compensation before signing contracts.
PCI's Tornado Headquarters offers vital information for those impacted by tornadoes, as well as preparedness tips for those living in tornado-prone areas. Follow us on twitter @PCIAA and use #tornadosafety as we continue to provide tips on what to do before and after a tornado.
Here’s a list of PCI Member Company Toll-Free Policyholder Claim Numbers: http://bit.ly/PCITollFreeNumbers
PCI’s Online Tornado Recovery Magazine: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/592e3b66#/592e3b66/1