Lincoln, NE-Thunderstorms and baseball sized hail have hit eastern Nebraska damaging homes and cars. As residents begin the recovery process, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) says the first step is to contact your insurer and start the claims process.
“Nebraska has seen a series of difficult storms in June,” said Kelly Campbell, PCI’s vice president of state government relations. “Homeowners should contact their insurance company or agent through their toll-free phone number, app or website. Insurers plan for catastrophes and are prepared to assist homeowners immediately. Company adjustors are ready to help homeowners and renters begin repairing storm damage.”
Most severe weather related events like hail and tornados are covered under either a homeowners, renters or commercial insurance policy. Renters insurance covers a policyholder’s personal possessions damaged by tornados. Windstorm and hail damage for cars is covered by the comprehensive coverage in an auto insurance policy.
These storms provide an important reminder to always be prepared and make sure you have the proper coverage for homes and businesses. The increase in storm activity in past few weeks also puts a spotlight on the need to curb abuses from unscrupulous individuals and companies that capitalize on consumers during a time of need. The Nebraska Department of Insurance recently provided residents with important warnings and tips about signing post loss assignments.
“We encourage all homeowners to beware of falling victim to a scheme in which unscrupulous third-party companies try to convince homeowners to sign over their insurance benefits in order to proceed with repair work,” said Campbell. “If a contractor comes to your door unsolicited, we urge you to call your insurers before signing any documents.”
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.
Toll-Free Policyholder Claim Numbers: http://bit.ly/PCITollFreeNumbers
PCI’s Online Tornado Recovery Magazine: http://bit.ly/2oa1qMg