CHICAGO — Following yesterday’s tornado outbreak that produced extensive damage in Indiana’s Howard and Montgomery Counties, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) says insurance adjusters are in the field helping victims put their lives back together.
“The first step to recovery is contacting your insurer to begin the claims process,” said Hilary Segura counsel, state government relations for PCI. “The good news is that most severe weather related events like tornados are covered under either a homeowners, renters or commercial insurance policy. Renters insurance covers a policyholders’ personal possessions damaged by tornados. Damage for cars is covered by the comprehensive coverage in an auto insurance policy.”
Insurers plan for catastrophes and are prepared to assist homeowners immediately when homeowners contact them via their toll free phone number, app or website.
“Once you have filed your claim, there are a number of things you can do to help expedite the recovery process such as photographing the damage and making an inventory of what was lost and damaged,” said Segura. “As property owners move forward with repairs and the recovery process we encourage residents to be alert to unscrupulous contractors. 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.”
Although it is unusual for such a large tornado outbreak to occur in late August with 35 reported tornado on a single day, violent storms can happen at any time. Having an emergency kit, and emergency plan in place is crucial, but it’s also important to make sure you are financially prepared for the aftermath of a storm as well. PCI encourages homeowners, renters, and business owners to conduct a review of their insurance policies and discuss coverage options with their insurance agent or company.
PCI’s Tornado 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 adjustor. Save receipts.
• 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.
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://bit.ly/TornadoGuide