Storms can wreak havoc on your home, leaving behind a trail of damage that can be both physically and emotionally taxing. While homeowners insurance is designed to provide financial protection during such times, understanding what your policy covers and how to file a storm damage insurance claim is crucial to ensure a smooth recovery process.
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In this straightforward guide, we will walk you through:
- The key steps of filing a storm damage insurance claim
- How to assess the damage
- When to involve roofing contractors
Keep reading to learn when to contact your insurance agent or insurance company.
What Your Homeowner’s Insurance Does and Does Not Cover
Before delving into the process of filing a storm damage insurance claim, it’s essential to understand the basics of what your homeowner’s insurance typically covers and what it does not. Insurance policies can vary, so it’s vital to review your specific policy and speak with your insurance agent for clarification. Here’s a general overview:
👍 Coverage Typically Includes:
- Dwelling coverage: This part of your policy typically covers damage to the structure of your home, including the roof, walls, foundation, and attached structures like garages.
- Personal property coverage: This section covers your personal belongings that are damaged or destroyed by the storm, such as furniture, electronics, and clothing.
- Additional living expenses (ALE): ALE coverage helps pay for temporary housing and additional costs incurred while your home is being repaired or rebuilt.
- Liability coverage: If someone is injured on your property during the storm, liability coverage can help cover their medical expenses and legal fees if they sue you.
👎 Coverage Typically Does Not Include:
- Flooding: Standard homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover flood damage. You may need a separate flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or a private insurer.
- Earthquake or landslide damage: Like flooding, damage caused by earthquakes or landslides is usually not covered under a standard policy. Separate policies may be necessary.
- Maintenance issues: Insurance is meant to cover sudden and unexpected damage, not wear and tear or issues that result from neglecting maintenance.
Signs of Storm Damage to Your Home’s Exterior
Recognizing storm damage to your home’s exterior is the first step in the claims process. Here are some common signs of storm damage:
1) Roof Damage:
- Missing or damaged shingles: High winds can rip shingles off your roof or cause them to become loose and damaged.
- Dents or cracks in roofing materials: Hailstorms can leave visible dents or cracks on your roof’s surface.
- Leaks or water stains on ceilings or walls: Roof damage often leads to water leaks inside your home.
2) Siding Damage:
- Dents or holes: Hail and debris can cause dents or holes in your home’s siding.
- Loose or missing pieces: Strong winds can loosen or entirely remove siding panels.
3) Window and Door Damage:
- Broken glass: Flying debris during a storm can shatter windows and glass doors.
- Frame damage: The impact of objects or debris can damage window and door frames.
4) Gutters and Downspouts:
- Dents or detachment: Hail or strong winds can cause dents or dislodge gutters and downspouts.
- Clogs or blockages: Storm debris can clog gutters, leading to water overflow and potential damage.
How to Properly File a Claim: 5 Steps
Once you’ve identified storm damage to your home, it’s time to initiate the insurance claim process. Follow these steps to file a storm damage insurance claim effectively:
1) Document the Damage 📸
Take photos and videos of all the damage to your home’s exterior and interior. This visual evidence will be invaluable during the claims process. Create a detailed inventory of damaged personal belongings. Note their condition, purchase price, and approximate age.
2) Contact your Insurance Company ☎️
Reach out to your insurance company as soon as possible to report the damage. Provide them with a detailed description of the situation and your policy information. Ask your insurance agent about the specific claim filing requirements and deadlines. Be sure to follow these instructions carefully.
3) Meet with an Adjuster 🤝
Your insurance company will likely send an adjuster to assess the damage in person. Be prepared to show them the documented evidence of the damage. Allow the adjuster to inspect your property thoroughly, pointing out any areas of concern.
4) Obtain Repair Estimates 💲
Contact reputable contractors, including roofing contractors, to provide you with detailed repair estimates. Share these estimates with the adjuster. Ensure that the estimates include all necessary repairs and materials.
5) Communicate With Your Insurance Company 🗣️
Maintain open communication with your insurance company throughout the claims process. Follow up regularly to stay informed about the progress.
When to Contact Your Local Roofing Contractor
When storm damage affects your roof, it’s crucial to involve a qualified roofing contractor promptly. Here are the situations in which you should contact a roofing professional:
- After the storm: As soon as it’s safe to do so, inspect your roof for visible damage. Look for missing or damaged shingles, dents, cracks, and signs of leaks. Contact a roofing contractor to schedule a thorough roof inspection if you suspect damage.
- If Leaks Occur: If you notice water stains on your ceilings or walls, or if water is actively leaking into your home, contact a roofing contractor immediately. Temporary repairs may be needed to prevent further damage until a complete assessment and repairs can be made.
- During the Claims Process: Work closely with your insurance adjuster and roofing contractor to ensure all roof damage is properly documented and included in the claim. Obtain multiple repair estimates from reputable roofing contractors to ensure you receive fair compensation.
- For Repair and Replacement: Once your insurance claim is approved, collaborate with your chosen roofing contractor to complete the necessary repairs or roof replacement. Ensure the contractor uses high-quality materials and adheres to local building codes.
Learn More About Storm Damage Insurance Claims
Filing a storm damage insurance claim can be complex and stressful, but with the right knowledge and preparation, you can navigate it successfully. Remember that open communication with your insurance company and contractors is key to a successful resolution, allowing you to restore your home and peace of mind.
When you need an expert consultation on all things related to storm damage, you need Open Box! Contact us today to get started.