WASHINGTON, D.C. – As communities in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas begin the recovery process after dozens of tornadoes ripped through the region, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) urges those impacted by the storm to work closely with their insurance company and watch out for shady contractors seeking to take advantage of people in vulnerable situations.
“Our hearts go out to the communities impacted by the deadly outbreak of tornadoes and we are especially saddened that individuals lost their lives in these storms,” said Ron Jackson, APCIA vice president, state affairs, southeast region. “After a severe weather event damages a home or business it can be overwhelming when trying to determine next steps. Your insurance company or agent is prepared to help you immediately when contacted via their toll-free phone number, app, or website.
“Most severe weather events like tornadoes are covered under a homeowners, renters, auto, or commercial insurance policy. Once individuals have filed a claim, there are a number of things they can do to help expedite the recovery process such as photographing the damage and making an inventory of what was lost or damaged.”
- Secure property from further damage or theft.
- Contact your insurance agent or company representative as soon as possible to report damage.
- Make an inventory of what was lost or damaged and photograph the damage to provide to your insurance adjuster. Compile receipts, descriptions and photos of your home’s contents.
- Be aware of 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.
- 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 a covered loss. 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 to get a list of what your policy will cover.