Storm Damage: What to do for Insurance and How to Avoid a Scam

Weathering The Storm

Severe weather is common in Central Illinois. From damaging winds, large hail, flooding and even tornadoes, storms can cause damage to your property, leaving you with a mess to clean up and insurance to deal with.

July 11th, 2020 was a costly day for Central Illinois as a large hailstorm swept through the I-74 corridor. The storm brought golf-ball size hail to Champaign-Urbana, and even brought down trees and powerlines with strong winds over 70 mph, causing further damage to property.

The good news is that insurance can and will cover damage from storms like this, but there are things you should know and do, even well before the storm. Here’s some of our tips for dealing with damage from severe weather.

Before The Storm:

  • Months or weeks before the storm, contact your local insurance agent to understand the coverage and deductibles you have on your home, property and your vehicles. This ensures you know you are properly protected and aren’t caught off guard by being underinsured after a storm hits.
  • When severe storms are forecast, make sure you have your WCIA 3 Weather App on your mobile device to get alerts for severe weather. Have at least one other way to get severe weather information.
  • When severe storms are on the way, take action to protect your property. Make sure your vehicles are pulled in the garage or as close to the house as possible. Avoid parking them under trees. Move outdoor furniture inside or tie down furniture to prevent it from blowing around and causing damage.

After The Storm:

  • Take photos of everything before doing any repairs. You don’t have to get up on your roof, but if there are shingles in the yard, documenting this with a photo will help ensure you are covered for all the damage necessary.
  • Be aware of “Storm Chasers”, or contractors who will rush into damaged areas to offer to repair your home and push you to sign a contract. A good way to spot these is that they sometimes will jump on your roof without your permission to tell you you have storm damage, they will push you to sign a contract quickly. Never pay for work up front, even if the contractor asks. Check to make sure your work has warranties on it. They also can offer to file the insurance claim on your behalf.
  • You can always check with your insurance agent before signing a contract. Ask your insurance agent for referrals and check the Better Business Bureau for reports. You do not have to give your business to the first people that show up at your door, no matter how polite or nice they may be.
  • Reach out to your insurance agent to file a claim. You don’t always have to call immediately after the storm. You do have some time to file a claim if there’s damage, but it doesn’t hurt to check with your insurance agent to make sure you are doing things by the book.
  • Check into any contractor you hire before you sign a contract. Use referrals, check Facebook, ask your agent and use the Better Business Bureau to check for claims against a company.
  • Get a full inspection of your home if the damage warrants it, not just your roof. Hail and wind damage can cause structural damage, exterior damage, damage to pipes or the HVAC system and more.

Learn more about hail damage and the claims process by checking out this story from ciLiving.tv.

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