We've lived and worked in the OKC metro for over 30 years, so we understand Oklahoma storm damage and the unique insurance needs of our state.
Plan and Prepare Ahead of Time
Understand your policy – basic homeowner’s policies already come with some form of tornado or storm damage. However, you need to understand the type and level of coverage so you are not surprised or disappointed later. Dwelling coverage includes damage to the inside and outside of the house, while contents coverage includes damage to what's inside the home. A replacement cost policy will reimburse for similar type and quality, while a cash value policy will only reimburse for a depreciated value.
Make an inventory – record or photograph the contents of your home and keep it stored in a location outside of the home. Keep this updated and it will be much easier to prove what was lost later.
Ensure the Safety of Individuals in the Home
While it is important to file your insurance claims quickly, the first priority should be the health and safety of those who were there during the storm. Make sure injuries are treated—even seemingly minor ones may have larger consequences if left untreated. Also, take any children or other individuals who may be at risk by staying in the home or being around the damage to a safe place—your policy may include coverage for lodging expenses.
Contact Your Agent Quickly for Help
This is often a true test of the quality of your agent. A good agent will respond quickly and be there to provide support throughout the insurance claims process. Their stable guidance can relieve much of the stress and pressure that is part of dealing with storm damage.
Inspect and Record Damage
Your first instinct may be to start cleaning up debris—like broken glass—or gathering valuables. However, your best bet for ensuring an adjustor has an accurate understanding of the damage is by inspecting and recording it.
Take videos or photographs of any damaged areas of the home and its contents that you can safely access. Also, start making a list for your own purposes and for the adjustor if they ask for one later.
Dealing Wisely with Contractors
Unscrupulous contractors who are unlicensed or come in from out of state frequently try taking advantage of storm damage victims. They may show up quickly and pressure homeowners who are concerned about getting repairs done in a timely manner.
Do not be pressured, instead start by asking your agent if they already have trusted contractors they can recommend. If you are doing the choosing, make sure to verify three things: that they’re currently licensed, insured, and bonded locally. Verify this by performing an Oklahoma construction licensee search.
If you’re unsure if you have the right policy or proper coverage to protect against storm damage, contact us. As independent insurance agents, we can find the best affordable policies for you out of the many providers out there.
Posted on Mon, April 13, 2015
by Travis Wiedemann filed under