After receiving multiple phones about the tornado that came through Jonesboro yesterday, I want to try to supply the public with guidance as how to handle the many insurance questions and claims that will arise over the next few days.
Before you read the list below, please know that our prayers are with you and your family during this trying time. If Selby Insurance can be of any assistance please contact our office at 870.336.2121.
1. As soon as you learn that it is safe to return home, assess the damages you’ve incurred. Take photographs and maintain a list of your damaged property. Make sure you do not throw out any property until the insurance adjuster has had the opportunity to review it for your claim. Try and make temporary repairs on your home, if possible, and move your personal property into storage if your home cannot be secured. Many insurance policies allow you to be reimbursed for your expenditure on storage units until your home is ready to be moved into again.
2. If your home is still habitable, but in need of repairs as a consequence of the natural disaster, talk to your insurer about the urgent repairs that must be made. Save the receipts for your expenses, whether you did it yourself or hired someone, and include it in your claim.
3. If you have had to move out of your home, keep a record of all your expenses like meals, hotel room charges, transportation etc. A home insurance policy usually provides limited coverage for these expenses.
4. Most insurance companies place a time limit on filing claims, therefore it is imperative that you proceed with your claim as soon as possible. To begin your claim, contact your insurance company and provide them with an inventory of your property that was damaged, destroyed or has gone missing.
5. Next, your insurance provider will send out their insurance adjuster to conduct a survey of your damages at no expense of yours.
6. If there is a delay by the insurance company in responding to your claim, contact the claims department to find out if an adjuster has been assigned to your case. Provide them with your contact details and updated address if you have moved out of your home
7. Your insurance payout will likely happen in installments with you receiving an emergency advance for your immediate needs. Payment for your personal property and additional living expenses will also be made to you directly. However, payment for structural damage to your home may be granted to both you and your lien holder if there is a mortgage on your home.
8. Before repairs begin on your property, make sure you check the licenses and references of the workers you are hiring. Do not sign any contracts before the adjuster has assessed the damage. Always get a written estimate of the cost before beginning repairs. The adjuster may want to see the estimate before the repairs begin.
9. Do not pay the contractor the full amount, or sign over the settlement amount up-front. Instead, pay the contractor a percentage of the total amount, to begin with, and the rest once the repairs are completed.
10. If the contractor comes across any damage that was not discovered and accounted for in the original evaluation by the adjuster, contact your insurance company to recover your dues for this damage as well.
11. Once you have moved into your home, post repairs, take the time to do a complete home inventory.