The Insurance Council of Texas is estimating nearly $2 billion in insured losses after nine tornadoes touched down in North Texas Sunday night.
Chris Pilcic, a spokesman for State Farm, said the insurance company has already processed at least 2,800 claims by Thursday morning. He advised to start the claims process as soon as possible but do it with input from your insurance provider.
"People take on the burden themselves. If you start the claim [as soon as possible], then insurance can help with the essentials you need after the storm," Pilcic said.
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He said it’s also important to give your insurance provider a detailed list of the damaged or lost property.
"Let insurance know what kind of damage you have, if the home is livable. Document with pictures and video to show what state everything is in before you start to move anything," Pilcic said.
He also stressed the importance of protecting items from further damage if more wet/dangerous weather is in the forecast.
"Make temporary repairs if there is rain in the forecast. If you have damage, tarp it or use plywood where necessary. Again, it’s important to document and take pictures before you make these temporary repairs," Pilcic said.
When you are ready to hire a contractor to make necessary repairs, Pilcic said it’s important to do your homework.
"Talk to friends and neighbors. Get several estimates on the repairs and identify the people you hire so you can find them if necessary after the repairs are made. Get plenty of estimates and everything in writing. Don’t pay everything up front and make sure work is completed before you pay the final bill," Pilcic said. "After a storm, it is emotionally and physically draining on you. You don’t want to make any rushed decision so slow down. Understand your coverage and damage before you decide on hiring someone."
Four things to remember before hiring any contractor for home/structure repairs:
- Call your insurance company and schedule time for an inspection as soon as possible.
- Research reputable roofing companies with great online review.
- If a roofer wants to waive, cover or "eat" your deductible, walk away immediately. That’s insurance fraud!
- Understand the risk of paying cash deposits up front, even if they are cutting you a deal.