How to file a storm damage insurance claim

How to file a storm damage insurance claim

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Many Pine Belt residents are picking up the pieces after Tuesday's storms, and part of that clean up often includes filing an insurance claim.

"First thing people need to do, obviously after you make sure everybody is OK medically, is if you did suffer major damage to your house, such as a hole or a tree, something where water is getting in, most insurance companies are going to want you to make the necessary temporary repairs to keep water out," said Jason Wesley, a State Farm insurance agent. "A tarp, patch, anything like that to protect your home from further damage because when you have a mass situation where several hundred claims come in at once, they may not get to you the next day."

Along with making temporary repairs, Wesley said people should keep receipts for purchases and take as many photos of the damage as possible.

"Nowadays with the cellphone, take pictures," Wesley says. "You can't take too many pictures."

He also said people should contact their agents as soon as possible.

"Call your insurance company immediately," Wesley said. "The sooner you get you claim filed, the sooner you will be in the list of names for them to come. Most insurance companies are going to get as many people out there as they can, but they're also going to try to rank it as 'OK, who is in a house that's unlivable? We've got to get them in a hotel. Whose house has minor damage that maybe can wait a week or two, and they can make temporary repairs?'"

Owens said residents need to make a list of any personal items lost in a storm.

"If you had a situation where like a shed was totally blown away, so now you've got personal property inside the shed, you'll need to start making an inventory of the personal items you lost," he said. "You know, the insurance company can't just write you a blank check for personal items.You're going to have to tell them what you had."

Owens said you can always contact your agent to find out when a claims agent should be at your house, but he also said many companies allow you to monitor claims online.