Editor's note: This story was updated March 5, 2012.
Communities across the South and Midwest are cleaning up after
violent storms and tornadoes struck the region March 2. As
homeowners survey the damage, many may be wondering what steps to
take to speed up the insurance claims process so repairs can be
Standard homeowners policies cover wind damage to a home and its
contents. Check your coverage, though, to make sure your home is
insured for the amount it will cost to rebuild (not the market
value) so there won't be any surprises during the claims process.
And to make sure the process goes quickly and smoothly, follow
these tips from the Insurance Information Institute:
Give your insurance agent a detailed description of the
damage to your property.
Your agent will report the loss to your insurance company or to a
qualified adjuster, who will contact you to arrange an
Take photographs of the damaged property
if it is safe to access the area. Photo documentation will help
with the claims process and can assist the adjuster in the
Prepare a detailed inventory of all damaged or destroyed
and make two copies -- one for yourself and one for the adjuster.
Your list should include a description of the items, dates of
purchase or approximate age, cost at time of purchase and estimated
Collect canceled checks, invoices, receipts or other
that will assist the adjuster in obtaining the value of the
Make whatever temporary repairs you can.
Cover broken windows and damaged roofs and walls to prevent further
destruction. Save the receipts for any supplies and materials you
purchase as your insurance company will reimburse you for
reasonable expenses in making temporary repairs.
Secure a detailed estimate for permanent repairs
to your home or business from a licensed contractor and give it to
the adjuster. The estimate should contain the proposed repairs,
repair costs and replacement prices.
Keep a record of all expenses
, such as hotel and restaurant receipts, if your home is severely
damaged and you need to find other accommodations while repairs are
being made. Homeowners policies will pay the costs of living away
from home if it's been damaged by an insured disaster.
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