Keelan Tollinger | author
ICHQ | Site Author
There’s been a storm. You suffer damages to your home, business, or personal property. You need to file a storm damage insurance claim.
Most people don’t know a lot about insurance claims until they need to file one. It’s important to have the correct information about your policy. You must make sure that you file your claim the right way and get a fair payment for your losses. Our insurance claim lawyers explain what you should know about storm damage insurance claims.
9 Things to Know About Storm Damage Insurance Claims
1. The claim goes through your homeowner’s insurance.
Most storm damage is covered through your homeowner’s insurance policy. Look to your homeowner insurance policy for coverage.
2. A variety of damage may be covered.
There are several ways that damages may occur in a storm:
- Wind (straight winds and tornadoes)
- Lighting strikes
- Power surges
- Falling trees
- Blowing objects
Many causes of damage are covered. Earthquake and flood damage may not be covered. It’s important to determine the cause of the damage and compare it to your policies to determine coverage.
3. Water coverage may depend on the wording of the policy.
When water damage occurs, it can be challenging to determine if there is coverage. Most policies cover some causes of water damage but not others. It may depend on how the water ended up in the home. For example, when heavy storms push rainwater into the home, that’s usually covered. However, flooding may not be covered. You may have a separate policy that covers flooding specifically.
4. Tree damage may depend on structural damage.
It’s common for trees to fall in a storm. However, whether the tree removal is covered may depend on whether there is any structural damage. Removal of a tree that fell on your house may be covered. A tree that falls in the yard may not be covered. Be sure to read your policy carefully to determine coverage.
5. You have a duty to mitigate damages.
The insurance company needs the opportunity to inspect and evaluate damages before you make repairs. However, you have a duty to mitigate damages. If you can put a tarp over your roof to prevent more damage, you must do it. If there is additional damage that you could have prevented, it will not be covered. In addition, discussing the issue of whether you failed to mitigate damages may only complicate your claim and make it take longer to get your payment.
6. Wear and tear may be grounds for denial.
The insurance company may deny or limit your claim based on wear and tear. Storm damage insurance covers damage that happens suddenly because of a weather event. It doesn’t cover your roof wearing out or other damage because of lack of basic maintenance. Some things wear out at the end of their lifecycle. If the insurance company denies the claim based on wear and tear, you may need to challenge any allegations that you didn’t take care of maintenance.
7. Not all policies are created equally.
When it comes to insurance, policies vary. Within legal parameters, policyholders can make many choices regarding their policy limits, deductibles, and certain coverages. Take the time to read your policy and determine exactly what coverages you have. Then, you can compare that with your losses and costs for repair to ensure that your claim is complete.
8. You must file a claim.
To receive compensation for storm damage, you must notify your insurance company promptly of the damage. Do not wait to tell the insurance company. Then, carefully document your losses and the amount that you are claiming. If you disagree with the insurance company’s decision, you can take steps to challenge the decision and pursue your compensation.
9. You may hire a lawyer.
Receiving compensation for storm damage can be complex. You may not know what you deserve or what to do. It can be hard to know how to respond if the insurance company isn’t being transparent or fair. A lawyer can represent you throughout the process.