Insurers Offer Storm Recovery Advice to North Texas Residents
AUSTIN, Texas — Many residents in North Texas are spending Monday morning dealing with major cleanup as violent weather ripped through parts of Denton and, Collin counties. The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) says the first step to recovery is contacting your insurer to begin the claims process.
“Contact your insurance company or agent as soon as possible to begin the claims process. Insurers plan for catastrophes and are prepared to assist homeowners immediately,” said Joe Woods, PCI’s vice president of state government relations in Texas. Most severe weather-related events like hail and tornadoes are covered under either a homeowners, renters or commercial insurance policy. Renters insurance covers a policyholder’s personal possessions damaged by hail and windstorms. Likewise, windstorm and hail damage to cars is covered by the comprehensive coverage in an auto insurance policy.
It’s also important to watch out for those looking to take advantage of storm victims.
“There is a growing problem with public adjusters, contractors and by extension trial lawyers going door to door in many of Texas communities hit by hail storms and encouraging homeowners to sue their insurance company by telling homeowners they won’t have any legal fees. But the truth is that these lawsuits are not only costing the homeowners but they are costing their neighbors through potentially increased insurance premiums in their area as a result of frivolous lawsuits.”
The Texas Legislature has taken up hail lawsuit reform as a priority issue for this year. With such high risk for property damage from severe weather and natural disasters, Texans also need peace of mind that their insurance claims will be settled quickly and efficiently.
“We encourage legislators to stop the lawsuit abuses by storm-chasing lawyers while ensuring that policyholders still have all their legal rights if they feel their insurer acted in bad faith,” said Woods.
Woods is available for media interviews.
PCI’s Hail/Storm Damage Recovery Tips:
• Secure property from further damage or theft.
• Contact your insurance agent or company representative as soon as possible to report damage.
• Inventory losses and photograph damage to provide to your insurance adjuster. Save receipts.
• If you are a business owner, keep detailed records of business activity that is negatively affected due to the severe weather. It’s important to keep a list of extra expenses during the interruption. Prepare records to show the income from the business before and after the loss.
• Many standard homeowners and renters policies provide reimbursement for additional living expenses when the property is determined to be uninhabitable due to damage. This provision helps with paying for temporary housing and restaurant meals. In addition, extra expenses such as overnight parking and laundry services also may be covered. Additional living expense coverage does not pay for all living expenses, so contact your insurance company or agent for a list of what your policy will cover.
• Be careful about unscrupulous contractors following a natural disaster. Contact your insurer, agent or local business bureau for references on potential contractors and ask for certificates of liability and workers compensation before signing contracts.
PCI’s Hail Preparedness Toolkit offers vital information for those impacted by hail storms, as well as preparedness tips as the season for potentially more violent weather approaches. Follow us on twitter @PCIAA and use #HaveAPlan as we continue to provide tips on what to do before and after violent weather.Here’s a list of PCI Member Company Toll-Free Policyholder Claim Numbers: http://bit.ly/PCITollFreeNumbers