For some, insurance process is next step

Published 10:35 am Friday, June 19, 2009

Severe weather can be devastating, and after it passes you can be overwhelmed by the task of recovering.

After making sure that all of your loved ones are safe and accounted for, State Farm Fire Claims Representative, Annette Wadas, recommends that one of your first steps in the recovery process should be to contact your insurance agent and begin making a damage claim. While speaking with your agent, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

After speaking with the representative, you should begin making a visual record of the damage done. For this part of the recovery, a camera will be on of your most important tools.

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Wadas advises that pictures of the property should be taken before any permanent repairs are made so that the damage can accurately be assessed.

Making temporary repairs, such as boarding up a broken window or hole in the roof are recommended, and will not hinder the claims process.

Wadas, says, “Typically with tornado claims, there will be tree limbs and siding damage, where you will want to do a temporary repair.”

While taking stock of the damage done, bear in mind that there may still be danger.

Following severe weather, All State Insurance recommends a few precautions people should take while going over your property.

They recommend that you open doors and windows to help start the drying process if there was flooding.

If there is standing water in your home, be sure that the electricity is turned off before entering.

In the case of serious damage, be sure to walk around the property to check for structural weaknesses, downed power lines or gas leaks before starting.

Although accurate records are important, “We want people to be safe while taking care of their homes,” Wadas says.

Photos are only part of the claim reporting process. Keeping receipts and invoices for repairs and associated costs.

If you have multiple policies for your home and car, it is best to create multiple records for easy access later. The damage may have been caused by the same event, but they will be resolved separately.

Open communication with your insurance provider and a little organization can help expedite the very difficult recovery process.

Following the severe weather on Wednesday, Austin State Farm Insurance Agent Greg Meyer prepared to handle a number of damage claims.

“I would imagine [we will see] 50 to 100 claims, but we don’t know yet.”

For Meyer there is no “average” claim. Each person’s situation is different and the time it will take to resolve each claim varies.

“It all depends on the size of the claim,” Meyer says, “we try to get them back to normal as quickly as possible.”