If your home was damaged by the severe weather, contact your insurance company or agent to file a claim as soon as possible. These tips will help you make the process go smoother:
- Keep a list of everyone you talk to at your insurance company.
Be ready to answer questions about the damage.
- Make a list of damaged property.
Take pictures or videos. Don’t throw anything away until your insurance company tells you to do so.
- Take steps to protect your home from further damage.
Cover broken windows and holes to keep rain out and prevent vandalism or theft.
- Try to be there when the insurance company comes to inspect the damage.
If you can’t stay in your home, leave a note with information on where you can be reached.
- Ask your agent about additional living expenses.
If you’re forced out of your home to make repairs, your insurance policy may pay for some of those expenses.
- Avoid fraud (with the following recommendations):
- Get written estimates.
- Get more than one bid
- Beware of contractors who solicit door to door.
- Check references and phone numbers.
- Don’t pay up front.
- Avoid contractors who offer to waive your deductible or promise a rebate for it.
- Never sign a contract with blank spaces.
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- What actions should you take to protect your property before a severe storm and floods?
- Make a checklist of actions that you should take after the storm? Share the list with other students.
- Under what circumstances is it better not to file a claim?
- If you file a claim and your insurer rejects it, what are your options? Who should you turn to for assistance?
Your landlord’s insurance will cover damage to a building or home you rent, but it will not cover your personal items, and yet only 40 percent of renters purchase renters insurance. But renters insurance is usually affordable. For people who rent, renters insurance typically includes three types of coverage—personal property coverage, loss of use, and personal liability. Keep in mind that flood damage is not covered with renters insurance. Also remember, if you are a dependent, your parents’ home-owners policy may cover your belongings even if you are not living at home.
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- Ask students if they are living on their own and renting an apartment. If so, do they have renters insurance?
- Ask students to call local insurance agents to get quotes for renters insurance. Do you have to pay extra for expensive items you own?
- What can you do to cover losses to your personal property due to floods or other acts of God?
- What actions can you take to reduce the cost of renters insurance? Should every renter purchase renters insurance? Why or why not?
When buying home, health, auto or rental insurance, you should find out if your state insurance department offers any information about insurance companies and rates. Check several sources for the best rate and get quotes online. Consult an independent insurance agent who represents several insurers in your area to get a better deal.
Before purchasing insurance, be sure the insurance company is licensed and covered by the state’s guaranty fund. The fund pays claims if the company defaults. Your state insurance department can provide this information.
Research the complaint record of the company. Contact your state insurance department, or visit the website of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (www.naic.org), which maintains a database of complaints filed with state regulators. Finally check the financial stability of the insurance company.
For additional information and guidance visit the following websites:
http://www.ambest.com, http://www.standardandpoors.com, and http://www.moodys.com
- Why is it important to contact state insurance department before purchasing insurance?
- How can an independent insurance agent provide a better insurance rate?
- Why is an insurance company’s financial stability important?
You may want to use the information in this blog post and the websites to
* Have students visit the various websites in this blog and then prepare a short summary of their findings.
* explore a few advantages of purchasing insurance from an independent insurance agent?