How to Handle a Windstorm Insurance Claim
As many Texas residents assess the damage caused by the Dallas tornado that touched down early this morning, they will need to familiarize themselves with the homeowner’s or business owner’s insurance claim process. This process can be confusing and failure to follow proper procedures can result in your claim being denied or underpaid.
Unfortunately, insurance companies and their adjusters are not in the business of paying out claims. Generally, insurance company adjusters are trained to resolve claims for the smallest amount possible or deny the claims outright if they can find an exclusion under the policy.
Make sure you review the following steps before contacting your insurance company to file a claim.
- Read and review your entire homeowner’s insurance policy including any endorsements and amendments.
- Do not agree to be recorded over the phone. Do not agree to provide a recorded or sworn statement over the phone. Ask to provide one in person or in writing. Consider consulting with an attorney first. PUBLIC ADJUSTERS ARE NOT ATTORNEYS.
- Communicate in writing if you can. Try to make sure most of your communication is in writing. If you have a phone conversation follow it up with an email or a fax.
- Create a detailed list and notes of everything lost or damaged. Create a list of all damaged property including any personal items. Please make sure to include the brand name, model, and as accurate of a description as possible of all claimed items. Include everything no matter how small.
- Document all damages. Don’t only photograph the damage, but also make sure every photograph is either time stamped or logged with the date and time it was taken.
- Witnesses are important. Create a list of each person who witnessed the losses and can testify to how the losses occurred. This includes the names of any contractors or other employees who performed repairs.
- Keep a log of contact with your insurance company. Take down the first and last name of every person you speak to from your insurance company, the date you spoke to them, and what you spoke to them about.
- Gather your past records. If possible gather records any previous repairs or inspections of your home. This will make it more difficult for the insurance company to claim the damage was preexisting or unrelated.