Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Hail Yes We've Got Claims!

Certain parts of Southwest Iowa look much different today than they did just over a week ago on June 3, when the EF-2 tornado, 100+ mph straight winds, and damaging hail paid a little visit. Many trees are gone or severely trimmed, a lot of windows were broken, siding and roofs damaged and at least here in Oakland, our population has doubled, just by the addition of contractors and loss adjusters. Plus, if you can't hear a chainsaw running, chances are it is only because the operator had to stop to put more gas in it. Fortunately, in spite of all the damage, there hasn't been one report of injury. For that, we are most thankful.

Our agency has submitted well over 200 loss reports on behalf of our customers and countless more have been reported directly to the company from policyholders. Regardless of the amount of damage your property has received, it is never a picnic to go through the claims process. Toward that end, we do our best to make the experience as smooth and painless as possible for you. Whether your loss is insured through our agency, or with another company or agency, here are some things to keep in mind:
  • The insurance companies have received thousands of claims in a very short period of time. They are doing everything they can to get to your particular claim(s) just as soon as possible, and most companies have brought in extra help, either using outside independent adjusting firms or pulling adjusters from other areas of the country. 
  • There is no “pecking order” that determines which claims get looked at first other than the most severe losses generally get earlier attention. You may have insurance with the same company as your friends and/or neighbors and see an adjuster days before they do, or vice versa. That’s just the way it is.
  • It is a good idea to write down the names and contact information for everyone you talk to in regard to your loss.
  • If you have damage that leaves your property exposed to further damage from the elements, it is your right and obligation according to your policy to make temporary repairs to prevent further damage.
  • We appreciate your business, as does your insurance company. However the adjuster is not able to consider the length of time you have been with the company when calculating your settlement. Your insurance policy is a legal contract between you and the insurance company, and adjusters must follow the policy guidelines when handling your claim.
  • While it is human nature to compare your damage and recovery with that of your friends/neighbors, it would be incorrect to assume that your settlements can be easily or accurately compared. Each situation is different due to a variety of factors: construction and age of your property, amount of damage sustained, age and type of materials used in your siding, roof, windows, etc. Just because you receive a settlement for a new roof does not mean your neighbor will or should receive the same compensation, and vice versa.
  • Some adjusters will call beforehand to try and set up an appointment with you to examine your damage. Others will simply show up and hope to find someone at home. If you are not at home at the time they stop, they should leave a card in your door, telling you they were there. They do NOT coordinate their appointments through our office or even notify us when they will be meeting with you. 
Having an insurance claim can be an inconvenience so the sooner your claim is settled, the better. If you have questions or concerns throughout your claims process, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our office hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Call 712-482-6424 or toll-free at 800-482-6426.