Ready for Severe Weather? (Part 3)

Take a close look at your home and outbuildings when the storm is over. Look for damage and document with pictures if possible.

Report the loss to the insurance company right away.

Make temporary repairs to prevent further damage. Homeowners insurance reimburses the cost of materials you buy to safeguard your house, so save receipts. 

Begin preparing a list of damaged personal property.

The insurane company will assign a reference number and adjuster to your claim. Store all claim-related paperwork in an easy-to-access file. The claim adjuster will conduct a detailed claim investigation to verify coverage, assess damage, and make a settlement offer. Do not begin permanent repairs without the adjuster's approval.

Also, beware of 'storm chaser' contractors that may try to pressure you into signing a repair contract. Always talk to your insurance agent or adjuster first. It's best to work with a local contractor or one recommended by the insurer. The state's Consumer Protection Against Storm Chasers Act helps Illinoisans avoid being victimized by unscrupulous contractors. Contractors cannot rebate or waive the policy deductible or negotiate on behalf of the homeowner in the claim process. In addition, committed homeowners have five business days to cancel the repair contract upon receiving a denial letter from an insurance company. Never pay for repairs in cash or until work is complete.