If your home was damaged due to a broken water pipe, downed tree limbs, or other winter damage, contact your insurance company or agent to file a claim as soon as possible. These insurance tips should help make the process go smoother:
Make a list of damaged property. Take pictures or video of the damage. Don’t throw anything away until your insurance company tells you to.
Take steps to protect your home from further damage. Turn off the water and cover broken windows and holes in your roof if possible. Save all receipts. Your policy may cover these costs.
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.
Keep a list of everyone you talk to at your insurance company. Be ready to answer questions about the damage.
Ask about additional living expenses. If you can’t live in your home due to the damage, your insurance policy may pay for some of those expenses.
- Get more than one bid. That will help you decide which offers are too high or too good to be true.
- Check references and phone numbers. Call the Better Business Bureau to see if a contractor has complaints.
- Don’t pay up front and don’t make your final payment until the job is finished. In a disaster, contractors from outside your area can’t ask for payment before they start work.
- Avoid contractors who offer to waive your deductible or promise a rebate for it. That’s illegal under state law and your insurance company may ask for proof that you paid it.
- Never sign a contract with blank spaces.
- Report possible price gouging to the Office of the Attorney General.